VanMoof, the Electric Bike Pioneer, Crashes as Pandemic Puts the Brakes on Sales

VanMoof, Prominent Dutch E-Bike Maker, Faces Bankruptcy as Administrators Weigh Asset Sale and Restructuring Options
VanMoof, the Electric Bike Pioneer, Crashes as Pandemic Puts the Brakes on Sales

VanMoof, the Dutch e-bike maker that experienced a surge in sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, has announced that it has been declared bankrupt. The company, which recently raised €100 million to support its international expansion, filed for protection from creditors last week. The Amsterdam District Court declared the company’s Dutch operations bankrupt on July 17. VanMoof is now under the administration of two administrators who are assessing the situation and exploring options for asset sales, restructuring, and potential continuation of operations.

VanMoof is known for its sleek and minimalist e-bike designs, with the battery integrated into the frame. The company was founded in Amsterdam in 2009 and its bikes have become a common sight on the city’s streets. However, according to Dutch broadcaster NOS, the company faced significant costs for maintaining and repairing bikes under warranty, which impacted its financial performance. Despite this, VanMoof has managed to sell around 200,000 bikes worldwide, with each bike priced at over €2,000.

The bankruptcy announcement has led to a flood of complaints from customers who have either paid for undelivered bikes or have bikes currently being repaired at VanMoof stores, which are now closed. Amsterdam police have confirmed that they are receiving numerous calls from frustrated customers, referring to the situation as “theft.” However, the police clarified that a bankruptcy is a civil dispute and not a criminal matter, therefore they are unable to intervene on behalf of the customers.

In a statement, VanMoof clarified that the bankruptcy only applies to its Dutch operations, and its international subsidiaries are not affected. The company did not provide further comments on the matter. According to NOS, VanMoof’s founders, Taco and Ties Carlier, expressed gratitude towards the company’s employees in an internal email sent to its 700-strong workforce. The email reportedly stated that while they are saddened by the situation, they are also proud of what they have achieved.

As the administrators continue to assess the situation at VanMoof, the future of the company remains uncertain. The possibility of selling assets and restructuring to salvage the business is being explored. VanMoof’s bankruptcy serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by companies, even those that have experienced recent success, during these uncertain times.