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Former Uber Exec Gets Funding For Bike Sharing App

A former Uber executive in China has shifted from four wheels to two with his own startup, Mobike. It’s a bike sharing network where users grab a ride through an app.

Mobike launched in Shanghai at the end of last year and then recently expanded to China’s capital, Beijing. The bike-lending service costs just US$0.15 per hour, along with a US$45 security deposit. To hitch a ride, a user opens the app, uses his or her phone to scan the QR code on the bike, and then that unlocks the bike’s smart lock and begins the timer on the Uber-esque ride.

Mobike - China bike sharing app

Photo credit: Mobike.

Ex-Uber Shanghai general manager Wang Xiaofeng is the CEO and founder. Over the weekend he announced that the startup secured a US$10 million round of funding from Panda Capital, reports China Money Network, to grow the two-wheeled transport network.

Unfortunately for the startup, the bikes aren’t just popular with skinny-trousered millenials– they’re also a source of amusement for vandals. Nearly a hundred of Mobike’s distinctive orange-rimmed bicycles were damaged one July day by miscreants who defaced or peeled off the QR codes that are so essential to the service – as the startup showed on its Weibo account:

Photo credit: Mobike.

Photo credit: Mobike.

Since Mobike doesn’t use a parking station on the street, unlike some city-run bike-sharing schemes (including several successful examples in China), the bikes can be parked anywhere with the app-controlled smart lock. But that also means that users sometimes leave them in bad places where it’s hard for other users to find them. To combat the problem, Wang and the team are working on a points-based system to punish unruly riders.

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