Less than three months since launching its pilot programme, German startup DANCE closes a €15 million Series A funding round led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, with the goal of bringing its joyful, sustainable and frictionless e-bike subscription service to the world. Founded by Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss and Alexander Ljung (also co-founders of SoundCloud) and Christian Springub, DANCE has ambitions to offer its all-inclusive service subscription package into expanded markets across Europe and eventually the US.
According to DANCE, e-bikes are the fastest and most efficient means of urban transport on routes up to 10 kilometres (6.2 miles), but are still notoriously expensive to purchase and a hassle to repair. On-demand shared micro mobility providers oftentimes have availability issues. As city commuters and consumers alike look to greener and more reliable transport alternatives for all aspects of their daily lives, DANCE offers an exciting new connected model which innovates from traditional bike design.
“The goal of DANCE is to spark a global movement built on a connected community of passionate e-bike riders, ultimately making cities more bike-friendly and livable,” says Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss, co-founder and CEO of DANCE. “We’ve become inundated with positive responses from around the world since we announced our invite-only pilot program, and it’s become crystal clear just how much desire, demand and excitement there is for a service like DANCE across the world.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, bike usage was already gaining popularity, but exploded when social distancing restrictions were put into place globally. In the UK, sales of e-bikes have boomed as travel restrictions encouraged commuters to seek alternative transport methods with some retailers seeing a 230% increase in demand over the summer. Across the EU, governments and politicians are also reacting to the demand; more than 2300km of bike lanes have been put into place since the start of the pandemic with the UK alone pledging around €273 million (£250 million) in investment.
“In densely populated cities and other urban areas, owning a car shouldn’t be an option especially since cleaner, greener and bike-friendly public infrastructure is increasingly expanding,” continues Quidenus-Wahlforss. “These areas are expensive and congested with commuter traffic. DANCE is a holistic solution built for the person interested in saving time, the environment and staying healthy.“
DANCE’s frictionless subscription model includes a fully assembled, state of the art e-bike delivered to your door within 24 hours. As part of its all-inclusive services, maintenance and theft replacement insurance is included. Customers’ mobile devices become powerful digital bike dashboards through DANCE’s app, offering easily understood concierge services, GPS location tracking and frictionless unlocking capabilities for worry-free ease of use.
“The mobility market is seeing a huge shift towards bikes, strongly fueled by the paradigm shift of vehicles going electric. Unfortunately, the majority of e-bikes on the market today have some combination of poor design, high upfront costs and cumbersome maintenance,” said Rainer Märkle, General Partner at HV Holtzbrinck Ventures. “We analysed the overall mobility market, evaluated all means of transport, and crunched the numbers on all types of business models for a few years before we found what we were looking for. DANCE is by the far the most viable future of biking, bridging the gap between e-bike ownership and more joyful accessibility to go places.”
DANCE is currently operating the invite-only pilot of its e-bike subscription in Berlin, with plans for a broader launch, expanded accessibility and availability and new cities next year.