Monday, October 29, 2007

How To Make $100,000 With Bike Rentals

Age: 26

By its second year of business, Watkins' startup, MyBike, had worked out most of the kinks in its novel business: renting out bikes fitted with advertising panes for a low one-time fee. Thanks to fewer stolen bikes and fewer ads removed from the bikes—and more confidence from advertisers—2006 revenues topped $100,000.

While plans for national expansion have been put on hold, ad-supported MyBike is present on the campuses of six colleges in the Boston area. Watkins hired three employees to provide customers with tune-ups—a measure that allowed him to increase the up-front charge from $25 to $65 or $95, depending on the level of service wanted. The company is also selling its own line of electric-powered bikes, which Watkins says are popular with hotels and corporations with large campuses.

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