Would you let somebody rent your motorcycle?
Riders Share (www.riders-share.com), based in Los Angeles, allows you to do just that. On Riders Share, you can choose from the largest variety of motorcycles available for rent in the United States and Canada. Over 3,200 motorcycles have been listed on the platform since launching in February 2018, receiving approximately $1.4 million in booking requests since then.
Instead of renting from a regular store, bikers go into Riders Share's website. There, they pick a motorcycle that they like, and can message the owner before they book it. To book, they must be 25 or older and upload a picture of their motorcycle endorsement. The owner sets the price and has the ability to approve or decline a booking request. Everything is electronic and convenient, with no need to wait hours in line at the rental counter. Renters pick up the motorcycle at the owner's location, take pictures of the bike, and then return it at the end of the rental.
It all started about 6 years ago, when CEO Guillermo Cornejo was learning how to ride motorcycles and crashed one. As a broke millennial, he could not afford to buy a new one. He looked into renting one, and found out they cost $200 per day and the service was terrible. Using his background in data analytics and risk management, he was able to secure the first insurance policy for motorcycle sharing. Cofounder Brendon Lamb, an avid motorcycle rider and software developer, later joined and built the platform. To date, they have raised between $350,000 and $400,000 from institutional and angel investors alike, and are seeking investors for their next round. They already have up to half a million in commitments for a second investment round. A key stat that makes the company attractive to investors is its demographics: the median Riders Share user is 26, despite the age limit. In an era of aging bikers, this brings hope to the motorcycle industry.
How does Riders Share convince bikers to share their precious toys?
"It's not easy", says CEO Guillermo Cornejo
Other companies have tried to offer motorcycle sharing, but Riders Share is the first and currently the only one to offer commercial insurance for motorcycle rental transactions on its platform, covering both renters and owners. To minimize insurance costs, Riders Share utilizes machine learning to vet prospective motorcycle renters, and filters out those deemed too risky. In addition to insurance, the motorcycle rental app provides 24/7 roadside assistance, liability protection, power sport liability waivers and other features that increase safety for its users.
Guillermo Cornejo and cofounder Brendon Lamb started Riders Share because renting a motorcycle through a traditional brick and mortar outlet was not great. It was too expensive, there was not a lot of variety, and shops often ran out of inventory during the summer - leaving customers to fend for themselves.
Motorcycle rentals are extremely seasonal. Few people rent motorcycles during the winter, when it is too cold to enjoy a ride. That means that traditional motorcycle rental agencies have to pay rent, salaries, electricity and maintain motorcycles despite generating little revenue. On top of that, you have the depreciation of the asset.
With the peer to peer rentals model, in which the inventory is owned by individuals or businesses but not by the platform itself, many of those costs do not exist or are sunk costs. Riders Share estimates that 60% of the costs of renting a motorcycle can be reduced by using the Airbnb model and applying modern risk management techniques.
Today, you can rent motorcycles on Riders Share for as low as $32 per day, if you rent them for a week or longer. On average, people are spending $100 per day, which gives motorcycle owners a good return while still saving the renters about 50% compared to a traditional motorcycle rental. During checkout, renters have the option to purchase damage waivers, supplemental liability protection, and roadside assistance. Owners, on the other hand, are always protected by Riders Share's insurance policy, which was obtained via a partnership with an AM Best rated insurance company.
Riders Share's CEO Guillermo Cornejo thinks the company has the ability to reignite sales for the motorcycle industry:
"We make owning a motorcycle more affordable, because you can offset the cost using Riders Share; and we make motorcycling more accessible to those that can't afford to buy one, but still enjoy the sport. Higher utilization on bikes helps dealers get more business"
After all, the average motorcycle in the US gets less than 2,000 miles per year, compared to 12,000 for a car.
David Shtromberg, from Los Angeles, agrees:
"I started with one Ducati motorcycle a few months ago, and now I own 12 different motorcycles thanks to Riders Share. I have completed over 100 rentals for over 300 rental days, with only two totaled motorcycles, which the insurance paid for. I look forward to growing my business in partnership with Riders Share"
Riders Share plans to release mobile apps this winter, as well as other products like motorcycle rental subscriptions and more. They aim to foster a community of safe riding, friendship and respect. The company intends to become the tech brand of the motorcycle industry, and has ambitious growth plans.