How the company behind Europe’s most successful crowdfunding campaign is set to take the US by storm
The Danish founders of MATE believe that by making eBikes sexy, cool, practical and affordable, they can convince more Americans to bike.
When most people visualize an eBike, they imagine something heavy and outmoded — a vehicle preferred by their grandparents or people with a particular disdain for cycling culture. Danish start-up MATE appears set to change all that, upending the way eBikes are seen and experienced throughout the world.
Julie Kronstrøm and Christian Adel Michael — the Danish siblings behind MATE— have created an eBike that is, they say with pride, “cool, sexy and affordable” all in one go. And, according to them, it seems like a cool eBike was just what the world was missing. Since launching their impressively successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, MATE has received heaps of praise and positive feedback from early backers. And the fact that their campaign is the most successful in European history is a testament to MATE’s quality. The company has gotten extremely good feedback and their crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo is the most successful in European history.
But MATE is more than just a story about two successful entrepreneurs who created an electric bike so cool that it can be used as a fashion statement. It is MATE’s ambition to deliver a mean of transportation that addresses today’s challenges of traffic congestion, climate change and health issues.
Last month, Julie Kronstrøm and Christian Adel Michael were in New York to promote the newest member of the MATE family — the MATE X. #DenmarkInNY met the siblings to chat about what Americans can learn from Danish bike culture and how New Yorkers are warming up eBikes.
DKNY: Can you tell a bit about yourselves and what inspired you to create the MATE?
MB: We couldn’t find an electric bike that was both practical and at the same time looked cool. My sister Julie has worked with sustainable solutions for many years and I have worked with different entrepreneurial projects. Therefore, we decided to take matters into our own hands and create an eBike exactly how we wanted it to be. The more we worked on creating the bike, the more we started to form a vision of engaging today’s challenges of traffic congestion, climate change and health issues.
DKNY: What can Americans learns from the Danish biking culture?
MB: In Denmark, almost everyone owns a bicycle and many use it for daily commuting. It’s not just a mode of transportation, it is a symbol of freedom to move around easily. We know the car is the same symbol to many Americans, but biking adds the elements of being cheap, healthy and good for the environment. We believe that by making eBikes sexy, cool, practical and affordable, more Americans will take on bicycling.
DKNY: Your Indiegogo campaign is the most successful in European history and one of the most successful in the world. What is it about the MATE X that attracts so many people that want to back the project? And how is it different from other e-bikes on the market?
MB: We have created an eBike, which is both affordable, fun and good looking. There are other eBikes on the market that has one or the other quality. But we have managed to combine them all into one. Another major part of our success is how much we have focused on our relationship with the backers. They are very important to us and we constantly engage with them both online and in real life. Many of the changes made on the MATE X are the direct result of feedback and suggestions from our backers. We are not just another faceless company you buy a product from. You buy into a community which helps you, gives you tips and tricks and shares experiences from their rides.
DKNY: What has been New York’s reaction to the MATE X?
MB: It turns heads wherever you go. Our recent meet n’ greet with backers in New York gave us overwhelmingly positive feedback. It was an amazing experience to meet some of our backers, who we got a chance to speak with, just as they had the chance to try the biking experience they have bought into.
DKNY: You already made two extremely popular campaigns on Indiegogo, and launched two different versions of the attractive eBike. What are your ambitions for MATE in the future?
MB: Right now our top priority is to produce and deliver more than 10,000 units of MATE X to our backers from all around the globe. In the future, we will obviously expand our product portfolio with bikes that suits other needs. In general, we see a huge potential in making bikes “smart” — similar to cars such as the Tesla. We want to continue the green revolution and at the same time grow our business significantly in the years to come.