German startup Dance is launching its subscription service in its hometown of Berlin. For a monthly fee of € 79 (around $ 93 at today’s exchange rate), users will get a bespoke electric bike along with access to on-demand repair and maintenance service.
Founded by the former founders of SoundCloud and Jimdo, the company managed to raise significant funds before launching its service. BlueYard led the startup’s round of funding while HV Capital (formerly known as HV Holtzbrinck Ventures) led Dance’s € 15 million Series A round, which was worth $ 17.7 million to the time.
The reason Dance needed so much capital is that the company designed their own electric bike in-house. Called Dance One, it has an aluminum frame and weighs around 22 kg (48.5 lbs). It has a single speed and it relies on its electric motor to help you go from 0 to 25 km / h.
And the best part is that you can remove the lithium battery and plug it in at home, something that VanMoof e-bikes are sorely lacking. This way you don’t have to carry your whole bike up the stairs. People living in apartments will appreciate this feature. Users can expect to recharge the battery after driving 55 km.
The Dance One uses a carbon belt so that it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. On the front of the bike there is a built-in smartphone holder which should be compatible with popular cases designed for this type of holder. You can control the level of electric assistance with the buttons on the handlebars. There are three different modes: high assist, low assist, or no assist at all.
The bike comes with front and rear lights which you can also activate with a button. As for the brakes, Dance has opted for hydraulic discs. You can optionally add a basket or saddle bags to the back of the bike.
Like other popular electric bikes from VanMoof or Cowboy, you can lock and unlock the dance bike from a mobile app. The company has integrated GPS and Bluetooth chips into the frame of the bike. Of course, you should also use a traditional lock in addition to the smart lock.
On paper, it looks like a nice electric bike for city rides. Users will have to pay € 79 per month to have access to a bicycle. There is no time commitment or upfront cost. If you want to subscribe just for the summer, you can do that. If you have a problem with your bike, the company will send a mechanic to fix it for you.
Dance has tested the service with hundreds of beta users and “thousands” of bikes are now available for new users. While the company is focused on Berlin for now, it plans to expand to other German and European cities in the future.
Dance will compete with a handful of other services across Europe, such as Swapfiets or Véligo in Paris. It will also be in indirect competition with shared bikes on demand, such as Lime and all the different public-private bike sharing services run by cities in Europe. And of course, some people will end up buying their own electric bike.
But Dance seems like a well-designed offering with a nice bike and a lot of flexibility for the end user. I’m sure the startup will have no problem finding clients looking for a seamless end-to-end experience.