Imagine winnning prizes for riding your bicycle to work. Ciclogreen, a Spanish start-up which promotes sustainable mobility, makes this possible.
Ciclogreen was established in 2014; after biology PhD student Gregorio Toral realized that the environmental impact he wanted to achieve through his academic career, would take much longer than he anticipated. Seeing the potential in sustainable mobility – especially the bicycle, he turned to entrepreneurship in order to have a more immediate positive effect on the environment and society.
“The bicycle is such a simple but powerful tool for reducing CO2 emissions without polluting the city, and that’s how Ciclogreen was created.”
Ciclogreen works closely with companies, universities and cities to promote sustainable mobility. This collaboration is important for start-ups because, as Toral points out, the private car is still one of the most popular forms of transport in the commute to work.
How do you get a reward for your sustainable mobility?
Ciclogreen is very easy to use.
All that users have to do is register on the private-sector website developed exclusively for their own organization. Then, they download the app, which will record all their bicycles trips within their city. Ciclogreen transforms those sustainable kilometres into points that the user can eventually trade for discounts or gifts and which can extend to an electric bike or a hotel for two.
Of course, sustainable mobility is more than just bicycles; Ciclogreen also rewards walking, using public transport, electric scooters or car-sharing to work.
If you are not part of an organization or city that works with Ciclogreen, you can still use the app to win rewards for your sustainable mobility. Many of the prizes are accessible online nationally and internationally.
In order to check current challenges and rewards, click here.
The start-up also provides its mobility model data to cities so as to contribute to the improvement of infrastructure and services.
What drives Ciclogreen?
The motivation for Ciclogreen came from the desire to have a more immediate positive impact on the environment.
Seeing the amount of pollution produced in cities, especially by cars, Toral explains how it became clear that sustainable mobility has the potential to accomplish this effect.
Toal also talks about how he wanted a start-up that would allow him to go global; with the opportunity to have a positive effect not only on Spanish cities, but on other cities around the world.
Ciclogreen was then born to help “improve the mood of the city and the quality of life for residents.”
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Toral remembers how in the early stages when they wanted to have an immediate impact on the environment, how they took up the challenge of gaining the interest of companies and municipalities. Consequently, the Ciclogreen team adapted their business model. The core idea remained the same – have a positive environmental impact -yet the benefits for society, the community, the individual and the companies were explicitly taken into account.
The benefits for companies and institutions using Ciclogreen go beyond the reduction of CO2 emissions. It also contributes to the improvement of employees’ health and promotes physical activity. Moreover, Ciclogreen is also beneficial for the community as it can help reduce traffic in the area where it is used; improving the quality of life in that area.
What has been the most rewarding moment for you so far?
“It’s difficult to pick just one because every challenge that we face helps us grow as a company,” notes Toral. However, he highlights the time when they were picked by Google as one of the most promising start-ups in Spain. “It was a very gratifying and emotional experience to be acknowledged by Google.”
This regognition also opened several doors for Ciclogreen and helped them grow and be where they are now.
What can we expect from Ciclogreen in the years to come?
Ciclogreen is growing at a steady pace on their path to promote sustainable mobility.
2019 is the year for the Spanish startup to reach a bigger market, this time internationally.
“This year is the year of international expansion for Ciclogreen,” says Toral. This year, they have worked on a project in Berlin and are planning to expand through Europe and South America, where they have an upcoming project in Argentina.
“In five years, we imagine Ciclogreen as the global reference in terms of tools to reduce CO2 emissions and pollution in cities, both at level of companies and municipalities.”
Ciclogreen already has users in many countries in Europe.
Regardless of where you are, you can already download the app and start accumulating points in order to earn rewards for your sustainable mobility.
Founders: Andoni Recabarren, José María Rodríguez, Francisco José Melgar and Gregorio Toral
Active since: 2014
Where: Sevilla, Spain
Revenue 2019: 300.000 euros
Employees: 6; looking for 2 more with a commerce and journalism profile
Ultimate Goal: reducing CO2 emissions and pollution by promoting sustainable mobility
Check past entries of the Start-up of the day series here