After working at Wayfair as a top executive for 12 years, Nicholas Malone has left to join a Cambridge startup he believes will become a big player in the bike-share space.
Zagster, which raised a $10 million Series B round at the beginning of the year, announced on Tuesday that it hired Malone as its CFO. Malone served as Wayfair’s CFO from 2005 to 2013, when he became chief administrative officer and treasurer, his most recent role.
The company provides bike-share programs for cities, universities, and businesses — which grew substantially in 2016. The startup increased the number of implemented programs by 300 percent to 140 sites across 30 states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada, with the number of deployed bikes growing by 400 percent. Last year, it also opened a satellite office in San Francisco, relocated to a larger headquarters in Cambridge and formed a partnership with Zipcar.
Malone is among a number of additions Zagster has made to its leadership team this year. Earlier, the company hired Brightcove’s former in-house counsel, Rebecca Castoldi, as its general counsel and VP of human resources, former Nanigans marketing executive Ryan Hoppe as its VP of marketing, and former Zipcar strategy lead Adrian Albus as its director of growth strategy. At the beginning of the year, the company added Akamai co-founder Jonathan Seelig, former SpaceClaim Corp. CEO Chris Randles and Tom Vander Schaaff of Edison Partners, which led Zagster’s Series B, to its board of directors.
Given Malone’s experience in helping lead a fast-growing startup through an initial public offering, Zagster’s latest hire could be an indication of where the company is headed. But Malone declined to comment on whether Zagster has any plans to go public.
“I think this industry is really interesting. Right now, there’s not a leader in the U.S. and that’s exciting to me because Zagster is sort of poised to be the leader,” Malone told BostInno, adding that the company has over 200 customers.
The bike-share industry is currently experiencing a boom in China, where two of its largest companies, Mobike and Ofo, raised a combined $1.3 billion in new funding. CNBC reported in July that each company now has 100 million registered users, and they serve a combined 50 million rides every day. Both companies plan to expand to the U.S.
One of Zagster’s biggest competitors in the U.S. is Motivate, which provides the Hubway service in Boston and Citi Bike service in New York. A study by the National Study of City Transportation Officials found that 88 million trips have been made with bike-share programs since 2010, with 28 million of them happening in 2016 alone — which is close to the annual ridership for Amtrak’s entire train system. Motivate’s programs accounted for a majority of annual rides in the study, which only tracked publicly available systems.
While Motivate has a stronghold on some major cities, recent headlines indicate that Zagster has no intention of slowing down. Zagster most recently launched a bike-share program at Penn State, and it is working on starting programs in a number of cities, including Superior, Wisconsin, and Marlborough, Massachusetts. The company has said that it’s different from traditional bike share programs because of its smartphone-based locking technology that allows riders to secure their bikes outside of docking stations.