Hmm, we can’t find what you’re looking for...

Don’t give up! Check the spelling, or try something less specific.

Inside VanMoof

The cost of reinventing the wheel, by Taco Carlier.

The cost of reinventing the wheel, by Taco Carlier.

VanMoof has been growing at an incredible rate over the last couple of years. Since 2016, our growth ratio has averaged at 100%. This led to three investment rounds totalling $182 million in less than two years, making us the most funded e-bike brand in Europe. And, of course, many thousands of new riders. Behind the numbers there is a team of extremely driven and talented people who are making better, smarter bikes designed to change how we move around cities.

Bringing this change to the streets means we at VanMoof have been re-engineering everything from scratch and raising bike production to a scale never seen before to make bikes a real alternative for cars in our cities. This takes serious investment in a capital intensive industry and investors who believe in the mission. As each part of the business grows we need to level up the systems and tools that future proof our product and business. This own-everything philosophy delivers an entirely unique experience to our riders and is the essence of VanMoof. 2020 was our hyper growth moment as, almost over night, we doubled our company team to keep up with the huge increase in demand, tripled our sales and started the expansion of our service footprint from 8 to 50 locations worldwide (at the end of 2021). Together with our own-everything approach, it resulted in a year's loss of €40 million in 2020. This is the cost of reinventing the wheel.

It would be the easiest thing in the world to make quick and easy, forgettable bikes. Our business model is built on groundbreaking patentable innovations. It is built on owning everything from back end to front end. It is built on our vertically integrated supply chain, our dedicated manufacturing base and R&D teams, our in-house developers and creative teams and our stores and service hubs across the world. These innovations have made us the fastest growing e-bike brand in the world.

Investment gives us the freedom to continue to innovate and disrupt the entire industry. It is only by offering high-quality, accessible e-bikes to the widest number of people that we get the next billion on bikes. Unlocking this awesome potential creates a cleaner and greener urban landscape. As we see this behavioural shift starting to play out in our cities the opportunity demands we keep pushing a strong breakaway approach. Building a global brand takes time, patience and nerve when doing it differently from the rest. It means balancing early hyper growth and losses as you break new ground. Next year we have a similar amount of upfront investment inbuilt as part of our plans. This is how we will achieve our long-term vision and impact.

This is the difference between leading and following. It took Tesla almost 20 years to reinvent the car industry. This incredible focus on the future and on making a product the absolute best in your industry is what counts. We are working towards a near future where we will make biking the whole world’s favorite way to travel. It's a transition that is fueled by better bikes and better infrastructure. As we grow and grow, we’ll continue to push, invest and, hopefully, delight our riders. And if you’re thinking all that sounds a little unrealistic, we’ll let you in on a secret: e-bikes are currently outselling electric cars two to one. That next billion on bikes suddenly seems a lot closer.

Taco Carlier

About this author

Taco is co-founder of VanMoof, and the original Bike Hunter. Based at our Amsterdam HQ, he’s constantly dreaming up new ways to share Amsterdam’s biking culture with the rest of the world.