Students to Entrepreneurs via Rivers Capital Investment
Jack Payne (left) and Robert Grisdale (right) with their Scratchbikes
ScratchBikes is a Newcastle University born venture founded by Robert Grisdale and Jack Payne. Initially starting life as a self-service bike hire scheme for students, the company is now taking new bike sharing technology to the booming cycling market worth £3bn a year in the UK. In their own words Robert and Jack describe how†networking lead to Rivers Capital Investment.
We were asked to develop a business idea for one of our optional Civil Engineering modules. Having seen the various bike schemes across the world, and more crucially how costly they are to deploy, we set about planning a new approach.
After winning a Newcastle University Enterprise Challenge award for the idea in 2009, we decided that this was an opportunity too good to miss. We went on to win more awards from Shell and Santander, each offering more cash and confidence.
Then at the Blueprint Challenge 2009, the winning streak ran out and we left empty handed and uninspired. Despite the disappointment we continued on our journey, only this time with more to prove. We imported a container load of bikes from the Far East and launched the university-wide scheme in September 2010.
In July 2011, we signed a £150,000 investment deal with Rivers Capital and Newcastle NE1 to allow us to take to the market a low cost, turnkey bike sharing solution for use in smaller cities and universities across the world. At the same time, the Newcastle hire scheme was launched city-wide to provide a perfect platform to eventually demonstrate this new technology.
Find out more at www.scratchbikes.co.uk.