After graduating from MSc in Migration Studies at Oxford University, Agne Milukaite moved to Berkeley, California to work for a Canadian home robotics company. She returned to Oxford to launch www.cycle.land, a peer-to-peer bike sharing social marketplace.
Q: What is your background? Why are you doing this?
A: I am a social scientist and I enjoy bringing people together. Bikes are perfect to connect people: practical, environmentally friendly, affordable, and empowering solution to get around.
Q: What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
A: It’s about seizing the day - looking for opportunities and then going for it!
Q: What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
A: I love turning my idea into a company that solves people’s problems.
Q: So what would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
A: Rather than having a particular set of skills, a person needs to look into their strengths and use them resourcefully. I read this book as a child that explained to me that nobody has everything but everyone has something. Find that something and use it!
Q: What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
A: Successfully solving people’s problems.
Q: What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
A: Couchsurfing and Airbnb. When I first started thinking about bicycle sharing, I thought “how come there are platforms for space sharing but not for bikes?” Both of them managed to create awesome communities of people who invite strangers to stay at their place. I hope that cycle.land will do for bicycles what the two platforms did for living spaces.
Q: If you could have 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?
A: I would discuss the best ways to build a successful trusting community that enables kindness among strangers.
Q: What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
A: When the first person joined cycle.land and asked to rent a bicycle. I always knew that cycle.land was going to solve people’s problems - but it was amazing to see it happen!
Q: What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
A: The most important lesson I learned is the importance of reaching out to people. They will steer you towards other like minded people. Use that to your benefit and create a community around you.
Q: What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
A: Students, tourists, bicycles - the perfect place for cycle.land!
The first breakthrough came through the VIEW programme run by the Entrepreneurship Centre at Said Business School. During the first class, I met my mentor Roy Azoulay who runs Oxford University startup incubator. He is great! And, he was super enthusiastic about the idea of peer-to-peer bicycle sharing. Cycle.land is now incubated with Oxford University and about to start its first accelerator program. I was really excited when the VIEW panel voted cycle.land ‘the best business idea’. Oxford has been incredibly good for cycle.land.
Q: If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship information or resources in Oxfordshire, where would you send them?
A: Launchpad at the Said Business School. Also, Oxford University Careers Service is an excellent resource. They run the Student Consultancy programme that provides student consultancy to local businesses. As a student, I joined the program and worked with the Story Museum on opening up their coffee shop. Now, I work with a great team of student consultants who advise on cycle.land.
Q: Any last words of advice?
A: Worry less, create more.