Paris-based Upway, a company building a marketplace for reconditioned e-bikes to make electric mobility affordable and to reduce waste, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $25M (approximately €23.33M) in a Series A round of funding.
The round was co-led by US-based Sequoia Capital, and Exor Seeds, the venture arm of Exor.
Upway’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of electric mobility at this time of massive awareness about environmental issues. The latest funds come after the French company raised €5M in November, 2021, from Sequoia Capital and Global Founders Capital.
Investors supporting this round
Sequoia Capital is known for its investments in Google, DoorDash and Airbnb. Exor Seeds is the controlling shareholder of Ferrari, Stellantis and Juventus.
US-based VC Origins also participated in the round. It is a fund co-founded by internationally renowned football player Blaise Matuidi, and invests in consumer technology companies. Origins leverages its investor network to benefit its portfolio companies by bringing together about fifty high-level athletes, including Olivier Giroud, Paulo Dybala, N’golo Kanté, and Antoine Dupont, among others. Together, these athletes represent a total community of more than 160 million fans.
Existing investors Global Founders Capital, and key business angels in the mobility sector such as Henri Moissinac, CEO and co-founder of Dott and Moving Capital (Uber Alumni Investment Club), also participated in the round.
Funds to expand internationally
Upway has witnessed the growth of its electric bike sales by 60 per cent, which has led the company to double the size of its team and expand across Europe by launching in Belgium in March. With this new capital, the company now plans to launch its services in Germany, the Netherlands, and the US by the end of 2022.
The company is also gearing up to strengthen its team by recruiting 15 people to operate three warehouses, as well as develop new partnerships with e-bike rental companies and retail stores.
CEO and co-founder of Upway, Toussaint Wattinne, says, “Having opened in Belgium with 500 refurbished e-bikes available for resale, we’ve had an amazing response as many Belgians care deeply about eco-responsibility. This rapid adoption is driving us to continue our expansion through Europe, and even across the Atlantic where we are seeing a tremendous increase in sales of e-bikes so much so that the US could be well on their way to catching up with Europe, which has been ahead of the curve.”
Clearing blockages on electric mobility
Upway was founded in 2021 by Toussaint Wattinne and Stephane Ficaja, former executives of Uber and Uber Eats in Europe and North America.
According to Upway, the electric bike market recorded a 28 per cent increase in 2021 in France, representing nearly 60 per cent of sales revenue in the total bike market (€1.3B). Today, nearly one in four bicycles sold in France is an electric bike. However, people still have a number of obstacles stopping them from buying electric bikes – high prices of €2,000 on average, a supply shortage leading to delivery delays, and concerns about the condition of the battery in second-hand models.
To tackle such problems and meet the demand from consumers to find eco-friendly ways to travel, Upway launched the first platform dedicated to the reconditioning and resale of electric bikes with industry standards and a one-year warranty.
The strength of Upway’s service is in its ability to provide high-quality electric bikes. Each bike undergoes a 20-point inspection and is reconditioned to professional standards. Located in Gennevilliers near Paris, the Upway warehouse houses a team of professional repair staff who ensure the quality of the bikes, which are put back on the market for a price 20 to 50 per cent lower than a new product.