site.btaFirst Bulgarian Free-floating Bike Share Company Contributes to over 8 Tonnes Less Carbon Emissions in 5 Months
Since its launch in April 2022, the first Bulgarian company to offer a free-floating bicycle share scheme here has contributed to the reduction of carbon emissions by 8.5 tonnes through its 100 public bikes, according to the company's data. Established and run entirely by three young people, the startup has over 5,000 registered users and is planning to expand to other cities.
The Cyrcl service for short-term bicycle rental was created by Enriko Marinov, Asen Yankov and Simona Yoncheva with the idea to provide people with affordable mobility and equal access to a clean environment. The free-floating model means that there are no pre-specified pick-up and drop-off locations: users find and book a bike through an app and then leave it in any parking space within the zone indicated by the app. A bike can be rented for a minimum of 10 minutes for BGN 0.15 per minute. Full-day rental costs BGN 18.
The startup took off through an initial investment of EUR 100,000 by two Bulgarian investors in addition to the three co-founders’ personal investment of EUR 15,000. It started with just 50 bicycles in Sofia and has since grown to 100. Both the bike rental mobile app and the bikes were made by Bulgarian companies; afterwards the bikes got modified in Serbia.
In the short term, Marinov, Yankov, and Yoncheva plan to expand their business in Sofia to 500 bicycles and to offer their bike share service in two other cities, it transpires from an interview in Capital Weekly. In the long term, they intend to enter the East European market. For now, however, they keep the business running by themselves. They rely on friends for marketing and on influencers who advertise their bikes free of charge out of support for their idea to make Sofia cleaner and quieter.
Marinov told the weekly that over half of Cyrcl's users are aged between 24 and 35 years and most of them are women. The data show that many people use the bike share service to carry out daily tasks at short distances or to enjoy a ride for several hours. There are also tourists who use the bikes to tour Sofia and usually book a bike for more than one day.
The number of market players in Sofia's shared mobility space has been growing over the past years. Among them are bike rental company Sofia Bike, electric car sharing company SPARK, electric scooter rental companies SHAREASCOOT, Hobo, Lime, and Bird.