How A Zero Ownership Model Fuels Innovation

Greyp Bikes is a Croatian startup that gamifies electric bikes and is electric sports car firm Rimac Automobili’s sister company. In a blogpost they penned last year, Greyp wrote of hoping to realize a “vision of a world with zero emissions, zero ownership, and zero accidents.” We wanted to hear more about zero ownership and how this impacted both on their visions of mobility and innovation, so we phoned Greyp’s COO, Krešimir Hlede to find out more.

Can you tell us a little bit about your product?

E-bikes have been on the market long before Greyp existed. What makes our bikes so special is that we’ve added a lot of sensors (in the pedals, battery, motor, brakes, GPS) which allow the bike to capture over 50 different types of telemetry data at any given second. 

This meant we could gamify the bike-riding experience by allowing for competitions, comparison and logging your achievements. We also wanted to create full-blown games where the bike would act as an input device. This is similar to something like PokemonGO, where your smartphone acts as the input device. In the European Union, e-bikes are limited to 250W of power and a maximum assisted speed of 25 km/h. This meant that we had to give our startup a competitive advantage through software, not hardware.

And what do you envision when you think of zero ownership?

From our perspective as a company which also manufactures electric cars, we really believe that the future of mobility is electric, so it’s not a question of “if” but simply “how long” it takes us to reach complete electric mobility. 

In previous generations, the car was the main way for people to get around cities but now more and more micro-mobility solutions are evolving and bikes are one of them. As such, we really believe that in five to ten years, vehicles which produce carbon emissions will become obsolete. 

If a car or a bike is online and you can rent it for a few hours or minutes through an online service, then why the hell would you own it?

Do you also believe in taking an attitude of less ownership, more sharing when it comes to innovation and knowledge?

Absolutely. We are actually building a platform where different micro-mobility brands (OEM e-bike component suppliers; e-bike manufacturers and more) will be able to communicate with each other, share data, race, compete, create content, play games. We have just under ten members so far and each stakeholder shares primary data from their own vehicles and harnesses the available data to create products or user experiences that otherwise wouldn’t exist. So yes, we absolutely believe in the idea that technology should be designed so that as many stakeholders as possible can enjoy and benefit from the same technology. 

What problems do you think regularly crop up when collaborating on innovation?

I’d argue the biggest problems are coordinating each stakeholder and keeping them motivated. Multiple stakeholders can mean priorities differ from one company to another or from one business model to another, so that’s one challenge. Another challenge is figuring out the ownership of any technology created, which is something which needs to be communicated and agreed upon before you even start the project. 

You took part in our IoT eSIM programme – how did collaborating with a corporate help you, if at all?

When we were developing our e-bike, we needed to find a technical solution to our challenge of permanently connecting the bikes to the internet and eSim was one of the obvious solutions. However, we didn’t have the knowledge or the network to create or develop a product based on e-sim technology and then Deutsche Telekom and hubraum came along and decided we would be a perfect partner to develop the best product together, so during the program we created a consumer eSIM IoT interface for our bikes. 

Working as part of the programme was a huge advantage because hubraum was able to connect us with the right telecom units and with the right hardware manufacturers. Obviously we still had to do the hard work of development but doing that with the right partners who were pro-actively engaging with the project was something that was really helpful. I doubt we would have been able to achieve that in such a short time if we had been working on our own. 

What tips would you give other startups embarking on hubraum programmes to get the best out of their experience?

Don’t be afraid to ask! I was really pleasantly surprised by how much help we received from hubraum and Deutsche Telekom and by everyone involved’s positive attitude. We had some reservations about carrying out a project with such a big corporate because we were afraid they were going to be complicated and slow, but happily this wasn’t the case. Once we realised we could ask and exchange ideas and that Deutsche Telekom and hubraum were so willing to help, the whole thing went even faster than I expected. 

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