Amsterdam startup VanMoof has raised a $ 128 million Series C funding round. The company develops and sells electric bicycles, which are very popular in some markets. It now wants to become the world’s leading e-bike brand through a faster iteration.
Asia-based private equity firm Hillhouse Investment is leading the round, which will also include Gillian Tans, former CEO of Booking.com. Some existing investors are also putting a little more money on the table, such as Norwest Venture Partners, Felix Capital, Balderton Capital and TriplePoint Capital.
Today’s Series C represents a huge leap from the company’s Series B. Last year VanMoof raised a Series B for $ 40 million. In total, the startup raised a total of $ 182 million.
If you’re not familiar with VanMoof’s e-bikes, . has tested both the latest S3 and X3 models. They are identical on paper. The VanMoof X3 has a smaller frame and smaller wheels.
What sets VanMoof apart from your average e-bike manufacturer is that the company tries to control everything from the supply chain to the customer experience. VanMoof e-bikes are premium e-bikes that are primarily designed for city trips. The latest models currently cost $ 2,298 or EUR 2,198.
They have an electric motor paired with an electronic switching system. It has four gears and you don’t have to shift gears yourself. All you have to do is hop on the bike and start pedaling.
Recognizable by their iconic triangular, futuristic-looking frames, the S3 and X3 also come with hydraulic brakes, built-in lights and some smart features. There is an integrated motion detector in combination with an alarm, a GPS chip and cellular connection.
If you declare your bike stolen, the GPS and cellular chips will go live and you can track your bike in the VanMoof app. The company’s bikes are now also compatible with Apple’s Find My app.
Rather than relying solely on off-the-shelf parts, the company works with a small group of suppliers to produce custom components. This way, as many middlemen as possible can be saved in order to reduce costs. It’s also a good competitive advantage.
Growing a company like VanMoof is a capital intensive business. The company has opened retail stores and service centers in 50 different cities around the world. While the company started in Europe, the US is now the fastest growing market for VanMoof.
With today’s financing round, the startup wants to double its current strategy. You can expect updated bikes with nifty designs and more custom parts. You can expect more stores and service hubs around the world. And you can probably expect more sales online too.
“It will help us get 10 million people on our bikes over the next five years,” Co-Founder and CEO Taco Carlier said in a statement. So far 150,000 people have used VanMoof bicycles.
Today’s investment should come as no surprise. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated plans to transform European cities – and put bikes over cars. Last year, .’s Natasha Lomas and I wrote a comprehensive review of key political developments in four major cities – Paris, Barcelona, London and Milan. VanMoof is now benefiting from these political changes.