Cleantech Disruptors — An interview with Bin Wang, Founder and Co-CEO of SharingOS
Cleantech Disruptors is a series of interviews showcasing innovative cleantech startups, who through the development of disruptive technologies are changing the future.
SharingOS is a global mobility sharing company, powering last-mile solutions across the globe. Whatever your idea of mobility is, they have the technology to turn it into an entrepreneurial hit which can be launched or scaled in just a few days. They provide end-to-end software and hardware solutions to operators, revolutionising mobility through both technology and innovation.
I chatted to Bin Wang — Forbes 30 under 30 (2013), former Co-CEO of YoBike and the Founder and Co-CEO of SharingOS, about the inspiration behind the company, their evolution, how they are disrupting the market and what’s next!
Bin started out in the UK, bringing YoBike to Bristol. Initially a huge success due to natural human curiosity surrounding bike sharing. Then came the challenges; vandalism, building international teams, and building local relationships as a global company. The solution: become the big player helping local players win; becoming a technology partner to local operators with local relationships…. and so SharingOS was born… Let’s see what Bin has to say!
What was the inspiration?
My background was virtual reality and gaming, but I wanted to find the next big thing, an industry that was about to change in a big way. I had a solid background in both software and hardware, having studied product design and interned at Nissan designing a car. I knew we could build a business that could have a huge impact, and so we did!
Can you tell me about the early days of SharingOS…
My brilliant Co-Founder Michael Qian and I began by building a great team, flexible software and robust hardware. We took our knowledge and experience, and designed a platform, operational model, adaptable software and bullet proof hardware. We made ourselves the obvious choice for small local operators to partner with to launch a local micro-mobility sharing platform.
How has the business evolved?
We’re on the 9th version of the bike, and 14th of the e-bike, and now ensure they’re robust by taking a hammer to them! (I’m assured that after an hour, they’re still very much in one piece)
Through R&D and investment into other businesses the solution has continued to evolve with energy solutions, new vehicles, IoT technology and systems to cover every aspect of a sharing solution.
It is hugely expensive and difficult for small operators to build their own hardware, so we enable new players to take the entire solution and focus their attention purely on local operations, relationships and building a successful business without the previous challenges faced in the sector. We believe as the industry grows and matures there will be a few tech providers and lots of local operators.
That sounds great, can you share a real-world example?
One company who have realised great success with this model is Dublin based Bleeper Bike. As a new player to the market, our solution allowed them to focus purely on making the local operations in Dublin a success, without having to worry about the technology, or the vehicles themselves. They were businesspeople, not technologists and as such our hardware and software, combined with their business acumen, relationships, license, and operational capability was the perfect combination to launch Bleeper and hit the ground running. We love working with them!
How do you maintain your competitive advantage?
Firstly, we are very honest and build great, long lasting relationships and partnerships.
Secondly, we get patents! When we solve a problem, we patent the solution and because we have such a huge focus on R&D we always aim to get their first!
Let’s talk disruption…
Disruption is very interesting and must remain at the forefront of what we do. Every month we ask ourselves what we bring to the market. We are creating a new mindset to deliver solutions to cities in conjunction with our partners. There are big operators who want to ‘take over the world’, but similarly to ride hailing with Uber, there are still several smaller local operators doing very well, and we allow this to happen in micro-mobility. I believe bike sharing will remain fragmented, even on a city level. We are also focused on the corporate space, in which we can offer a company the option to rent 10 or 20 e-bikes as a complete solution, which is certainly a new model in the industry.
What’s your vision for the future?
Our vision is that in the future, vehicles will be electric and connected. Unlike Google, this is a real-world business, so I don’t think a ‘winner takes all’ situation will happen. We have made a product and a wider solution which is thriving, has almost no vandalism and allows operators to have an amazing local business and support their community.
The world is full of wonderfully different cultures, and we are building a diverse team to reflect this. We aim to understand the different challenges around the world and continue to develop our business to solve as many challenges as possible with one solution. We are now creating unique energy solutions for this space, continuously developing new software, improving the entire model, and making ourselves known globally.
Watch the SharingOS video here and to find out more about brightsmith and SharingOS — take a look!