In this, our first of a new series of ‘Innovation Nation’ interviews with startups, innovators and people who inspire us, we met up with Jeffrey Olinger.
Jeffrey is the co-founder of Flycycle and we asked him about why Flycycle’s corner of New England is a great community for startups and innovators.
Tell us a bit about your business:
“Flycycle presents a new way of thinking about bike parking. In early 2016 we participated in the MIT Climate CoLab Challenge to design improved bike parking for the City of Cambridge. We jumped into the competition and got to meet an amazing community of cycling advocates and activists. Our design won the popular vote and the judge’s prize which helped us launch and deliver the product. Today we have installations in Technology Square & Galaxy Park in Cambridge, and our mission remains to improve accessibility to transportation and mobility.”
Do you have any recommendations for startups around Boston?
“There are a lot of resources in New England that you can reach out and grasp, and Bostonians are eager to share their insights and opinions. So keep an open dialogue. We were never short of feedback, improvements, and ideas on how we might frame a discussion or revise our design.”
What is the best thing about working around Boston and Cambridge?
“Around Boston and Cambridge, people really value quality design and ideas, and they show their passion and excitement when a project inspires them. There’s also a genuine interest in innovation, it’s almost immersive. So, when you get someone looking at your project here, they truly care about the topic and subject.”
What challenges (if any) have you faced operating a business here?
“I can’t think of any challenges from the perspective of running our business, but wherever we work we need to meet laws and regulations. Cambridge does an extensive job of documenting how cycling fits into the city and has a massive body of knowledge. This makes the City a great teacher because they have been engaging with the cycling community for years. Cambridge has provided us with some great insights in that regard.”
What do you like about the local innovation community?
“There is an eager, supportive and involved community of innovators and cyclists who are genuinely interested in better governance and improved public service. Another advantage is the resources: we’ve been able to work with local artisans and manufacturers because there is a strong blend of advanced manufacturing and traditional crafts here.”
Anything personal you love about the area?
“Harvard Stadium. I love climbing the stairs at that place. It’s also nice to ride my bike into work and ride past our installations. There’s the practical side as I can see how people are using our bike racks, and it’s also humbling and uplifting—there’s something really empowering about seeing your product being used by the people you designed it for.”
For more information on Flycycle and its unique, accessible and high-density bike parking, check out the Flycycle website, Facebook page and follow Flycycle on Twitter (or you can hang out at Harvard Stadium and catch Jeffrey mid-climb).
Want to share your views on innovative locations to work? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org