Soundcloud founders launch Berlin-based e-bike subscription startup

Photo: Unsplash

The founders of the Berlin music-streaming app Soundcloud are launching an e-bike subscription startup, betting their experience in building a community of enthusiasts will ensure the venture is more sustainable than bike-sharing.

The idea for the venture, called DANCE, predates the coronavirus but the spread of the pandemic around the world has hastened a shift to getting around cities on two wheels instead of by car or public transport.

“We were all excited about transforming cities, the climate impact and the health impact of having more people go to work by bike,” said Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss, co-founder and CEO of DANCE, who stepped down from running Soundcloud last year.

“Now, the silver lining of the pandemic is that a lot of cities have said: Let’s just accelerate our micro-mobility infrastructure.”

His partners are fellow Soundcloud founder Alexander Ljung and Christian Springub, co-founder of Jimdo, a website building and hosting company.

E-bike sales are booming, especially in Europe, while more than 30% of bikes sold last year in Germany were electric. Cities across Europe have built 930 km of bicycle lanes since March, according to the European Cyclists’ Federation.

In contrast to bike-sharing, which has faced problems with vandalism, theft and abandoned bikes strewn around many cities, the subscription model means riders get an e-bike of their own.

“When you don’t want your bike any more after several weeks or months, you can just stop the subscription service and someone will come and pick the bike up,” said Quidenus-Wahlforss.

An invite-only service for Berlin starts this week, with subscriptions priced at 59 euros ($67) a month. That compares to an average e-bike sale price of around 2,300 euros.

DANCE plans to go international once it has refined its bike design, smartphone app and operating model.

Berlin venture capital fund BlueYard backed its 4.4 million euro seed round, along with a group of entrepreneurs and individual investors, DANCE said.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.