Timothy Ericson remembers well the time he spent volunteering and thus helping to steer Paris’s bike sharing program Velib, one of the first of its kind in the world.
It gave him and his buddy Jason Meinzer intimate knowledge of the mechanics of the bike sharing model.
Something clicked for the two friends, who realized that carbon credits, which can be sold in an open market to companies that hope to reduce their carbon footprint, factored in to it somehow.
When they came home in 2007, they founded CityRyde, a software company that provides bike sharing programs with fleet-management capabilities and soon, the ability to track carbon reduction provided by bike travel and sell those credits.
In December, the company was awarded with a contract to provide its bike-share management software Spark for Drexel University’s bike sharing program.
It was the third university to begin using the software, a press release reports.
But now, the company is close to hearing back about a pivotal international certification which could dramatically alter that contract list.
According to Timothy Ericson, the company’s CEO and co-founder, the company is banking on a accreditation from the Voluntary Carbon Standard, which would give it authority to measure carbon credits saved by bike sharing programs in order to sell them back to the carbon credit market, which could give CityRyde an edge in the U.S. as the first company to do so.
Ericson says that the word on that certification could be coming in just a few weeks.
Last summer, the company received a $25,000 investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners to develop Inspire, the software brand which will help bike sharing companies monetize carbon credits. Currently, the company, which is located in the Baiada Center, Drexel’s business incubator space, has a handful of employees.
For now, the company consults with bike sharing programs to help raise funds until it can get a foothold in the U.S. with the accreditation.