Launched 5 years ago, this connected electric bike company is a hit in Europe and the USA. If you wonder why, home trials are possible in 80 cities in Europe. Recently, the team of 150 employees raised more than $80 million during a fundraiser.
General presentation of the start-up
What is Cowboy?
Cowboy is the Brussels start-up that designs urban, electric and connected bikes.
Happy winner of first prize at the Eurobike show and a Red Dot award, international prize which specially rewarded the innovative design of their bike, Cowboy is attacking the market with a double award-winning electric bike, even before its release.
The company is driven by a strong ambition: to popularize the urban electric bike thanks to a high-end finish and an ultra-competitive price.
Who is hiding behind Cowboy?
It was in 2017 that a trio of young entrepreneurs, Adrien Roose, Karim Slaoui and Tanguy Goretti, who had already proven themselves at Take Eat Easy and Djump, came together to create the DNVB du vélo: Cowboy, a bicycle entirely designed to attract an urban audience that does not yet consider the electric bike as a means of transport in its own right.
Starting from the observation that our way of moving is in full transformation and that electronic components have become more economical, light and efficient, Cowboy redefines the rules of the sector by creating its own category.
The concept pleases, which allows them to be backed by renowned investors such as Kima Ventures, Index Ventures, Francis Nappez (BlaBlaCar), Bertrand Jelensperger (LaFourchette), as well as the Agnelli family (via its holding company Exor) for a total of 23 million euros in fundraising.
The key to the success of this connected electric bike
The first question we can ask ourselves in the face of this undisputed success is “why?”. What more can this electric bike have than the others? That’s what we asked Tanguy Goretti, the brand’s co-founder.
An unmistakable design
For him, the key to Cowboy’s success is its design. Indeed, the components of the electric bike are developed by the company itself. As a result, they are integrated more cleanly into the frame and allow the production of a bike with a clean design.
It’s a bike that “makes you turn around in the street”.
A bike connected by Bluetooth to your phone
“Simplicity is at the heart of using this bike”. The bike is connected via Bluetooth to the phone. You can thus benefit from information on the status of the battery or advice on whether to take a charger for the journey – or not.
Assistance is therefore completely automatic, to our delight. As Tanguy Goretti explains to us, there are “no buttons or gears”. The effort is calculated and the assistance developed according to the use of the cyclist.
Outstanding services for the market
Other services are available on the Cowboy bike and its application. Theft detection (notifications on the phone), accident (emergency messages) or GPS functionality, a bit like for Tesla.
In addition, you can directly purchase the insurance in the app. Need to make an appointment for maintenance or repair at home? It’s easy, and everything happens centrally. It’s the same system as Tesla”.
The repairer then travels to the office or home in less than 72 hours. It is this kind of service that allows complete peace of mind for Cowboy customers. Without forgetting the accessories offered by the brand…
A remarkable novelty on the electric bicycle market
Cowboy, a brand present throughout the value chain
Before Cowboy came along, the bike industry was fragmented. That is to say that the traditional brands draw the frame of the bike and then buy the parts from their partners. And this operation is remained unchanged, including after the electric revolution.
The added value of the brand is therefore located on 1) the design of the product and 2) on its distribution. Usually, the contact is quite brief or even non-existent between the brands of bicycles and their customers. Gold, Cowboy personally takes care of the design of the bike, its sale, as well as the after-sales service.
A rise in the cost of raw materials which complicates things
As Tanguy Goretti confirms, inflation has had a “direct impact on the selling price”. They don’t have unwilling to compromise on quality, which is necessarily felt.
The rest of the market also saw an increase in the selling price, of 10 to 20% depending on the brand. The war in Ukraine contributes to fueling uncertainties…
During the health crisis, demand exploded. Unfortunately, the brand could not keep up with this impressive demand. Especially since their partners were closing the factories. So we had to adapt, the co-founder tells us.
“Today we are in a better situation than two years ago, we have more options ahead of us”. And what options! Several tens of thousands of Cowboy bikes are now circulating on the streets of major European cities.
What are the next steps for this winner?
The brand will open a store in Paris and Berlin. Besides their opening party in this town is this Thursday ! Some of you may be among those lucky ones who were able to get there…
The idea is therefore for Cowboy to invest and develop new products, while catching up on its production delays. There will be again stock from the beginning of June, which is “great news for us”!
Besides, do not hesitate to check their store: cowboy.com! It covers the basic needs of their customers. You will find there: helmets, baby seats, bicycle crutches, branded bags or Kway, …
The key points of the interview with Tanguy Goretti, co-founder of Cowboy
- Break into an ultra-competitive sector.
- Raise 23 million euros when we make product
- Make 95% of direct consumer sales!
- Build technological barriers to entry.
And if you want to reproduce this success story: here is Tanguy Goretti’s advice. It’s necessary surround yourself well, including experts in the field you are targeting. The goal is to “learn what you don’t already know”. To do this, he recommended the HardwareClub, a Paris-based network for budding entrepreneurs from Tesla Magazine.
Find other Cowboy news on Tesla Mag