VanMoof, the Dutch e-bike startup which launched in 2009, is now formally a “scale-up” after attracting a €12.5M / $13.5M funding from London VC Balderton Capital and SINBON Electronics, the Taiwan-based electronics producer which is its bike meeting associate.
The announcement comes at a fortuitous time. Cities throughout Europe are gingerly rising from lockdown throughout the latest outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and European governments are determined to get their economies transferring. However a lot of the official recommendation is to keep away from public transport the place doable, as a result of near-impossibility of social distancing.
So with biking a viable possibility in lots of cities, however distance nonetheless the previous adversary, many customers need to e-bikes as the answer to commuting, versus conventional bikes, which might’t compete with an e-bike’s means to take the rider a lot additional than regular.
To spice up take-up, the UK authorities has unleashed a £2 billion package deal to create a brand new period for biking and strolling, resulting in shares in bike retailer Halfords jumping by 17% on Monday.
Within the US, New York Metropolis simply dedicated to including protected bike lanes throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Berlin is extending a few of its already intensive bike lanes. And Milan will introduce a five-mile cycle lane to chop automotive use after the lockdown. New York Metropolis has reported a 50% improve in biking in comparison with this time final 12 months. Biking in Philadelphia has elevated by greater than 150% throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
Taco Carlier, VanMoof co-founder, stated in an announcement: “It’s a singular time to construct such a significant partnership. Not solely can we respect this vote of confidence from an investor with deep sector expertise, it’s a fantastic signal that investments have gotten greener, shifting away from fossil fuels and in the direction of e-mobility.”
Colin Hanna, principal at Balderton stated: “VanMoof produces a category-leading product in a quickly rising market that’s altering the world for the higher. We imagine that the standard, group, and expertise of VanMoof will make them a family identify from Tokyo to Berlin.”
VanMoof lately launched the S3 and X3 fashions that are upgrades to earlier fashions, at a considerably cheaper worth. The value is a mirrored image of the truth that VanMoof has full management of the provision chain because of its partnership with SINBON, mixed with a direct-to-consumer gross sales mannequin which suggests it takes full possession of every part from design to manufacturing, from gross sales to after-service.
Moreover, within the final two years, the corporate has quadrupled its €10m 2018 income to just about €40m in 2019, with gross sales 20% above goal all through 2020 up to now, that means it’s an annual income purpose of €100m.
The excessive efficiency new electrical VanMoof S3 and X3 have a brand new vary of options, together with digital four-speed gear shifting, built-in hydraulic brakes, and double the Turbo Enhance energy.
However VanMoof isn’t the one VC-backed e-bike in the marketplace. Brussels-based Cowboy is an e-bike startup that solely appeared in 2017 however has since gone on to lift $19.5M from Tiger International and London’s Index Ventures.
Whereas it’s a tragedy that it’s taken a deathly pandemic to kick-start this market, the prospect of our cities turning into radically modified for the higher, with cleaner air and more healthy, bike-riding residents, does appear to be showing on the horizon.