Dragon's company backing bid for nationwide city bike-share contract
Dragons' Den denizen Sean O'Sullivan's SOS Ventures is an investor in a company tendering for a major contract to run a city bike service in Cork, Limerick and Galway.
Social Bikes, a New York outfit, has teamed up with Egis Projects Ireland, the French transport management company that runs Dublin Port Tunnel and the Easytrip toll tag service and is applying for the early stage tender process.
Social Bikes runs bike-share schemes in several locations in the US including New York state, New Jersey, Florida and San Francisco.
"The National Transport Authority is smart for trying to encourage bike-sharing in various cities around Ireland," said O'Sullivan, welcoming the plan, which is to be a national rollout of the hugely popular Dublin Bikes scheme.
First "prequalification" applications are due in by next Tuesday and a final decision is likely to be made by the end of the year.
The plan is to introduce a Dublin Bikes-type scheme in Ireland's other major cities and perhaps more widely later on. How it will function commercially still has to be decided – but it may be in partnership with local authorities, through either a service fee or a profit share, and possibly with a corporate sponsorship element.
SOS Ventures is O'Sullivan's Cork-based investment management firm, which backs mainly technology ventures, six of which have listed on the Nasdaq or NYSE.