ITEM: Just when you thought both the Internet of Things and the sharing economy couldn’t get any sillier, a start-up in Sweden is promoting the next big thing in urban mobility solutions: pogo sticks.
Yes, pogo sticks.
The company – called Cangoroo – says it wants to provide an alternative to mobility sharing services as the market for sharable bikes and electric scooters has become increasingly generic and overcrowded.
Speaking of generic, the business model for the pogo sticks is pretty much identical to other mobility sharing services: an app tells you where the nearest available pogo stick is, and once you’ve paid to unlock it, you can ride it wherever you want to go and be billed for the usage, after which you lock it up for the next user.
So. A few obvious questions:
1. Why pogo sticks?
CMO and founder Eric Calderon offers three reasons: they’re fun, healthy and good for the environment (via the press release):
It’s close to impossible to not crack a smile when jumping, you’ll burn heaps of calories and it’s by far the most environmentally friendly alternative in the category with an expected lifespan per pogo stick of 16-24 months …
2. Are they safe?
It’s not hard to imagine dozens of ways this could go wrong for Cangoroo users and innocent bystanders alike. The company FAQ doesn’t exactly address this issue, but it does recommend wearing a safety helmet and checking with your insurance company to make sure you’re covered “in the very unlikely event of causing yourself any damage while jumping on the Cangoroo”.
(As for damaging other people or property, Cangoroo says you probably don’t need motor third-party liability insurance because in most countries a pogo stick counts as walking. So, you know, no worries.)
3. Is this for real or an elaborate web hoax?
Possibly both? Cangoroo is owned by ODD Company, a Swedish branding and communications firm that’s known for viral marketing stunts featuring “real” products such as grass-lined slippers, mustache shields, “pause pods” and fake beaches in shopping malls.
However, founder and CEO Adam Mikkelsen assured The Next Web by phone that its sharable pogo stick is totally real.
Here’s what Cangoroo says in an updated latest press release issued May 18th:
… Cangoroo is 100% real. Our choice of shared pogo sticks as our first product is a planned out strategy in order to stand out in today’s media landscape and build an engaging brand in the generic “last mile transportation” category … Naturally, we’ll soon be announcing complementary, more daily commute-focused, products to our fleet (more similar to the largely popular e-scooters and with a genuine focus on sustainability and health).
Which seems to mean that while Cangoroo really will launch sharable pogo sticks you can actually rent, it appears to be doing so mainly as a publicity stunt to elevate its brand in the crowded mobility sharing market as a prelude to launching (presumably) more sensible mobility products.
In any case, we’ll find out soon – Cangoroo says it has enough funding to start launching the service this summer in Malmö, Stockholm, San Francisco and London.