By Dan Blystone, August 24 2021
Kleta was founded in 2020 by German-born Falk Siegel and Argentine Diego Casabe. They met while working at Badi, the AI-powered room rental marketplace launched by Carlos Pierre.
Kleta is a mobility startup that allows users to get a quality bike for a fixed monthly fee. Users avoid the initial investment of having to buy a bike and they also do not need to worry about a deposit, the cost of maintenance and the liability of theft. Any problems, such as if your bike needs to be fixed, can be reported via the mobile app. Kleta’s bikes are easily distinguishable by a yellow front wheel.
Thank you Falk for taking the time to join us for this interview.
Could you tell us how you came up with the idea for Kleta?
Diego and I worked together at Badi and both faced pain points when commuting to the office every day by bike. Diego was using the public sharing services and always came late to the important meetings (he doesn’t want to admit that haha) because there wasn’t any space to leave the bikes around the office, especially in the morning. I was using my own bike and had to be super worried about it not getting stolen so I always took it with me, whether inside the office or upstairs to my flat. This is where our idea of a bike subscription started, in order to combine the benefits of an own bike (flexibility and freedom to use it whenever and wherever you want to) with the advantages of a sharing service (not being worried about theft or maintenance).
What are the advantages Kleta has over Bicing (a bicycle-sharing service owned by the Ajuntament de Barcelona)?
Overall we think that Bicing is a great service, especially for those who don’t use the bike on a daily basis but rather once or twice a week for shorter distances.
For us sharing services and Kleta are two different services. Kleta eventually gives you the freedom and flexibility of your own bike that you can use whenever you want to and a bike that is designed for the daily commute. This eventually makes the daily commuting smoother and especially worry-free.
Local companies including Cloudworks and Badi have signed up to offer Kleta to their workers. Could you tell us about this initiative?
Whilst growing our business, we started to receive requests from companies interested in offering Kleta to their employees or co-workers. These companies subsidise the subscription entirely or partially and by this want to encourage healthy and sustainable commuting for their employees.
Here in Barcelona we have seen an increase in new bicycle lanes, taking driving space away from cars. Do you think we will see a decline in the usage of cars in the coming years?
With less car lanes, traffic jams in the short-term will increase which eventually will lead to car drivers looking for other alternatives. Other alternatives such as cycling to work will become more and more attractive, especially with more bike lanes that we see popping up in the city. We expect a strong increase in bike usage and especially in big cities like Barcelona, a decrease of car usage.
How has the Coronavirus pandemic impacted Kleta? Did a fear among people of going on the bus and metro help to boost your growth?
We started Kleta right after the first curfew so we saw an initial growth of people that were looking for alternatives to their regular commuting method, such as metro, bus or even public bike sharing services. With the time being and cities becoming more and more bike-friendly, this fear has turned into a very positive atmosphere where more and more citizens see the benefit of commuting by bike. This obviously had and continues having a strong positive impact on our growth.
Could you share how many active users you have and what your targets are in terms of growth?
We currently have more than 600 active subscriptions and estimate to grow this figure to 1500 by the end of the year. We have been seeing strong demand especially in a local target, meaning citizens of Barcelona living in the city or in the outskirts. Our objective for the next months is to expand our business among this target and establish Kleta as a reference for sustainable mobility companies in Spain.
You are currently operating in Barcelona, do you have plans to expand to other cities?
Yes, we have plans to expand Kleta to other cities as we see a perfect fit of our solution and the pain point that citizens of other big cities face.
The mobile app has some cool features, such as rewards for km’s ridden. Could you tell us about this idea?
A lot of our users are changing to bikes as their main transportation method, switching from cars, motorcycles, metro or bus. Hence we identified the need to incentivize the usage of the bike as it requires a habit switch that doesn’t come by just receiving your Kleta. So the idea behind the App is to reward our users for every km they ride and by this boost the habit switch mentioned.
In our App we have a wide range of local partners integrated that offer discounts on their services or products, or even offer free trials. So apart from incentivising our users, we also always wanted to promote local businesses.
Which tech companies have inspired you the most?
Apple in my case is without a doubt an inspiration. Having built such a strong and expandable business around hardware in its core is already remarkable. The way Apple did it with constant innovation and unique designs, is just amazing!