While there are thousands of small, independently owned bike shops across the country and in bike-friendly cities like San Francisco, it’s still a pain to bring your bike in for a tune-up. There’s scheduling, and then there’s the hassle of not having a bike for several days.
That’s why Peter Buhl, a former longtime partner at BlueRun Ventures who served on the boards of companies like PayPal, had been thinking about a way to address this problem for the past 15 years.
He started Beeline Bikes, which is kind of like an Uber or Homejoy for bike tune-ups. They have mobile vans, outfitted with all kinds of parts (see below) and trained mechanics that can fix up many bikes over the course of a day.
The nine-person startup has three initial vans and the plan is to cater to startups and tech companies up and down the peninsula and in San Francisco. They’ll also do house calls to families as well.
The price for a basic tune-up is $80, but they’ll discount it to $65 with multiple bikes. Each tune-up takes about 30 to 45 minutes and they have concierge levels of service for higher-end bikes. They’ll also do other services like bike fittings and overhauls.
“Our goal is to be the virtual bike shop for all the tech companies here,” Buhl said. “This works in cycling dense areas down on the Peninsula and in the Bay Area.”
He estimates that the local Bay Area market alone is worth about $6 to 10 million per year, but if you expanded the concept nationally, it could be worth $100 million.
Beeline becomes yet another services or logistics startup like Uber, Homejoy, Exec, Postmates, Instacart and others, that use mobile devices and the web to coordinate large networks of service providers. Unlike some of these other companies, Beeline does not rely on contractors. It wholly owns its vans, and the mechanics are full-time employees, although they would be open to exploring a franchising model if they expanded nationally.
The company has raised a half-million dollars in seed funding from 15 angels including IronPort founder Scott Banister, Canaan Partner Deepak Kamra, Like.com founder Munjal Shah, BlueRun Ventures partners Jonathan Ebinger and John Malloy and Brian Nesmith.