Despite a rise in the number of electric bikes around the world and massive funding rounds, VanMoof has entered a downward spiral towards bankruptcy, leaving its future uncertain.
VanMoof, a popular electric bike manufacturer in the Netherlands, entered a difficult financial spiral and filed for bankruptcy.
The company has expanded globally in recent years, raising $128 million in a Series C funding round in 2021. This made VanMoof the most-funded electric bike company in the world, according to the company. The startup saw sales more than triple in 2020 and has grown to have stores in Ireland, Europe, the US and Japan.
But now, the Amsterdam Court has declared the company’s Dutch legal entities, VanMoof Global Holding BV, VanMoof BV and VanMoof Global Support BV, bankrupt. Options are now being explored to help the company survive, according to a VanMoof FAQ page.
What happened to VanMoof?
As reported by TechCrunch, the company’s outlook has changed recently with sales lulling, customers demanding refunds and the scramble to raise more funds. The sources also claimed that several senior staff members have left their executive roles at the company.
This has occurred during a period of growth for the electric bike sector. There are estimates that the total number of electric bikes in circulation worldwide will grow to 300 million this year, an increase of 50% compared to 2019.
The company’s electric bikes are a significant investment, with prices exceeding €3,000. Meanwhile, there has been a rise in new e-bike companies in Europe offering cheaper rental services. These companies have gained popularity in recent years.
Earlier this month, VanMoof said it temporarily halted sales to “catch up on production and delivery of existing orders.” A similar notification can still be seen on the company’s website when trying to order an electric bike.
VanMoof’s legal entities outside of the Netherlands are currently not involved in the insolvency proceedings. However, this could change in the future as the company is still exploring the impact the bankruptcy will have on these other legal entities.
The court has appointed two trustees for the bankruptcy proceedings. These trustees are launching a process of sale of the assets and activities of the company, in order to “find a party that is willing to continue the activities of VanMoof.”
What does this mean for customers?
The future for customers remains uncertain, though VanMoof said his goal is to keep his app and servers online to keep customer bikes “functional and manageable.” However, there is a risk of “unforeseen circumstances”.
As a result, the company has advised customers to create a “backup unlock code” so they can unlock their bikes from the handlebars. Meanwhile, competing company Cowboy has launched with an app designed to unlock VanMoof bikes.
Outbound deliveries of replacement VanMoof bikes and accessories have also stopped and it is not yet known if open orders will be fulfilled.
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