Boston Startup Rejjee Uses Cloud Services to Recover Stolen Bikes
One day her shed in Allston, MA was broken into and four of her bikes were stolen. One of the bikes was an expensive Trek mountain bike and another one held significant personal value. In addition to contacting the police and filling out a report, she also posted her bikes on Rejjee, a bike registry service.
Four days later, the thief posted the Trek bike for sale on Craigslist – a $2,000 bike for sale for just $700. She called the police, who set up a sting operation.
More than two million bikes are stolen each year in the U.S. and fewer than two percent are recovered by the rightful owner because so few bikes are registered. Rejjee is a free mobile app that lets users register valuables, including bikes, and report loss/theft from a phone in real-time. Participants upload photos, serial numbers and descriptions of their bikes into the system and report information on loss/thefts. User reports populate a crowd-sourced lost and found service where friends, neighbors and used goods dealers can be on the lookout and share information. Reports are also accessible by local law enforcement.
Rejjee, a member of Microsoft’s BizSpark program for startups, recently launched “Rejjee your Ride,” creating the largest regionally integrated anti-bike theft program in the country. Rejjee teamed up with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) Police, Boston Police Department, Somerville Police Department, Arlington Police Department, Northeastern University, Boston University, and several bicycle associations, including MassBike, MassCommute, Boston Bikes, RI Bike Assocociation, FL Bike Association, and NY Bike Association.
To manage the high volume of information collected, Rejjee uses Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud computing service. This allows them to easily scale their business of protecting bikes and other valuables, as the startup grows their service in cities across the country and around the world.
“Rejjee your Ride” is already helping reunite riders with their bikes. Michael had his bike stolen more than seven months ago, but when the MBTA Police posted his bike ‘found’ on Rejjee, he was able to claim his $1,000 road bike and get it back. Police departments plan to use the service as a way to help reunite bikes with their owners through a unified database of serial numbers.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans says his department “…continues to work diligently to return stolen and recovered bikes to their rightful owners. We believe this bike program is a great tool that will connect the BPD, other Boston area police departments, and members of the community, so we encourage the public to register their bicycles and use the collaborative program to their advantage.”
Thanks to the great work of the Boston Police, and Lucy’s quick thinking to register her bike and serial number with Rejjee, she got her bike back!
Ken Smith is a career entrepreneur. He has led seven startups, coached at the MIT Enterprise Forum and Lean Startup, and is the author of ‘Selling Innovation’. Ken is currently Co-founder, President, and Head of Product at Rejjee. He also serves as a ride marshal for Boston Bike Party and other local cycling events.