Sales of VanMoof e-bikes have now been “paused” for almost two weeks. The firm says this is – or at least has become – a deliberate move to allow it to “catch up on delivery and production”. However, after reportedly failing to secure the funding it was looking for back in January, there are rumours that all is not well with reports of several executive departures.
At the start of the year, VanMoof admitted there were doubts "about the company's ability to continue its activities beyond the first quarter of 2023" unless further investment was secured.
The company’s request was reportedly in the €10-40m range. However, Tech Crunch reports that its last funding was a $5.23m debt round from TriplePoint Capital in the US (around €4.75m).
Then, late last month, the VanMoof ordering system went down. Anyone trying to buy a bike was informed: “Unscheduled system maintenance: We’re unable to accept new bike or accessory orders right now. Apologies for any inconvenience caused, our team is on it. Sign up to be notified once we’re back up and riding again.”
On June 26, the VanMoof Twitter account added: “Our VanMoof app currently has a bug which is not making it possible to book an appointment through the app. You can still book an appointment via your MyVanMoof account. Our teams are working on getting the app back up and running as soon as possible.”
At the time of writing, the VanMoof website informs any would-be buyers: “We have temporarily paused sales to catch up on the production and delivery of existing orders. Rest assured – this has no effect on servicing.”
A spokesperson told Tech Crunch: “We have paused sales since this weekend. What started as a minor IT issue had an unexpected upside. Both the SX4 and the SA5 have proven to be very popular product lines — and proactively pausing sales will give us an opportunity to catch up on delivery and production of existing orders.”
The company didn’t respond when asked why it was behind, by how much, and when sales might recommence.
Co-founder Taco Carlier has reportedly stepped down as VanMoof CEO, while Gillian Tans, who took on the role of company president in May, has left the company.
In September 2021, VanMoof titled itself “the most funded e-bike company in the world” after securing $182m (£132m) in investment from Tans, Hillhouse Investment, Norwest Venture Partners, Felix Capital, Balderton Capital and TriplePoint Capital.
Servicing has been one major cost. Dutch financial newspaper FD reported that around one in 10 VanMoof e-bikes is returned to the shop within a year.
This is in large part due to widespread use of proprietary tech which makes DIY repairs unusually difficult. The FD report showed that VanMoof earmarked £7m for warranties and repairs in 2021.