Mar 23, 2022 - Economy

Exclusive: E-bike maker Ride1Up closes deal

Animated illustration of an ebike with electricity lines emitting from the center.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Electric bicycle manufacturer Ride1Up closed a $6.5 million Series A, led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund.

Why it matters: Big money keeps flowing to micro-mobility.

Context: San Diego-based Ride1Up is the latest to transition from the local bike shop to the VC board room.

  • Rad Power Bikes, another direct-to-consumer manufacturer, last year raised more than $300 million (not a typo) in two rounds largely led by corporate investors such as Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Management and Research, and TPG.
  • Cowboy e-bikes — which, despite the name, has its only brick-and-mortar location in Brussels (ah, yes, the cowboys of Flanders) — announced an $80 million fundraising round in January.
  • Australian e-bike maker Zoomo, which is focused on last-mile delivery, added an extra $20 million in February to its $40 million Series B, bringing the company's total fundraising to over $100 million.

Driving the news: Ride1Up has seen steady sales growth since its launch in 2018, and weathered the impacts of supply chain disruptions unleashed by the pandemic. Competitors' eye-popping fundraising rounds spurred the decision to seek fresh capital.

  • "We could compete, but it’s a space of massive — there’s the mindset that there’s a little window to become known in the public eye, and everybody else is doing that," founder Kevin Dugger tells Alan.
  • Managing the supply chain has made operations "a little bit more capital intensive," Dugger adds.

By the numbers: The U.S. reportedly imported 790,000 e-bikes in 2021, up from 450,000 e-bikes in 2020 and and about 250,000 in 2019.

  • E-bike sales have surged since the start of the pandemic — and last year e-bikes reportedly outsold EV and plug-in hybrid automobiles.
  • Those figures have sparked the fundraising arms race among U.S. e-bike makers.
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