Cowboy raises $80M to take its e-bike enterprise up a gear – TechCrunch


The pandemic spurred a increase in electrical bikes and different different city transportation modes as metropolis dwellers seemed for less-crowded methods to get round their streets shortly and simply with out resorting to vehicles. Now, one of many firms that benefitted from that pattern is saying a giant spherical of funding to broaden its enterprise. Cowboy, a Brussels-based startup that makes e-bikes and an accompanying app to handle varied companies associated to them, has raised $80 million in a Sequence C spherical of funding.

Exor, HCVC and Siam Capital co-led the funding, with Tiger World, Index Ventures, Eothen, Isomer Alternatives Fund, Future Optimistic Capital and Triple Level Capital additionally taking part. Cowboy — which has raised $120 million thus far — is just not disclosing its valuation, nor any gross sales numbers, however it says that it’s on monitor to achieve 100,000 riders by 2023.

Adrien Roose, the CEO and co-founder of Cowboy, stated he was impressed to construct the startup based mostly on three completely different experiences. His earlier firm, meals supply startup Take Eat Straightforward (which finally shut down), relied loads on bike riders for deliveries; these have been primarily carried out on standard push bikes, which meant a sure, accepted lag labored into the startup’s logistics community. Individually, Roose visited his grandfather and noticed that he was utilizing an electrical bike to get round. As a bike owner himself, Roose seen e-bikes as simply that: practical-but-ugly automobiles for older individuals who couldn’t drive and didn’t have the power for standard bikes. His a-ha second was when he realised that these e-bikes may have helped his bike supply community work sooner, whereas additionally contributing to a greater atmosphere within the metropolis total, in comparison with the motorbikes or vehicles that have been in any other case used for supply.

“It took me some time to know that e-bikes may grow to be well-liked not simply with the aged,” he stated. “Electrifying the bike has made biking extra accessible to everybody.”

Roose and his co-founders Karim Slaoui (Cowboy’s VP of {hardware}) and Tanguy Goretti (Cowboy’s CTO) got down to design a motorbike that might attraction to a special type of client, a youthful city dweller. Cowboy designs its bikes from the bottom up — a marked distinction, Roose stated, from many others in the marketplace which may design the body however then purchase in parts from third events. Cowboy bikes are identified for his or her glossy, brushed-metal traces and comparatively gentle weight (a Cowboy bike weighs round 19kg, similar to its shut rival Van Moof); their discreet battery positioning (it’s an extended tube that in flip locks into the again of the seat tube); and 70km battery life.

Cowboy in the present day has two fashions of its gear-free electrical bikes on the market, the C3 and C4 (retailing for £2,490; or simply below $3,000).

Alongside the bikes, Cowboy has developed an app that you just use with the bike that gives a spread of free bike-related companies, resembling route planning, bike monitoring, diagnostics, and the power to trace your personal progress and evaluate it towards different Cowboy riders in your metropolis.

The plan is to make use of the funds to spend money on three areas.

First, Cowboy desires to proceed creating the tech on the bikes themselves. One space the place Cowboy’s CEO and co-founder Adrien Roose stated he’d prefer to see some motion is for the value for these bikes to return down over time.

“This has been on my thoughts for the reason that day we began as a result of we wish to speed up the transition to biking and in case you go into 1000’s of {dollars} for a motorbike, it begins to grow to be one of the crucial costly purchases a buyer would possibly make.” Initially, he stated, the intention was to promote the bikes for lower than €1,000, though the complexities of designing them from the bottom up has meant that that the costs have ratcheted as much as be considerably greater than that. Now, as the corporate scales, it has an opportunity to make use of that to ease the value down over time.

Second, Cowboy plans so as to add extra companies and performance to its app, which is shaping as much as be a separate income stream for the corporate with the latest addition of paid companies resembling insurance coverage, crash restoration and “Cowboy Care,” a motorbike restore and upkeep service that’s at the moment obtainable in 22 cities. It’s additionally dabbling in a round economic system mannequin, the place Cowboy house owners can promote used Cowboy bikes on the startup’s platform.

And third, Cowboy desires to rent extra expertise to execute on the primary two factors, and to broaden throughout extra markets. The corporate expanded into the U.S. in 2021, and whereas Europe accounts for almost all of Cowboy’s enterprise in the present day, North America is rising quick, so that may doubtless be one focus for hiring and enterprise enlargement.

“Whereas world efforts in combating local weather change have led to rising help for the decarbonization of city mobility, the necessity for extra sustainable modes of transportation has by no means been extra obvious, particularly amongst this period of aware shoppers. By marrying best-in-class {hardware}, software program and subscription companies to ship an elevated expertise, Cowboy is uniquely positioned to emerge as a frontrunner in making electrical bikes not solely accessible but additionally aspirational. We couldn’t be extra thrilled to associate with them as they proceed to deliver their mission to market,” says Sita Chantramonklasri from Siam Capital, in an announcement.

Cowboy quotes estimates that undertaking gross sales of $50 billion for e-bikes within the subsequent six years, however that may embody a large plethora of manufacturers and enterprise fashions. Certainly, Cowboy is competing out there not simply towards different modes of transport and different e-bike makers: there’s additionally been a large profusion of electrical bike rental platforms from the likes of Uber and others. This turns into a compelling means for extra informal shoppers to make use of e-bikes with out making the numerous funding into shopping for one.

Roose says that he sees shared possession and on-demand gamers as a lift to Cowboy’s enterprise.

“I’m deeply satisfied that bike sharing platforms have enormously helped us educate the market on what an e-bike is, to know the worth it could possibly deliver you,” he stated. “Additionally frankly we don’t compete straight. I take advantage of my bike however I additionally lease by the minute for brief journeys on the go. It’s a really completely different use case.”

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