53 : Beautiful e-bikes for billions of people - The Vanmoof Story with CEO Taco Carlier

Published by A.K. Sharma

In today’s episode, Taco Carlier, CEO of Vanmoof joins Oliver to talk about building beautiful e-bikes, the role of design and how to get the next billion people on bikes in cities across the world. It’s a great discussion with someone who’s been in the space for a long time (Vanmoof was founded 10 years ago!). . 

Specifically, we dig into:

  • Vanmoof’s story from the early stages through to today, including how being based in Amsterdam influenced the company.

  • The company's mission 'to build the next billion bikes' - how does this permeate the company and what they choose to focus on.

  • We run through their business operations - the design/sales/ops in Amsterdam, manufacturing in Taiwan, where they have their company stores and metrics from their business. 

  • The move Vanmoof have made into micromobility/electrified and the lessons learnt there from a product/hardware experience. 

  • We unpack how customers are using the vehicles, including this quote: "Normal bike commuters travel an average of 3km to work, but with an e-bike that figure jumps to 20km. It opens up biking to a much wider demographic of city-dwellers, creating an enormous new opportunity. Almost 70% of people who purchased the S2 & X2 are now using the Electrified as their primary mode of transport."

  • Taco’s design inspirations, why they only have two bike types, and who he considered competition. 

  • How they protect themselves from the traditional ‘red ocean’ dynamics of the Bike hardware industry, with it’s low margins and barriers to entry. We explore what are the things that have kept them out of that trap. 

  • We discuss the subscription model, and the postponed launch of the upcoming electric models on that business model, including why and how is it higher margin and what they think about the 'job to be done' in this business model? 

  • We unpack the primary barriers to adoption of higher end e-bikes and why that underpinned their ‘Bike Hunters’ model. 

  • Their experience with fundraising - why they chose to go for a crowdfunded round in the last raise, who they look to for funding, and why they’ve pursued a hybrid financing model.

It’s a great interview! Taco is also the first Dutch guest we have had so we also can’t resist covering Amsterdam and it’s bike-centric transport system.

Show notes: 

Moderated by : Alice Dupuy

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