In one of those, "Now why didn't I think of that" moments, I came across a Kickstarter campaign for the Companion Bike Seat. It's elegant and simple, allowing one bike to become, effectively, two. Or at least to carry an extra rider. Now, instead of 7 miles per organic banana, bikes effectively can get 14. Maybe a bit less because of the extra effort involved, but you get the idea.
The founders simply saw a need in the marketplace and weren't able to spot a product to fill that need. Xtracycle makes something similar, a cargo-bike conversion kit, but it runs in the $300 range, for which, well, people could buy their own bikes.
One of the genius elements of this piece of equipment is that it not only carries an extra person but also has a lockable storage space under the seat. It's like adding not only an extra seat but also a trunk! Is this the hipster's version of growing up and getting a minivan? Well, not quite...the storage space, according to the founders, absolutely definitely positively fits a six pack and some ice. If that's growing up, then all of a sudden growing up doesn't seem so bad.
The marketing on products like this is always what inspires me. It would seem that all the founders need to do is send some test-riders out into the streed to demonstrate the contraption and riders would drool.
The only doubts I have about the product is that pre-sales on Kickstarter are a little slow...either that or the founders were a bit overambitious. They're looking for $35K in startup funds, and only have 11 days left in their campaign. And they're only at about $4,000.
Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business, and helps entrepreneurs start green businesses to create green jobs. For more, please visit www.GreenBusinessOwner.com
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Scott Cooney, Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector. In June 2010, Scott launched GreenBusinessOwner.com, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.