Biko launched in Vancouver in the last days of summer, bringing its cyclist rewards app to one of the most bike-friendly cities in Canada.
The startup’s free app lets cyclists earn Biko digital coins for every kilometre they pedal, which they can then use to get rewards at certain local businesses or donate as cash to their charity of choice.
“Incentivizing cycling through rewards can help reduce the city’s carbon emissions and we have the data to prove it.”
– Biko co-founder Emilio Pombo
Local businesses signed on with Biko include the Big Rock Brewery, Two Wheel Gear, Bike Doctor, Reckless Bike Stores, Zend Conscious Lounge, Rocanini, The Burrard, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. The app’s creators want to add more partners every week. “We want to help further Vancouver’s goal of becoming the greenest city by 2020,” said Biko co-founder Emilio Pombo. “Incentivizing cycling through rewards can help reduce the city’s carbon emissions and we have the data to prove it. By choosing to ride their bicycles, our users have collectively reduced carbon emissions by 1,008 tonnes.”
The company is entering a market that’s actively embracing environmentally friendly initiatives, as the city has outlined an action plan meant to help it become the greenest city in the world by 2020.
The app launched last year in Bogota, Medellin, and Mexico City, where they have over 74,000 users who have collectively reduced carbon emissions by over 1,000 tonnes. Pombo co-founded the company with Enreique Cuellar and Tomas Bleier in Bogota, Colombia, where there is now a network of over 100 companies offering deals for users in Latin America.
Biko aims to announce a charity competition powered by Pacific Blue Cross this month.
Vancouver reached a milestone in 2015, recording that half of trips within the city were done by biking, walking, and transit. Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson has made the Greenest City 2020 goal a persistent policy plank throughout most of his tenure.