Dutch startup Bolt Mobility has set out to develop a vehicle, the Appscooter, that it bills as “a Tesla and iPhone on two wheels”. Like many other startups, the idea for the company was born out of a personal experience of its founder. In this case, co-founder Marijn Flipse wanted to purchase a moped while completing his studies, but was reluctant because the options available were typically smelly, loud, slow, and not particularly energy-efficient. He therefore looked into electric alternatives, but didn’t find intriguing options there, either. Considering his past work fixing up old scooters and academic background as an engineer, Flipse then decided to team up with serial entrepreneur Bart Jacobsz Rosier to build his own.
Bolt Mobility says that they have designed the vehicle with an aerospace-grade composite frame, ostensibly making it lighter and more efficient, and which uses the same battery cells used in Tesla automobiles, which enables it to reportedly travel more than 150km on a single charge. The startup highlights the scooter’s ability to go from 0 to 45 k/h in 3.9 seconds, but the real attraction is the apps, as they have created a dashboard that uses 4G and WiFi to enable riders to access apps for maps, music, messaging, and other services.
The Appscooter is currently available for pre-order 2,990 Euro or 3,490 Euro, depending on the design options that customers choose. In addition to the price of the bike, customers are expected to shell out 29 Euro per month for the battery, WiFi, GPS, and repairs.
At the moment, the scooter can only be pre-ordered by customers in The Netherlands, London, Rome, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, or Berlin. Customers from The Netherlands who have already ordered one will likely not have to wait long in order to receive it, as the first group is due to ship in spring 2016, while the second will roll out in the summer. But, customers from the other locations will have to wait, as the startup reports that the first batch for non-Dutch locations will ship in autumn 2016 and the second will be delivered later next year or possibly even in 2017. To date, the startup reports that more than 70 customers have submitted pre-orders.
In order to fund the project, the co-founders have turned to crowdfunding investment platform Leapfunder in search of 1.3 million Euro. The startup initially sought 300K Euro, but cleared that hurdle easily and are now up to 530K from 23 investors with another 8 days to go. When I asked why they have chosen this route in order to fund the project, the startup told me that it represents a more flexible financing option, as the company will receive the money faster and the investors will either have his loan repaid, with interest, or have a solid discount on equity in the next round.