Yeply’s beginnings may have been humble, but the vision behind the project was always for it to become something bigger, more international, and available to as many people as possible.
This is why, back in 2016, Tommi and Antti decided that in order to run as smooth of an operation as they could, they’d need to bring their hands-on mechanical knowledge into the digital space, and grow from there. And so, the idea for the Yeply Digital Platform was born.
The idea itself was simple, but the execution needed careful planning and a bit of creative tweaking of existing digital elements. For the founders, the Platform needed to answer two fundamental questions:
One: How can we bring bike maintenance and operations into one central, digital space that can help us keep track of our mechanics, sales, slots, and customers, and eventually lead us to scale up into new cities and countries?
And two: How can Yeply not only maintain an understanding of but actively keep up with the continuously evolving bicycle trends, and the existing push for e-bikes, and eventually smart bikes, whilst helping to connect their users and their bikes?
In 2016, whilst the company was still in its infancy, the guys were doing their best to create something that would not just be useful for them, but offer extra value to their customers as well. As both Tommi and Antti had significant experience within the tech and digital design industries, they understood the need for Yeply to be hip with the times. The aim was to modernise the entire bike maintenance business, and that required working with modern tools that could generate reports in real-time. Antti and Tommi knew that in order for their business to become sustainably scalable, they needed to get the unit economics down to a T. Information ranging from bikes in and out, replacement parts, sales, to mechanic shifts needed to be contained in their tool.
“Not gonna lie, we did a lot of hacking in the beginning”, says Tommi. “From combining Google Sheets with Data Studio to Excel… I’d definitely call it a period of trial and error. But it was a really positive experience because we got to see first-hand what it would take to become the biggest and the best in the business.”
Regardless of what was going on in the backend, the customer feedback was positive. Remarks about how easy the system was to use and how intuitive the interface was were almost daily. This gave the guys the extra confidence they needed, and in 2017 they partnered with Montel Intergalactic, a Finnish software and technology partner.
The blossoming partnership saw the Digital Platform being taken to the stratosphere. Yeply now operating three vans in the capital area, the need for a truly scalable solution was becoming increasingly important as all vans needed to be up to date on their daily operations, and run the same level of service as the original van.
With Montel’s help and expertise, the Digital Platform started taking on the shape it still has today, with the initial hacking being replaced with serious coding. There was more emphasis on the end user experience – both internally and externally. It needed to become the MLP (most lovable product) of digital platforms. Customers were again pointing out how cool it was to have a profile for their bike with useful stats about the parts, overall condition, and when the next maintenance was due.
This is something totally new, was the overarching consensus.
THE NEED FOR TRANSPARENCY
Another core element that the Platform enabled was transparency, which is one of Yeply’s main business principles.
“We want to be as transparent as possible, to everyone: our customers, business partners, and ourselves. And the only way to do that is by laying it all out and being upfront about everything. That way, there is no room for confusion or miscommunication”, says Antti.
The high level of transparency is enabled and validated by the continuous feedback received from the Platform’s main users – the Yeply Mechanics. It was important for both Antti and Tommi that the Platform would keep improving with the people using it, and that as the company grew it would take on new aspects and elements, and all of these would be powered by the mechanics.
“The tool was initially created for us. It was there to support us in serving our customers, but also to help us keep track of what we were doing. A lot of consideration and development has gone into ensuring that the tool delivers on exactly what we need it to.”
The next challenging opportunity came in the shape of a new country: Germany. The Platform had enabled success in Finland, but now there were new considerations, such as translating all of the content and the specifics of the system into a new language. Luckily, the guys had been preparing for this since the start.
“With Montel onboard offering 24/7 service, we felt really confident that we could make our operations work from a tech perspective in a new territory. At this point, we had several years’ of experience and had taken no shortcuts. Currently, we have the best ERP system in the world for bike maintenance!” Tommi remarks.
And, the expansion to Germany was a hit. With now over 100 cities being serviced, it was a true test of the scalability of not only the business model and concept, but the tech solution powering it all. With more and more service points popping up, certain trends started emerging that the guys were careful to consider in their business planning.
“We learned so much from servicing different neighbourhoods and being in the field that the amount of knowledge, information, and trends that we could tap into surprised us. But, we’ve put everything we’ve learned into action, and we’re definitely better for it!”
What was developed concurrently was an integrated marketing automation system. Recognising that the platform’s data could be used to keep customers further informed fuelled the desire to invest in a communication method. Customers everywhere can now opt into useful emails regarding their bike and available services, making the service even more convenient than before. Yeply’s platform also connects to social media platforms which help target Yeply’s neighbourhoods and other service locations. This automation has served as a useful ground-level element in Yeply’s early marketing efforts, and continues to provide value to this day.
After the success in Germany, in 2021, Yeply expanded to service Austria and The Netherlands. In Austria, the work is focused on servicing B2B customers. In The Netherlands, there is now nationwide coverage for business partners, and several consumer-facing hubs in the city of Rotterdam, with many more to come.
FROM B2C TO B2B
In 2021, Yeply onboarded two large business partners. With the entry to servicing quick-commerce players, new elements and capabilities needed to be incorporated to the existing system. Fleet management was vastly different in its requirements – but Yeply was more than ready to take on the challenge.
Today, Yeply services business locations and fleets all around Germany and The Netherlands, promising significant up-time for entire fleets.
Through Yeply’s Digital Platform, business partners are able to access key data about their fleet’s performance. Every bicycle has a profile, which clearly outlines what has been done to the bike during each maintenance session, and what the individual uptime on the bike is. This allows businesses to see which bikes work, which need parts replaced, and which brands outperform others. Armed with this data and the trends that emerge from the ongoing partnership with Yeply, businesses are able to make informed decisions on what brands and models they commit to in the future. This is invaluable data, as it helps them perform better, and make better investments.
Our data also enables us to instruct our customers on how to ride and take care of their bike in an optimised way that can help reduce long-term costs. We are also able to help bike brands and bike manufacturers due to our vast maintenance history: through continuous feedback on bike parts and elements they are able to improve their products and increase customer satisfaction.
It’s a win-win-win all around.
THE YEPLY DIFFERENCE
Whilst Yeply could exist without the tech, it certainly helps take our service to the next level. With access to real-time reports on the bicycles of both our customers and our business partners, we are able to create holistic and thorough performance reports that help us improve, all the time. When we understand our neighbourhoods and trends, we can be ready to tackle almost any maintenance issues, and even foresee issues before they occur.
In 2022, Yeply made the decision to bring product development in-house. As the backbone of our operation, we’re now working on making the Platform the best it can be – and trust us when we say that the work will never be fully done! Our vision for the future is to become a key player in the urban infrastructures of major cities worldwide.
Yeply’s preventative maintenance model infiltrates how the entire business is ran – we love a challenge and are ready to scale up because we know that we’re prepared, and backed by a best-in-class tech solution, as well as a best-in-class team.