Startup Of The Week: Citybirds
It seems like kick scooters are taking over the cities, so this time we are bringing you an interview with Citybirds. Get along with the trend and learn about this stylish business who promotes an eco-friendly way of moving around.
So what is Citybirds? How does it work?
We have a huge problem. Our cities are way too crowded, it takes too much time to move even the short distances. We pollute our own home and feel miserable every single day. To fix that there is only one way – to make a general shift in the way we move around. We decided not only to talk about it but take a serious action. We started from the short, up to 1 km length trips, that mostly happen in the old towns and between business centers – too long for walking but too short for a car ride. We have recreated something everyone already knows – a kick scooter. We made it perfect for adults. We made it comfortable, easy to store and simply beautiful. Now you can travel across the city center five times faster than walking, without thinking where to park, not polluting and, most important, being happy and exceptional. We call them City birds.
What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
Citybirds stands out from the competition because of its diversity of product range, eminent design, added value, uniqueness, user-friendliness and its lightweight convenience. Our product prices are average, compared to the competitors. Unique parts, designed and produced only for our products, reduce our margin but bring a long-term value. Also, it makes difficult to copy our scooters.
What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product?
The 20 Billion kick scooter market worldwide is massive and amazingly competitive. However, after making some research we realized that there are no scooters on the market with design added value. Therefore, we found and created a small market niche for ourselves and step by step Citybirds is trying to enlarge this niche by creating new products for different target groups.
There are four Citybirds scooters:
PIGEON is dedicated to young city commuters that want to stand out with color, design and don’t like to be taken too seriously. It comes in different colors and a set of playful accessories.
COLIBRI is for children that comes in two different sizes and is made without any sharp corners so kids won’t injure themselves.
RAVEN is our sense of luxury. Having the most minimalistic design, RAVEN is the lightest kick-scooter in the market, made with carbon fiber and is dedicated to the higher class city commuters.
EAGLE is our electric concept – the thinnest, riding the longest distance with one charge and tailored for today’s always-connected people needs.
Citybirds is designed as an ideal last mile solution, or a daily commuter vehicle for kids, millennials and adult city commuters. The key advantage is that Citybirds have a wide product segmentation and targets different markets including kids and fast, rational thinkers who are passionate about electrically driven mobility. We mainly focus on big city commuters, living in multi-storey apartment buildings and who uses public transport on a daily basis. Using a bicycle can be complicated for this group of people, therefore the Citybirds scooter represents a perfect way of reaching a destination safely, comfortably and in style. We are mostly targeting Asian countries/cities like Japan, Singapore, HK, South Korea, Taiwan.
What are the main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
The biggest challenges of the creation process are always how not to give up in the manufacturing step and create a real working product, not only an idea, sketch, or CGI renders but the real, mass-produced product which would appear on a shop shelves all around the world.
How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
One of the shareholders is the main investor in the company. We are going to launch the equity crowdfunding round at the end of 2018.
Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
There are three shareholders at Citybirds:
- Ignas Survila (CEO)
- Michel Barro (Investor)
- Vincent Marbe (COO)
- Jevgenijus Piurko (Engineer)
- Indrė Jašelskytė (CFO)
- Domantas Širvinskas (CMO)
- Lina Bernotiatytė (Content creator)
How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this?
- The parent company was officially registered in Geneva, Switzerland in 2014. We opened our subsidiary in Lithuania in 2016 in order to reach new sales territories, support growth, and transfer half of our manufacturing to Eastern Europe.
- We hold a strong position in this €20 billion market. Plus we have expanded our product range in order to satisfy our four target audiences.
- One of the shareholders continues to invest in manufacturing.
- Our scooters have been awarded 11 different design prizes.
- We have tones of manufacturing issues to solve but sales go smoothly according to the plan.
Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
Citybirds has already taken a leading role in the global market of the design, development, and sales of kick scooters. Nevertheless, the biggest advantage and the highest value of the Company is that under the banner of Citybirds we are able to develop numerous different strategies demonstrating the same philosophy, mission, and values: sustainability, eco/user-friendliness, design added value, quality, etc. Therefore, from a long-term perspective, we are going to endeavor to innovate and follow the eco-mobility trends with our new ideas of movement. It is important that within a year of manufacturing, mass producing, designing, selling and networking an innovative Citybirds we have learned many things and now we are going to use them.