Interview with Christof Hinterplattner
CEO and Co-Founder of Bikemap. A fast-growing sports-community of passionate cyclists from around the world, sharing more than 3.5M cycle routes. An outstanding solution for navigation and full tracking functions offline in more than 100 countries with the high-class Bikemap App.
Congratulations, you have recently cracked the million user mark. Can you tell us about your growth strategy? What marketing channels do you use?
Bikemap is a user-generated content platform: In the last two years, we have grown almost exclusively organically, almost exclusively due to user success, user satisfaction and user recommendations. Of course, we also tried again and again to use our very strong growing social media channels very efficiently and very intensively. For example, we have over 300,000 Facebook fans. This has brought us a lot for international growth because we offer a global service. Of course, working with "power users" in different nations is very important to us. This means bringing user stories: users who have created very nice routes and experience with Bikemap are also repeatedly featured in a blog post. Of course, we also started to use newsletters intensively. We have more than 250,000 active newsletter subscribers. This is all a very exciting topic, also in the "content creation" and for us, this is also a very intensive time especially in the community growth, also in the customer care very strong position. That means: answering user questions, reacting quickly and being there on all channels - Facebook, e-mail, etc. We have set up our own board where users can contribute ideas and where we can imagine what we are working on next. We also prioritise that. With this whole range of things, we have achieved our growth in recent years.
Do you have a question for our next interview partner: Christopher Müller from Bitmovin.
Bitmovin is a very hot story. There was a great round of financing and of course an outstanding product and now a base in California. What is planned for 2018 or 2020? The omens are outstanding for you, so maybe you can tell us where streaming media is going? Respectively where will Bitmovin develop?
Christof, as CEO and co-founder of Bikemap, where does your passion for cycling come from and how often do you get on the bike?
My passion for cycling is quite straightforward. I have athletic parents, I grew up with mountains, skiing, running and cycling. Actually, my first sport is running and I've ran many marathons in my time. But riding a bike is a great urban sport for me, to get from A to B quickly and work out during this journey. How often do I get on my bike? Not as much as i want. However, I ride with my children a lot. Ride my bike several times a week. Especially since we know many millions of routes with Bikemap, there are still so many to try out.
More than 1,500 new routes are shared on Bikemap every day. How did you get your users to do that? Do you have any tips on how to motivate users to share their own content?
User-generated content is always a question of simulation - what do you offer to a community and what would you like to get back from a community? In our case, we naturally offer that we make it possible for users to easily and very visually and very emotionally portray a nice cycling experience on the web or in the app. The whole thing works with really very few basic technical skills and very little time. You can also easily share the routes, collaboratively plan, build into external sites, including a widget (a very important growth lever for us) similar to a YouTube video. So we have built several 10,000 routes on thousands of blogs and private websites. That was a big driver for us. From the beginning, social media was a huge driver. As a global service, however, it is also very tedious to guarantee multilingualism. Nevertheless, you have to arrange with it. This is even easier in the community support, as in the warranty for example in apps or other "hard" coded services. For this, you need professional translation and other things. But without offering and servicing different languages, a worldwide service will be difficult to penetrate. I think it's important to be in close contact with your user base, to engage them in new product developments, to give a lot of feedback and to be open and transparent.
Bikemap has more than 3.4 million bike routes in over 80 countries. What advantages does Bikemap offer for your customers?
Bikemap is a fast-growing digital sports community. Not only are we the largest cycling route app in the world, but we now have over 1.1 million registered users and still growing very fast. With Bikemap you can find more than 3.4 million bike routes in over 80 countries around the world, all of which have been planned and created by users. This means that you can take yourself to any point in the world using the Bikemap. The Bikemap app also provides you with a globally available bike navigation system. With Bikemap Premium all these functions are also available offline! What does the offline availability bring? We know that in alpine valleys or remote regions often no usable telephone network is available. With premium, you have offline maps and also offline navigation on your phone. The offline availability also satisfies a certain need for security. In addition, it also provides up to five times longer battery life.