By Melissa Keogh
Adelaide entrepreneur Daniels Langeberg has zipped through almost every nook and cranny in Adelaide’s CBD and has come to one conclusion.
“It’s blatantly clear that Adelaide is awesome,” he says.
“Adelaide has a lot of unrealised potential,” he says.
“The city is coming out of its adolescence and realising that it’s actually really smart, fun and doing things in its own way.”
So why does a young man living in Shanghai as an urban designer pick Adelaide to launch a start-up?
“My health was deteriorating, I became really sick from the polluted air (in China),” he says.
“I would come back to Adelaide for Christmas for three weeks and I got to see the city progress in these bite-sized pieces – the building of SAHMRI, the footbridge and Adelaide Oval.
“My sister, being an influence on me, convinced me to stay for two months and I then considered moving back.”
Daniels had an idea for a short-distance transport system similar to rickshaws or ‘tuk tuks’ on the streets of Asia.
He was already connected to rickshaw manufacturer TreeCycle in Shanghai and had a feeling the bamboo three-wheeled bikes would be a hit in Adelaide.
“Adelaide has a flat terrain making it the best city in the world to cycle,” he says.
The pedicabs, pedaled by fit and knowledgeable riders, transport passengers across the city for a small flat rate.
Daniels says South Australia is the perfect place to launch a start-up because it’s “less competitive” and “more supportive”.
With the help of the state’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, he brought his EcoCaddy idea to the Velo-city cycling conference in Adelaide in 2014.
Everyone loved it but money was an issue, until a private investor came along and helped lift EcoCaddy off the ground.
Since its launch in 2015, EcoCaddy has helped transport 40,000 people across the CBD and now employs 16 staff.
It currently only operates during specific events, such as Oz Asia, and for same-day delivery services and tour experiences.
Daniels aims to relaunch a daily public service and have the pedicabs designed and made in Australia by late 2018.
“We’re also looking at all Australian capital cities in the next two years and a move into South East Asia as well,” he says.
With EcoCaddy a rolling success, Daniels again began brainstorming and launched Maché, a space offering co-working areas for creatives, entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Maché, located on Wright Street, has meeting rooms, co-working desks, artist and recording studios, as well as EcoCaddy’s headquarters and workshop.
“I’ve gone global and gained a great perspective on how unique Adelaide is,” Daniels says.
“If people can learn the (start-up) process and reach out, we can accelerate and grow the community.”