Austin’s Riders Share finds a niche in the motorcycle rental market

When he was a teenager, Guillermo Cornejo loved to ride his motorcycle in the countryside outside Lima, Peru, sitting behind his father.

“When I moved to the United States, I thought maybe I could ride a motorcycle instead of being a passenger,” Cornejo said. “But I couldn’t afford a motorbike and renting them was $200 a day.”

That’s how Cornejo came up with the idea for his company, Riders Share, which he founded in 2018 in Los Angeles. In 2020, the company moved to Austin, attracted by its business-friendly environment.

Riders Share operates an online platform that allows riders to rent motorcycles from owners. Just as demand for rental cars, RVs and motorhomes has soared as travel recovers from shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Riders Share has seen an increase in demand for its bikes.

Today, more than 2,000 motorcycle owners across the United States are registered on the platform and 200,000 members have signed up to rent and ride.

The company uses machine learning to screen and vet riders before allowing them to rent on the platform.

Cornejo, who previously held analyst roles at Nissan Motors, General Motors and Hyundai, said using an online marketplace rather than a physical store allows Riders Share to offer lower prices than traditional rental shops, as well as a wider selection of vehicles.

“Gasoline prices are really high and that benefits owners and renters because motorcycles are more economical and a great way to travel,” Cornejo said.

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Riders Share founder Guillermo Cornejo says the biggest challenge the company is currently facing is finding enough motorcycles to rent to meet growing demand.

Riders Share partners with an insurance company to ensure owners are covered in the event of loss or damage. Meanwhile, renters get liability coverage, optional roadside assistance, and live US-based customer support.

Offerings on the platform range from traditional motorcycles to three-wheeled bikes and Slingshots, the open-air three-wheeled roadster that sits five inches above the ground. Brands include BMW, Ducati to Harley-Davidson.

Riders Share motorcycles typically rent for $100 a day, and owners get half the rental rate. People typically rent the bikes for a three-day weekend, which means owners would earn $150 per weekend, according to the company.

“It’s a really convenient way to make money,” Cornejo said, adding that some owners use the revenue to add more bikes to their rental fleets.

“One member ended up earning enough money to buy more and now has five. Some have reached 30 bikes and are using Riders Share” as their primary source of income, he said.

The company’s growth marks a major rebound from 2020, when the arrival of COVID-19 brought business to a screeching halt.

Cornejo told the American-Statesman in April 2020 that the pandemic had caused sales to drop about 90% in a single week. To adapt, the company has tweaked its business model by expanding the models offered on the platform beyond high-end bikes like Harley-Davidson or BMW.

Now Riders Share has added more big scooters that require a motorcycle license and can be driven on the highway. Scooters offer food deliverers a transportation option at a lower price than a car, he said.

According to a recent Tripadvisor poll, 71% of Americans plan to travel for leisure in 2022. Many are looking for exciting new outings and are looking for unique experiences that immerse them in the local environment.

Riders Share is one of many companies that have seized on the return of travel with concepts similar to Airbnb’s business model. Austin-based Outdoorsy lets owners of RVs, motorhomes, motorhomes, and trailers rent their vehicle to anyone who wants to pick it up and hit the road.

Owners set their own prices on the Outdoorsy site using tools provided by the company and keep a percentage of the rental fee. Outdoorsy was founded in 2015 in San Francisco and moved its headquarters to Austin in 2018 to tap into the region’s labor pool, tech scene and outdoor culture. Outdoorsy raised $120 million last year for its expansion.

For Riders Share, the biggest challenge it faces is finding enough motorcycles to rent, Cornejo said. “We are in the opposite position from 2020. We don’t have enough motorcycles to meet the demand,” he said.

Since its inception, Riders Share has raised $4 million from investors including Austin-based LiveOak Venture Partners, Texas HALO Fund and Techstars.

Riders Share is targeting a new funding round which it would use to expand marketing and add new offerings such as travel experiences and community events.

Now it’s going after a new round of funding, which it would use to expand marketing and add new offerings such as travel experiences and community events.

Investor David Steakley of the Texas HALO Fund discovered Riders Share on the Internet when he was in Los Angeles and wanted to rent a motorcycle. When he returned home to Houston, he listed his motorcycles on the site.

“I had my bikes on site for a year and did a lot of rentals in 2018,” Steakley said, adding that the positive experience led him to meet Cornejo in person and become a lessor. funds.

Steakley predicts that Riders Share will eventually be acquired by a bigger company.

“There are a lot of places where that would naturally fit – for example, Harley Davidson, Turo, which is a market for cars, or for a market that’s focused on recreational vehicles,” he said. “I think if Guillermo received a good offer he would take it, but it will probably take another three or four years to get to where the company is ready.”

For now, Rider Share’s top priority, Cornejo said, is to reach more motorcycle owners.

“We literally just need to increase inventory to increase revenue,” he said. “A lot of riders still don’t know we exist, so we have plenty of room to grow.”

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