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5.5 Data Collection

All in all, obtaining reliable data from entrepreneurial ventures is a difficult challenge.

This kind of fresh-born new companies are often reluctant to disclose lots of information and perhaps not by chance we ended with another inconclusive attempt to get primary data from the inside. Soon realizing how pointless was trying to unsuccessfully engage these actors into our project and waste time on it, we decided to make the most out of the information we had gathered so far from the available secondary sources.

Indeed, the chosen theoretical frameworks and the research question developed require some knowledge about these micromobility companies to comply either with consistency and precision within the dataset either with validity and reliability of the findings.

Therefore, being also our only option left as explained in the next section, we decided to collect data ourselves based on secondary sources.

Previous studies have shown that following this methodology is valid for business models’

analysis of entrepreneurial ventures (Hartmann et al., 2014). For example, Zott & Amit (2011), examining the fit between firms’ product market strategy and their business model, used the same empirical research design.

Thus, we identified, collected, and analyzed all the relevant and available online documents between January and August 2019, as further explained in the next

Another example is given by Donkey website/app and VOI’s ones. Being these platforms the sources of knowledge to outline the respective companies’ business models, we used the information there available and adopted them to the theoretical framework needs.

In order to describe both micromobility sharing-schemes business models and Copenhagen’s urban mobility socio-technical context at our best, we made use of all the data available from:

● the MMSS websites and smartphone app (Donkey Republic and VOI data disclosed on these platforms were crucial for what concern the niche-innovations business models conceptualization)

● online publications and reports (e.g. The Technical and Environmental Administration of Copenhagen) and a great number of topic related academic papers.

● online articles of newspapers and journals (e.g. Berlingske, one of the most famous Danish national daily newspapers and Sifted, a new online media site digging into European startups and tech, backed by the Financial Times).

When sources were provided in a different language than English, such as Danish in some cases, we simply made use of Google translate to understand whether we could make use of the content or not.

Due to the theoretical model chosen, the MLP, we made use of Bike shop owners personal point of view as representative of the impact of micromobility sharing-schemes on one of the Copenhagen urban mobility regimes: the individual bike.

Thus, nine individual face-to-face interviews were conducted to discuss the individual bike mobility regimes and its dynamics in relation to the incoming MMSS niches. The list of interviewers was based on the combination of online research, the location and the bike shop willingness to participate, when asked for availability.

First, we googled keywords like “best bike shop Copenhagen” or “bicycle rentals” and see what results the website search engine came out with. Nowadays, many different online pages provide this kind of information based on users and customers feedback. We simply took note of some of the most common names, which appeared more frequently with good reviews, and sort them by location.

Not having any certainty about their willingness to participate and considering the high amount of bicycle shops in the city, we decided to start our investigation from the street of Nørrebrogade. The reason behind this choice is given by the fact that Nørrebrogade is claimed to be the busiest bicycle street in Copenhagen with thousands of people (nearly 42.000) cycling through Dronning Louise Bro bridge every day (TEA, 2019).

Thus, we reasoned the businesses active in this trafficked route to be potential valuable places for data gathering. Yet, some of the most rated shops on Google are in other location of Copenhagen, so we decided to go there as well. Not every owner we tried to approach showed willingness to cooperate, forcing us to pick another store nearby. Finally, between the 22nd of March and the 5th of April 2019 we conducted the interviews, trying to differentiate as most as we could out of size and type of store interviewed.

In figure 4 the interviewee’s locations are displayed:

Figure 4. Bike Shop Interviewed Location, Google Maps Screenshot Revisited

We decided to follow a semi-structured form of interview because of two main reasons: (1) the interviewee most of the time didn’t know in advance the occurrence of such an event, and (2) the interviewee’s opinion could have added additional material to the research.

At the same time, this degree of flexibility is restricted by the presence of the interviewer and a voice-recording device (smartphone) that prevent any topic detour and increase the validity of the source of information throughout the thesis.

The semi-structured interview was also chosen to follow Kvale (2008) argument: “The qualitative research interview attempts to understand the world from the subjects’ point of view, to unfold the meaning of their experiences, to uncover their lived world prior to scientific explanations.”

The guided and semi-structured interview represent a valuable tool the authors has made use of to enrich the analysis of the problem area.

Depending on how the question was formulated the interviewee could range its answer providing more in-depth and personal responses, enriching the conversation with interesting insights. This is a very convenient point, as the interview outline is somehow prepared with a systematic and comprehensive set of questions, but the conversation dynamics are led with an informal tone to promote interactions between interviewer and interviewee. The interviews were held in English and recorded and transcribed afterwards for later interpretation. The quotes used in the thesis are translated and made reader-friendly. A transcript of the interviews has been attached in appendix 1.

Finally, we tried to access further knowledge and primary data through online questionnaire to pertinent expert in the Copenhagen’s mobility. The only answer received was from the Danish Cyclist Federation and can be found in the appendix 1.