Amsterdam-based start-up VanMoof has raised a $ 128 million Series C funding round. The company designs and sells electric bikes that are popular in certain markets. She now wants to become the world’s leading brand of electric bikes by iterating at a faster pace.
Asia-based private equity firm Hillhouse Investment is leading the round, with Gillian Tans, the former CEO of Booking.com, also participating. Some existing investors have also put more money on the table, such as Norwest Venture Partners, Felix Capital, Balderton Capital and TriplePoint Capital.
Today’s C-Series represents a big leap from the company’s B-Series. Last year, VanMoof raised $ 40 million in Series B. In total, if you add it all up, the startup raised $ 182 million in total.
If you’re unfamiliar with electric bikes from VanMoof, TechCrunch has reviewed the most recent S3 and X3 models. On paper, they are identical. 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 high-end electric bikes that are primarily designed for city rides. The most recent models currently cost $ 2,298 or € 2,198.
They are equipped with an electric motor associated with an electronic gear change system. It has four speeds and you don’t have to change gears yourself. All you have to do is jump on the bike and start pedaling.
Recognizable by their iconic, futuristic-looking triangular-shaped frames, the S3 and X3 are also equipped with hydraulic brakes, integrated lights and some smart features. There is a built-in motion detector combined with an alarm, GPS chip, and cellular connectivity.
If you report your bike stolen, the GPS and cell chips are on and you can track your bike in the VanMoof app. The company’s bikes are now also compatible with Apple’s Find My app.
Instead of relying exclusively on standard parts, the company works with a small number of suppliers to manufacture custom components. In this way, he can eliminate as many middlemen as possible to reduce costs. It is also a good competitive advantage.
Growing a business like VanMoof is capital intensive. The company has opened retail stores and service centers in 50 different cities around the world. While the company started in Europe, the United States is now the fastest growing market for VanMoof.
With today’s round table, the startup plans to double its current strategy. You can expect updated bikes with refined designs and more custom parts. You can expect more stores and service centers around the world. And you can also expect more online sales.
“This 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 use VanMoof bikes.
Today’s investment shouldn’t come as a surprise. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated plans to transform European cities – and prioritize bicycles over cars. Last year TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas and I wrote a comprehensive overview of key political developments in four major cities – Paris, Barcelona, London and Milan. VanMoof now benefits from these policy changes.