In a context marked by an unprecedented economic crisis, VanMoof is facing significant financial difficulties. This critical situation has many consequences, especially for users of VanMoof bikes who, depending on the company’s services and application. It is in this troubled context that Cowboy, a competing Belgian startup, comes into play, offering an alternative solution to help users continue to use their bikes.
VanMoof, the Dutch e-bike brand, is going through a tough time right now. The firm has been in the spotlight for a few weeks, but not for good reasons. Indeed, VanMoof is facing rumors of growing financial difficulties, having even halted sales in several countries.
On July 12, the situation was confirmed: the firm is in default of payment. She had to request a payment deferral from the Amsterdam court, a step which, according to RTL, could be the “prelude to bankruptcy”. This situation has led to the closure of points of sale in around twenty European cities, including Paris, as well as their repair workshops.
But this crisis also has consequences for current VanMoof customers. Indeed, the brand’s electric bikes are connected, depending on the company’s services and application. If the brand disappears, these bikes could become inoperative. The application, which is essential for starting the bike, would probably no longer be updated and would stop working after a while.
Cowboy to the rescue of VanMoof
It is in this context that Cowboy, a Belgian start-up competitor of VanMoof, intervenes. Sharing a philosophy and a concept comparable to VanMoof, Cowboy is however not there to save its competitor. No, the company has chosen to turn to VanMoof users, offering an alternative solution to continue using their bike.
Cowboy thus urgently developed an application, named BiKey App. This allows users to unlock their bike even if VanMoof’s servers become unreachable. A welcomed initiative, even if it is probably motivated by interests.
Cowboy explains that this application was developed during a “ one day hackathon “, because they ” share the belief that every bike deserves to be on the road “.
Be careful however, this application remains in beta state for the moment, and is only compatible with the VanMoof S3 and X3. The company is trying to make it compatible with the VanMoof A5 and S5.
While VanMoof’s fate remains uncertain, it’s heartening to see the e-bike community rallying together. VanMoof’s case, however, raises questions about the dependence of technology products on their manufacturers and their services, a recurring debate in tech.