VCs have backed a trendy Dutch e-bike start-up as demand accelerates

Key Points
  • VCs from Norwest Venture Partners, Felix Capital and Balderton Capital have backed Dutch e-bike VanMoof with $40 million.
  • The investment round comes just a few months after the company raised $13.5 million from tech investors. 
  • Vanmoof is competing with the likes of Cowboy and, to a lesser extent, Dance. 
VanMoof cofounder Taco Carlier riding one of the company's e-bikes.

LONDON – As the pandemic forces people to rethink how they get from A to B, venture capitalists are looking to capitalize on companies offering new forms of transport.

VCs from Norwest Venture Partners, Felix Capital and Balderton Capital announced Wednesday that they had backed Dutch e-bike VanMoof with $40 million, just a few months after the company raised $13.5 million from tech investors.

Amsterdam-headquartered VanMoof, which has raised $73 million in total, said it will use the Series B funding to the further capitalize on a worldwide e-bike boom that has been fuelled by the coronavirus.

"E-bike adoption was an inevitable global shift that was already taking place for many years now but Covid-19 put an absolute turbo on it to the point that we're approaching a critical mass to transform cities for the better," said Ties Carlier, co-founder of VanMoof in a statement.

The company said its revenues have grown 10 times in the last 24 months to hit $100 million and the U.S. is now its third fastest growth market. During the worldwide lockdown, revenues climbed 220%, VanMoof said.

Colin Hanna, principal at Balderton, said the firm's "control over design and production" was a key advantage that allowed the company to "react nimbly and effectively to the crisis."

The new funding will help meet increased demand and reduce delivery times, VanMoof said. Some of it will also be used to set up a global e-bike repair service and software that works in conjunction with the company's e-bikes.

Vast market

Accountancy firm Deloitte estimates that over 130 million e-bikes will be sold between 2020 and 2023 and VanMoof isn't the only e-bike start-up catching the eye of VCs.

In June, Brussels-based Cowboy announced a 23 million euro ($27 million) series B funding round led by Exor Seeds, the early stage investment arm of Exor, which is the controlling shareholder of Ferrari.

The company's e-bikes, which cost 2,290 euros, are linked to an app that is used to unlock the bike and give real-time information on speed, battery life and directions.

Elsewhere, Dance, set up by the founders of music streaming service SoundCloud, said in June that it has raised 4.4 million euros ($5.1 million) from a consortium of investors led by VC firm BlueYard, which is also based in Berlin.

Unlike other start-ups, Dance doesn't want to sell e-bikes, which can cost well in excess of $2,000.

Instead, it has launched a 59 euro per month subscription service that gives customers access to an e-bike within 24 hours of them signing up via the company's app. Dance says it will also take care of the e-bike and replace it for free immediately if it gets lost or stolen.