Peer-to-Peer Bike-Sharing Startup Spinlister Rebrands As Liquid, Opens Up To All

Over the past few years, we’ve seen all sorts of peer-to-peer marketplace startups pop up: There’s GetAround and RelayRide for cars, Zaarly and TaskRabbit for skills, and then there’s Airbnb — the granddaddy of them all — for apartment rentals. It’s all part of this collaborative consumption/sharing economy/whatever you want to call it do-goodie idea of making unused assets or skills available to those who need them, and making a little bit of extra cash in the meantime. So why not one for bikes?

We’ve been following bike-sharing startup Spinlister for a while now, but now it’s coming out with a whole new brand — although the service will more or less stay the same. The young company will now be calling itself Liquid, you know, to highlight the whole idea of creating a “liquid marketplace” for sharing your assets — like bikes!

I talked to co-founder Will Dennis about the new brand identity yesterday, because I was puzzled about the whole thing. After all, Spinlister is just a fine name for a startup focused on listing and renting bikes. I mean, why something as boring and generic as friggin’ “Liquid”?

“We think it better represents what we want to do, to allow people to get what they want when they want it,” Dennis told me. “It’s a more tangible idea of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Ok, sure, but does this mean that Spinlister Liquid is looking beyond just being a marketplace for bikes? That’s kind of what moving to a generic new name kind of suggests to me. After all, you could create a “Liquid” marketplace for nearly any damn thing — backhoes, DVD copies of The Blind Side, whatever.

Not necessarily, says Dennis. For now, the startup is focused just on bikes. “We’re really excited about what we’re doing with bicycles. There’s no point in trying anything else, if we’re not succeeding at that,” he told me.

Spinlister Liquid has also opened up access to anyone who wants to rent a bike, anywhere in the U.S. After launching in New York and San Francisco in the spring, the startup announced a nationwide rollout late last month. But there was just one catch: To rent a bike, you also had to list a bike. It did that to boost inventory, but has since taken away that sort of listing pay wall to new users. Huzzah!

Since opening up nationwide, Spinlister Liquid has seen its available inventory increase by about 30 percent, and is seeing revenues increase week after week. In all, it’s seen more than 10,000 bike rental hours since it first became available.

Anyway, the startup is announcing the new name and brand at the GreenStart Demo Day today, after spending the last few months as part of the incubator. GreenStart is focused on startups in the cleantech space, and so Spinlister Liquid — and its plans for making bike-sharing more accessible to all — certainly fits the bill. Spinlister Liquid now has five full-time employees, and is now based in San Francisco, after being founded in New York City.