Many of them are lightweight, foldable, and able to reach speeds of about 15 miles per hour and above. They’re battery-powered and, in many cases, more practical for consumers than a traditional automobile. And as a result, there is an increasing number of companies looking to provide these so-called “ebikes” to international consumers.
One of these standout companies is FuroSystems, which recently passed a crucial milestone on its way to further cementing its place in the British ebike market. In late November, the company raised £750,000 (about $1 million) in initial venture funding from TSP Ventures, ClearlySo, and several angel investors.
FuroSystems has a lineup of three lightweight vehicles (two bikes and a scooter) that TechCrunch says are priced “highly competitive[ly] compared to conventional bikes.”
It’s not unusual for relatively young startups to not be profitable for several years, but FuroSystems says they have been since the company’s start. They also said they have seen a fivefold increase in year-on-year sales since the beginning of the coronavirus in late February and early March.
Elliot Wertheimer, who is chief executive and founder of FuroSystems, sees the growth of his company as instrumental in the fight against climate change and overcrowding in cities.
“We’re currently experiencing a once-in-a-century shift in transport, thanks to increasing awareness of the impact we are having on our environment along with a renewed desire to make healthier personal choices,” Wertheimer told TechCrunch. “Electric bikes and electric scooters are crucial to solving the mobility issues we see today, of congestion and pollution.”
Chris Smith, the CEO of TSP Ventures, which invested heavily in the company, said that ebikes are a rapidly growing market that has sales set to exceed €10 billion (nearly $12 billion) by 2025. He believes that FuroSystems is going to lead this market.
The Story of FuroSystems
Wertheimer and his co-founder Albert Nassar believe that FuroSystems has the power to lead the market as well. Both of the men were working in the advanced sciences, Wertheimer an advanced space systems engineer and Nassar a deep tech roboticist, before they founded the company.
According to their website, the pair decided to found the company when they realized that commercial-grade technology had developed to the point that batteries were neat and compact while still providing power high enough to make lightweight electronic bicycles on a wide scale.
And the government in Wertheimer and Nassar’s home in the United Kingdom has moved to make this technology easier to use in public spaces. A so-called emergency active travel fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars is being used to build pop-up bike lanes all around the UK in the hope that it will be a more environmentally sustainable solution for the region.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps believes that the step is an early one on the UK’s route to transportation sustainability.
“During this crisis, millions of people have discovered cycling – whether for exercise or as a means of safe, socially-distanced transport,” he said. “We know cars will continue to remain vital for many, but as we look to the future we must build a better country with greener travel habits, cleaner air, and healthier communities.”
The Growing Ebike Market
While Chris Smith of TSP Ventures undoubtedly has a stake in the success of FuroSystems and, by extension, the market as a whole, the ebike industry is indeed growing.
Valued at 15.42 billion in 2019, market research firm Mordor Intelligence reports that the ebike market is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 7.49% between 2020 and 2025. Mordor Intelligence attributes this growth, interestingly enough, to greater consumer interest in outdoor recreational activities.
The firm says that China is likely to be one of the largest markets for ebikes in the world. In fact, the value of the Chinese ebike market actually decreased in the time following the outbreak of the coronavirus at the beginning of the year but has since rebounded as Chinese consumers look for means of transportation other than public transport.
FuroSystems has teased expanded international efforts in the past, but one thing is clear: the coronavirus economy and the subsequent global legislative efforts surrounding sustainable travel are an opportunity. FuroSystems, if they play it right, may well be on their way to a sizable portion of the ebike economy in the United Kingdom and perhaps internationally.
About the Author
Elijah Labby is a graduate of the National Journalism Center. He has previously written for Broadband Breakfast, a technology and internet policy website.