Deeptech startup Classified Cycling has raised €22 million in a new funding round, scoring the backing of high-profile athletes in the sport. The Belgian startup is using tech to shake up the cycling industry, enhancing the riding experience and now plans to expand into the growing e-bike market.
The cycling industry is levelling up. With more people taking to cycling as a healthier and more eco-friendly mode of transport, it’s a space that is now starting to benefit from tech-enabled enhancements.
Deeptech startup Classified Cycling is one of the leaders in this space, bringing tech to the cycling industry. The startup has been using tech to enhance the riding experience and now wants to tap into the growing appetite for e-bikes. It has just raised fresh funds to ramp up the plans.
- €22 million was raised in a round led by Active Partners with Bridford Investments Limited also participating
- Olympic and World Champion riders, Tom Boonen, Anna Van der Breggen, Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel are backing the company
- Nick Evans, Managing Partner at Active Partners, Chairman of Rapha and former Executive Chairman of Evans Cycles, will join the Classified board.
Tom Boonen, Former Cycling World Champion and Classified investor and ambassador added: “As a professional rider, I was always in search of cutting-edge technology. When I met the Classified Team, I was so amazed by their innovative products that I decided to invest in the company, not only for their technology but also for their drive to shake up the industry, and this beyond race bikes. I am thrilled to be a part of Classified’s journey and look forward to continuing to support them.”
Disrupting the cycling industry
Founded in 2019 by Mathias Plouvier and Roëll van Druten, Classified aims to create drivetrain products that transform the riding experience and performance of all cyclists.
The startup has developed Powershift technology, a patented wireless shifting system that aims to provide the ultimate shifting experience by allowing riders to change gears instantly while under full load – something not possible with current products on the market. With this technology, the efficiency and simplicity of a bike’s transmission is enhanced, making it more like a gear system found in a car.
The first application of Classified’s technology, the Powershift hub, is a transmission system integrated into the rear wheel that replaces the front derailleur (the component that moves the chain from one chain ring to the other when changing gears).
The cycling industry has enjoyed rapid growth over recent years, but real technological progress and development has been slow compared with the automotive industry. Drivetrain and transmission systems, in particular, the components of a bike that transfer power to the wheels, are an area ready for new technology, and Classified wants to pave the way forward.
Mathias Plouvier, Co-Founder and CEO at Classified said: “We have developed technology unseen in the cycling industry, taking rider experience to the next level. We use ground-breaking innovation to push the boundaries of what is possible on the bike. Particularly shifting under load and improving efficiency are features required for ultimate performance and the next generation of e-mobility. With this new investment and an appetite for disrupting the cycling industry we are well equipped to take our technology to riders around the world.”
Since its launch in 2021, the Powershift hub has gotten approval from elite cyclists, with four cycling legends investing in Classified and acting as brand ambassadors. The product is approved by the official body of cycling, the UCI, for use in competition and the first victories in professional racing have already been achieved. Classified’s first product, the Powershift hub was awarded the Eurobike Gold Award and the Design & Innovation Award in 2021, both benchmark achievements presented to the bike industry’s most forward-looking and highest-performing products.
Born in Antwerp, Classified is already in partnership with over 40 brands, and the Powershift hub is available through more than 25 distributors and 300 dealers in key markets. The new investment will be used to strengthen business development, with a strong focus on the US and Europe. Classified will also expand into the e-bike market, leveraging its Powershift technology to make a lighter, more durable and efficient transmission for electric bikes, making their deep tech products available to more riders globally.
Nick Evans, Managing Partner at Active Partners said: “Classified is disrupting the bike and e-bike markets with a genuinely differentiated and innovative product that radically improves the riding experience for all cyclists. Ride it once and you will feel the difference! We are excited by Mathias and Roëll’s vision to transform the future of cycling and look forward to helping the team to accelerate their product development, invest in the Classified brand and distribution, build strategic partnerships and accelerate the widespread adoption of their technology by the industry and riders around the world.”