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Photo: Vok Bikes founders
Tallinn-based startup Vok Bikes has raised €3.8 million in a seed round from SmartCap, Jaan Tallinn’s Metaplanet, Specialist VC, Sunly, a list of angel investors, and a €300K grant from Enterprise Estonia. The startup designs and manufactures innovative electric bicycles with advanced technology, aiming to revolutionize urban commuting and provide a sustainable transportation solution. With this substantial funding, Vok Bikes plans to expedite the expansion of its electric cargo bike fleets across various European regions, solidifying its position as the industry’s foremost technology leader.
“SmartCap Green Fund, established in 2022, focuses on fostering investments into startups whose activities help to solve environmental problems and achieve the set climate goals,” said Sille Pettai, Fund Manager and Member of the Board of SmartCap. “Vok Bikes clearly contributes to solving environmental problems with the development of cargo bikes, particularly in the transportation sector as cargo volumes are increasing and there is need for new solutions due to changed market demand and purchasing practices. Therefore, it is a logical step for us to contribute to innovation in the transportation sector and participate in the current seed round”.
As local governments strive towards carbon neutrality and implement measures like congestion charges and parking costs to promote sustainability, companies across diverse industries, including food and parcel delivery, property management, maintenance and repair services, are increasingly adopting cargo bikes. While the electric bike market is under heavy scrutiny, the electric cargo bike market – worth over 1,2 billion euros in Europe – is on a steady growth path. In Europe, the B2B cargo bike market grew by more than 100% in 2022 and Germany alone saw 200,000 cargo bikes released to the market last year.
Indrek Petjärv, Vok Bikes co-founder and CEO explains, “Our bikes enable trips with 24 times fewer CO2 emissions, 5 times lower kilometre cost, and are simply 60% faster compared to cars in urban settings. We are happy to serve customers in cities across Europe – from London to Munich and Amsterdam to Stockholm – many of whom have been with us for years, including Wolt, Donkey Republic, Mathem, Foodora, and Estonia’s postal service Omniva. It is a testament that Vok bikes are reliable and operationally efficient.
Vok Bikes recently launched a new model with five times the cargo space in the UK, entering a new customer segment of multinational freight companies and large-scale e-commerce businesses. With the support of the new funding and with first set of deliveries already underway in the new client segment, Vok Bikes is on track to release 1000 more cargo bikes across Europe in the next year.
Vok Bikes’ bold take on custom developments has set the company apart from its competitors. While industry incumbents often use off-the-shelf parts to build bikes for the average consumer, Vok Bikes is heavily focused on custom developments from batteries to the brake system. The company has recently significantly reduced the total cost of ownership (TCO), bringing the maintenance interval down to once a quarter, compared to the 3-4 week intervals more commonly seen in the industry.
Created by a team of former Student Formula engineers, Vok bikes are the safest cargo bikes on the market with their unique electronic driving aids. Vok Bikes has introduced new features to the micro-mobility sector, which is increasingly concerned with the safety of couriers, such as ABS braking system and traction control.
The investment of SmartCap Green Fund was funded by the resources of the European Union’s recovery plan – NextGenerationEU.