New Startup LOCK8 Wants To Make Bike Theft A Thing Of The Past
General Motors (NYSE: GM) and other automobile manufacturers have made it possible for police to easily track stolen vehicles.
Isn't it time for bikes to have the same feature?
LOCK8, a new keyless, alarm-secured GPS tracking device, hopes to bring that and other features to bicycle owners everywhere.
Designed as a combination of the words "lock" and "locate," LOCK8 is available for pre-order via Kickstarter.
"What does it mean when we say 'alarm-secured?' We thought a lot about, 'What if the thief cuts the cable? What if he takes a saw? What if he tries to hit off the device?'" said Franz Salzmann, CEO of LOCK8. "We included a vibration detector. We included a motion detector. We included a light sensor if he drills it open and tries to take out the electronics.
"We wired the cable and the locking mechanism we invented. We patented it as well. We can produce all kinds of different cable sizes, links. You can lock 10 bikes -- you just buy a larger cable. Or you lock one bike."
If a thief is ballsy enough to use bolt cutters, he'll be greeted by an unbearably loud alarm.
"It's always wired," Salzmann assured Benzinga. "So the minute somebody cuts it, it triggers a 120 decibel alarm -- a painfully loud alarm -- and your bicycle [sends] a push notification. Plus, you can share the alarm push notifications with anyone around you -- your friends, people close to your bicycle. That makes it very, very dangerous for the thief to attack the lock and move your bike."
If the thief decides to move it anyway, the owner can track it with the LOCK8 app.
"A car alarm is very loud," Salzmann added. "It probably ranges between 80 and 100 decibels, but it's not a linear scale. Fifty decibels is not half as loud as 100 [decibels]. This is so loud that if a person gets very near to this, they will have ringing in their ears for a while after it."
Image Credit: LOCK8
Users will be able to adjust the alarm volume, as well as the motion sensitivity level. For example, the user can allow the bike to be moved a half meter without triggering the alarm, if he or she chooses.
Even so, one can imagine a scenario in which a criminal ignores the sound or wears earplugs and steals the bike.
"No alarm is completely secured," said Salzmann. "No lock is completely secured. So what we're doing is increasing the risk to the criminal. The difference between a car and a bike is that a car is worth much more -- you can re-sell it for much more. A criminal is willing to take a higher risk. A bike, the resale value is not as high. So you won't do everything possible to steal a bike. But with a car you might."
In addition to LOCK8's protective capabilities, the device is also designed to allow bike rentals, hotels and individual users to rent their bikes for a fee. Users can also share their bike with Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) friends by providing them with an e-key.
Christophe Maire, the first announced angel investor to support LOCK8, had huge praise for the product and its creators.
"Daniel and Franz are the first team with a truly scalable solution for bike sharing schemes," Maire, who was voted Best Angel Investor of the Year by TechCrunch readers, told Benzinga. "They are taking the sharing economy one step further. With its thoughtful design, LOCK8 could be a game-changer."
LOCK8 is the grand prize winner of TechCrunch Disrupt Europe 2013. The product has already earned more than 20 percent of its £50,000 ($80,400) goal on Kickstarter and the first batch of units are expected to ship next spring.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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