After having their bikes stolen while studying at Oxford University, Franz Salzmann and Daniel Zajarias-Fainsod were frustrated. So frustrated, in fact, that they decided to find a way to stop, or at least massively hinder, bicycle thieves. Lock8, a smart bicycle lock, is what they came up with.
The lock provides an e-key so users can unlock their bikes via a mobile app plus it is equipped with GPS tracking and a 120 decibel alarm, which is activated when someone tries to tamper with the lock. Owners then receive a text to alert them to the attempted theft and can also programme the app to send notifications to friends or family in case they are too far away to react.
Mission accomplished? Almost. The cofounders are currently raising funds on Kickstarter so they can begin producing and selling the locks – the technology comes at a price. Kickstarter backers can buy a lock for close to $140, afterwards one will set consumers back $199 (a hefty price considering second-hand bicycles can be purchased for as little as $40 in Berlin).
Lock8 recently attracted attention when it took away the “Disrupt Cup” at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe 2013, winning €40,000 along with the title. We caught up with Salzmann after some of the fuss had died down to find out what he thinks of his rivals, why his company is taking a break from the startup competitions and how he’s bringing the sharing economy to private bicycles…
Video shot and produced by Patrick Steller