After a successful pilot scheme at Bar-Ilan University, Chinese bicycle sharing company Ofo has opened a representative office in Israel, and appointed Imri Galai as general manager of the Israeli branch, the company announced today.
Galai formerly headed global marketing for Israeli taxi-hailing app company Gett, and was Europe, Middle East and Africa regional business development manager for apartment share company Airbnb.
Galai said of his appointment today, "I am excited to head the Israeli representative office of Ofo, which is taking bicycle riding several steps forward. Through our technology we are enabling everybody to enjoy a convenient, easy, and green way of being mobile in our living space, whether to go to work, to roam, or for any other purpose."
Ofo is the first and largest bicycle sharing platform in the world to operate station-free. The company was founded in China in 2014. It provides a convenient, cheap urban transport solution that cuts polluting emissions, reduces traffic jams, saves energy, and even contributes to wellness.
The Chinese company has raised $1.3 billion to date in order to expand its activity beyond China, among other places to Israel. Besides in China, the company is currently active in 250 cities around the world in the UK, the US, Spain, Italy, and other countries. It has over 200 million active users.
Ofo's initial pilot program in Israel was, as mentioned, at Bar-Ilan University. It is currently conducting two additional pilot schemes, one of them in Herzliya.
Through the company's app, a bicycle can be picked up and left at any point, by scanning a QR code for unlocking and locking it. Bicycles are returned by reporting via on the app that the bicycle is no longer in use and locking it. The app can also be used for monitoring use of the bicycles, routes travelled, and more.
Use of the app is meant to reduce substantially the extent of bicycle theft, and to make things easier for users, in that they do not have to return the bicycles to stations.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 12, 2018
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