The Voice Of A Generation

Start-Up Of The Week: Kogii

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All across the globe there is amazing young entrepreneurs building and creating the future. As a part of our Trendster ‘Start-up of the Week’ series, we will be showcasing the most promising student start-ups out there.

This week we spoke to Karl Roe, Andrea Pignanelli and Callan Eldon, the team behind Kogii, a business that is changing the bike industry with an innovative light.

Q1. What is your elevator pitch?

Kogii is a smart bike light that can detect danger on the road. It is constantly monitoring its surroundings and collecting data to allow us to understand what makes a road dangerous; ultimately leading to an improvement in road safety. Kogii reacts dynamically to its environment; functioning like a brake light when it detects deceleration, changing flashing rate based on the proximity of vehicles along with varying the brightness depending on ambient lighting around the cyclist.

Q2. How did you come up with your idea?

The entire idea was conceived when we were attempting to take an alternative approach to improve road safety. Historically, cyclists have used a variety of cycling safety solutions in real time, many of which have been useful (e.g. high-viz helmets, brighter lights). But the problem of a road being dangerous is never actually addressed. We researched the existence of real-world cycling data that displayed the relationship cars have with cyclists and found that this information was virtually non-existent. We also found that the way in which a cyclist cycles and reacts to their ever-changing environment would be extremely insightful data, and this was non-existent too. So we decided that we would make a product that would both improve real-time safety, but provide us with this critical data. This data would be directly used to understand the road networks cyclists use. To solve a problem, you need to understand it.

Q3. What makes your business unique?

The fact that simply by cycling, a cyclist will be contributing to understanding our roads. A light is a legal requirement in Ireland (and many other countries). We didn’t want to create a gimmick or to attempt to sell a novelty device that made false promises. We aimed to reinvent a very common product and modernise it in a revolutionary way.

Q4. What problem is your business solving?

Kogii attempts to understand the alarming trend of cycling accidents constantly rising and to ultimately reduce these numbers. The number of cyclists on the roads is increasing every year, and so are the number of accidents. Our business’s focus is to quantify how dangerous a road is an aid city planners on how to improve the infrastructure such that it minimizes cycling accidents.

Q5. How do you / did you balance your business and studies.

We’re all quite busy and have our things going on! But at the same time, we have a clear vision and focus and have regular meetups during the week. It’s our plan that as Kogii grows, more time will go into it. But at the moment, we’ve got a huge amount of flexibility with it and are exploring all avenues to grow the business.

Q6. What is the most important thing you have learned from being a young entrepreneur?

That if you have ideas, age does not matter. If you are still in college, there are programs that can help you make your vision reality. Seek help from every possible source available to you and network, network, network. Go for it! As Michael Scott said in The Office; “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

Q7. What is your biggest achievement to date?

Winning the NovaUCD Start-Up Stars 2018, with a fully functional 3-d printed prototype.

Q8. Where is your long-term vision?

The long-term vision is to mass produce Kogii and get it on streets all over the world. The bigger our network, the bigger the data. We want to gather as much of it as we can to better understand our roads. We have plans to make further improvements and iterations of the light; some targeting the lower section of the cycling market along with others that target a higher section of the market. We also have plans to create a full smart-bike.

Q9. Where can people find out more about you and your business?

On our website, www.kogii.bike where you can also contact us directly.

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