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Billy Bike seeks €125,000 to grow electric bike service

22:30 09/07/2018

Brussels' electric bike-sharing scheme, Billy Bike, has launched a crowdfunding campaign with a view to doubling its fleet of black-and-blue bikes by the end of the year.

Co-founder Pierre De Schaetzen said another 150 bicycles were needed to satisify users on the waiting list and expand to parts of Schaerbeek, Saint-Gilles, Ixelles and Forest.

"We want to remove all the hurdles that put people off cycling," he said. "People like to cycle, but Brussels is very hilly. That is why the electric bikes are the ideal solution."

The company is looking to raise €125,000 on Lita, a platform specialising in responsible participative investment. As well as buying new bikes, the money raised will be used to equip the bikes with electronic padlocks and a more accurate GPS tracking system. Billy Bike will also hire several mechanics to maintain the fleet of bicycles.

De Schaetzen said that if the Brussels growth goes to plan, Billy Bike could explore other cities. "We will only do so once we are firmly established in Brussels," he said - pointing to other start-ups that had grown overseas too fast.

"The electric bike will not be the best solution in every city," he added. "But that is the beauty of our concept: we'll drive a truck full of bicycles to a city and test the system there. If that does not work, we'll refill the truck and try it somewhere else."