Co-founder Martin Jäger was the victim of bike theft five times in three years before, he told daily newspaper the Süddeutsche Zeitung, he had had enough.
He then developed a QR code sticker which after registering with the site, cyclists stick to their bike. The Fahrradjäger app then scans the sticker – which is almost impossible to peel off – and if the bike has been listed as stolen in the database, they can send the owner a message.
So far, 38 bikes have been reunited with their owners and countless thefts have been prevented, Jäger told the paper.
It was, Rostock police chief Yvonne Hanske said, the deterrent part of the app that would prove the most successful – thieves see a QR sticker and are less likely to take the bike, knowing that it could be traced.
“The app fills a hole which the smartphone generation will be happy to see filled,” said Hanske.
Like many new start-ups though, Fahrradjäger needs cash to keep going. Its only income at this point comes from selling the QR stickers.
Anton Marcuse, another co-founder, told the paper that business was better than expected and that “something like Fahrradjäger spreads quickly in biking circles.”
He added that although they initially concentrated on raising awareness in Berlin and Rostock, where they were studying, cyclists over Germany have registered.