AMSTERDAM (AP) – Dutch bike maker VanMoof has declared bankruptcy and won a design award for its stylish, minimalist e-bike as it tries to keep up with surging demand and fix glitches in the app that underpins the service. The brakes have been applied to companies that were struggling.
The Amsterdam-based company, founded in 2009 by brothers Tako and Taiz Karlier, posted a statement on its website informing customers that a court in Amsterdam declared VanMoof bankrupt on Monday.
Its headquarters in Amsterdam were closed on Tuesday. One man parked his VanMoof outside a building to take a picture of his bike with the company logo in the background.
It remains unclear how the Dutch bankruptcy will affect the company’s international operations. According to VanMoof’s website, VanMoof sells bicycles online and has branded stores in more than 20 cities around the world, including New York, San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo.
The company has sold about 200,000 bicycles so far. The company promises to make its bikes virtually theft-proof with digital locks, built-in alarms and GPS tracking, and if VanMoof is stolen, the company will either track it down within two weeks or Promise to replace.
“We are still investigating and understanding the impact of the bankruptcy of the Dutch entity on other entities. Our intention is to continue operating these entities as normal,” the company said in a statement. “If we have any news regarding this matter, we will share it.”
The company noticed a surge in demand for its bicycles during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to delays in deliveries. Since the company uses many of its own parts in the manufacture of its bicycles, the usual bicycle shops and repair shops in almost every town and village in Holland cannot easily fix the bicycle if it breaks down.
VanMoof bikes rely on their own smartphone app for many functions, including the primary means of unlocking with a digital ‘key’. While it is possible to manually unlock the bike without using the app, the owner faces severe restrictions on what they can do.
But bankruptcy may not be the end for a company that has turned a traditional Dutch mode of transportation into a lifestyle statement around the world.
“The Trustees are currently preparing a process for the sale of VanMoof’s assets and activities in order to find parties willing to continue VanMoof’s activities,” the company said.
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