Electric bikes are a more and more popular mode of urban transport, the ones from MATE are also a way to stand out from the crowd and emphasise your individualism. We talk to Christian, founder of MATE, who dreamed to create a bike that will be not only “smart” but also affordable for anyone. In 2016 Christian launched a campaign on IndieGoGo (a crowdfunding platform) and its results were beyond his wildest dreams – he collected $6.5 m. and today his MATE is one of the fastest developing start-ups in Denmark. Selling their bikes online directly to customers all over the world, they were able to offer a product from the top shelf for a very reasonable price.
First, we like your bikes very much! MATE Bikes have a very unique design; besides, they are fast and reliable. How much time does it take to create this bike, from the idea to the prototype?
Our first MATE is made by further developing on an already existing frame and then adding high quality components that we felt would be cool and practical.. We worked on prototypes for around two years before launching the initial IndieGoGo campaign. We learned a lot in that process about what works and doesn’t work, but also what looks cool while being practical. A lot of the knowledge we gained from that process has gone into the development and design of our new eBike MATE X, which is designed and built from scratch – but still with components from specialists to ensure state of the art performance.
How did you receive the fact that suddenly and spontaneously people all over the world found your bike exceptional and helped achieve its unprecedented success?
We were definitely overwhelmed – not in our wildest dreams did we anticipate that level of immediate success. We had calculated and geared our business for a few//some hundred orders, but suddenly thousands of orders ticked in and that actually caused some challenges regarding production and logistics.
What do you feel when you see a photo of MATE BIKES somewhere on the other side of the world? Is there a place that particularly surprised you?
It’s a heartwarming feeling. For us it started as a passionate project focused on fun bike riding and developing a sustainable alternative to cars and CO2 emitting transportation in general. So to see how people from all over the world are inspired and embracing this vision is fantastic. From Tokyo and New York to tropical islands and festivals like Burning Man, the joy of riding our cool looking eBike is spreading. It’s truly becoming a community of good MATEs. Our customers have told us how they have experienced MATE bike riders waving to each other, almost like a code of conduct.
MATE BIKES are so universal that they are used both by teenagers and serious businessmen. They also can be folded and packed into a really small car boot. Are these features responsible for the success of electric MATE Bikes or maybe it is more about specifications – range, speed, accessories?
The broad range of buyers is actually the answer to that question. Some buy it for the practical folding features and cool design, some buy it for the smooth and easy ride and others again buy it because of the fun gadgetgy technical specifications. That’s also why the bikes have been featured in everything from tech/gadget media to womens magazines and business media. Everyone can find something on a MATE, that fits their needs for affordable and environmental friendly transportation.
I have seen the MATE X campaign on a crowdfunding platform – congratulations! That will be another great success. Does it mean that the owners of MATE CITY, MATE CITY+ and MATE S are going to change the model to a new one? Are they completely new supporters?
Thank you, we are really excited about the huge succes of our new MATE X. This is a completely newly developed MATE – it’s more extreme and can handle tough terrain and go places you can’t go on a regular (e?)bike. It won’t be replacing our original models – whcih is a mcuh smaller and alows you an agile city ride – it broadens our product range. For us MATE and MATE X gives you two completely different riding experiences(ud: aimed more at city transportation). We view the MATE bike and MATE X as two different products but with the common vision of fun and coolness. (our slogan for both mates is “any rider, any journey any situation”). The original MATE bike is made for city cruising, easy riding down the promenade and effortless commuting. MATE X is for adventuring beyond the beaten path and explore places you wouldn’t normally go on a bike. But you can still use MATE X for everyday commuting. That kind of flexibility is very important for us.
Thank you for the interview!
We keep our fingers crossed for further successes, we will carefully watch the further development of MATE Bikes.
More about IndieGoGo campaign: MATE.Bike
Images © MATE Bike