Bicycle lock made of fabric: Flexible, light and yet safe
To protect the bike from theft, there are countless variants of bicycle locks. But even expensive steel locks do not always deter criminals, so that more than 300,000 wheels are stolen nationwide . Although often a good home insurance for the stolen bike pays. But most cyclists would probably prefer it if their bike does not get lost.
Alexandra Baum and Suse Brand of Texlock have considered the possibilities of making bicycle locks better and more user-friendly and have developed a bicycle lock made of textiles. In an interview with finanzen.de, Alexandra Baum explains what hurdles they had to take when founding a company and what cyclists should pay attention to next to a safe lock.
Ms. Baum, Texlock will be launched in March 2018 and for some time already no preorders have been possible due to the high demand. Why is the lock in your eyes so in demand?
Alexandra Baum: I think that Texlock has just hit a nerve that many cyclists at the bike lock as annoying feel: the weight. As a cyclist, it bothered me to lug around a stiff, rattling steel lock scratching the paintwork so my bike would not be stolen. Thus, it came to the idea to design a more contemporary castle by bringing textile into the game.
Cycling is more and more perceived as a lifestyle. The bike is no longer just a means of transport that brings one from A to B, but also the aspect of fashion plays a role. Many people find that they now do without a second car and instead spend more money on a fancy, expensive bike. Thus, the awareness to be equipped for everyday use as practical as possible and yet stylish.
So far you are the only company that offers a textile lock. How many locks do you plan to sell in your first fiscal year, and what effect do you think your product will have on the market?
Alexandra Baum: Our plan is to sell 25,000 locks throughout Germany in the first year both via the bicycle retailer and our online shop. Of course, the effect can not yet be predicted, as we first have to gain a certain market share. In my eyes, however, the Texlock will provide a breath of fresh air in the relatively conservative market of bicycle safety .
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What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome on the way to starting your own business, for example with regard to financing?
Alexandra Baum: A big challenge for many founders is, first of all, not getting any money to develop their own innovative and thus risky idea from scratch. We were very helped by receiving an EXIST founder scholarship. This is a federally funded scholarship project. It is based on becoming self-employed as an employee or student in the environment of a university and receiving a scholarship for twelve months.
Subsequently, we received the technology start-up scholarship from the Free State of Saxony for another year. The scholarships were extremely important to us as it enabled us to focus on advancing our idea and not having to worry about making a living.
Another important step in financing our project was a crowdfunding campaign and a pre-order shop. As a result , just under € 700,000 came from patient pre-orders , with which we could boost production. This was a nice signal for us, how big the interest in the idea is. In the meantime, all pre-orders have been supplied.
Did you have to do a lot of persuading to convince bike lovers about the safety of the textile lock?
Alexandra Baum: Especially at the start of our project, crowdfunding supporters asked many questions about security and other uses.
All in all, we have experienced that we need to slow down both consumers and the media. It is often said that our castle is indestructible. Of course that does not correspond to reality. Any lock can be destroyed at some point, it depends only on the appropriate amount of time. Therefore, it is important not to arouse false expectations among potential customers. Ultimately, our textile lock offers the same safety as a good steel chain, but is much easier and more flexible to handle. Added to this is the visual aspect, according to which Texlock seems to fit better with the lifestyle than other bicycle locks.
As a potential vulnerability of Texlock, critics have identified the connector of the lock. What developments are you planning in this area?
Alexandra Baum: In general, we first asked the market about the simplest version of our product. Due to the high response, we have decided to bring them to the market first. Of course, we are planning further developments here. One of our goals is to offer a lock with an integrated lock. For the beginning, however, we want to proceed step by step, so as not to overburden ourselves financially as a small start-up.
What are your most important tips that cyclists should pay attention to next to a good lock so that their bike will not be stolen?
Alexandra Baum: The most important thing is that the bike should always be connected to a fixed object. Just securing the bike itself does not really help, as it can then simply be carried away. In addition, the bike should be connected to a busy place rather than in less frequented corners.
It is also important to secure the bike as close as possible to another object. So thieves have little space to make with appropriate tools at the castle.
Furthermore, I have been looking for years to rely not only on a hedge , but to use multiple backup variants. For example, the axles and the saddle can be secured with special screws that can only be removed with a special tool. It is important in my view, potential thieves to make their work as hard as possible.
Thank you for the interview, Ms. Baum.