Wellington Electric bike company successfully closes $500k investment round
In a win for the EV movement (and the environment), Wellington electric bike company FTN Motion recently closed a successful $500k investment round, attracting significant international interest.
The idea behind electric bike company FTN Motion was born in gridlock traffic. Having just traversed the Te Araroa trail, a 3,000km route stretching from Cape Reinga to Bluff, co-founders and engineers Luke and Kendall returned to the stark reality of traffic jams and hours commuting each day.
Thinking there had to be more to life than spending it in Auckland traffic, Luke Sinclair and Kendall Bristow tinkered away to find an alternative transport method during their commutes, starting with a ‘prototype’ pushbike with strapped on batteries.
This model evolved into the Founder’s Series Streetdog, a fully electric bike with a removable battery, weighing 62 kilograms, going up to 50km/hr at top speed for both commuting and exploring, with a 100km range. Even better, the bike holds up to 30 litres of storage, making it the perfect vessel for transporting six six-packs of beer and 15 two-litre milk bottles.
The idea is you plug in the Founder’s Series Streetdog battery for charging at night, right next to your phone. And in the morning, it’s good to go. Is this the pinnacle of carefree Kiwi living?
The Founder’s Series Streetdog is classified as a moped in New Zealand, so you need a driver’s license to ride the bike. Described as “beautiful, stress-free and minimal”, FTN Motion says it’s an electric bike that genuinely competes with petrol models.
Undoubtedly, a local trend in purchasing electric will only increase, with the New Zealand government getting behind the cause, building a fully electric government fleet last December. And as we already know, we are in a critical phase of climate change. Cutting down oil and petrol reliance is vital to conserve the earth for future generations.
And with more investment in the EV space, this will eventually mean a bigger and better selection for New Zealanders. We’ve already seen this in the car industry with Tesla paving the way, and the likes of Volvo following suit with beautifully designed and highly desirable electric vehicles.
FTN Motion’s initial beta launch quickly sold out purely by word-of-mouth. Initially, with no money to spend on advertising, as Sinclair explains, “we hit the streets and just showed the bike off! It was great to get so much traction without spending any money. It really helped prove we were onto something. People just love the design and there’s nothing out there like it!”
And after pitching the unique electric motorbikes to key private investors and angels clubs up and down New Zealand, FTN Motion closed a recent successful investment round of NZD 500,000, oversubscribed by at least $60K.
This initial investment will be used by FTN Motion for R&D to bring the existing Streetdog prototype model to a full certifiable model, make the start-up’s first key hires, and develop ten Beta units to sell to Wellington-based businesses in July 2021.
FTN Motion has also launched a limited early adopter sale of 100 Founder’s Series Streetdog bikes (with over 80 sold at the time of this article) to be produced by the end of 2021.
But that’s not all; Bristow and Sinclair have also brought on Saskia Thornton to direct global expansion, having 11 years of experience developing international brands and products. Thornton was the founder of the Mad Millie cheesemaking kits and led the development of the market-disrupting Grainfather brand, which introduced the first affordable at-home electric brewing system to the world. She currently lives in Amsterdam, where she’s fully immersed herself in a world of bike and moped culture.
Thornton says, “being all new to the world of raising money, we learnt a lot about capital raising and the value of having some market validation as early as possible to get investors over the line faster.”
In the spirit of Kiwi ingenuity, FTN Motion’s bikes will eventually offer a unique opportunity for customisation: the bikes bodies becoming blank canvases ready for personalisation for customers and brands. It’s a new way of thinking about what a motorbike can be by turning bikes into stunning works of art while also providing an exciting and fresh marketing opportunity for local businesses. They are currently negotiating with some of New Zealand’s most iconic brands and renowned local and international artists.
Find out more at ftnmotion.com.