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VanMoof, the e-bike startup, has officially declared bankruptcy in the Netherlands

VanMoof, the e-bike startup, has officially declared bankruptcy in the Netherlands

Image credits: Fan Move

Another bleak stage for Fan Move, the e-bike startup backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital. After a last-hour effort to stave off bankruptcy last week, the Amsterdam court made the move to officially declare the company’s Dutch legal entities VanMoof Global Holding BV, VanMoof BV and VanMoof Global Support BV insolvent. The court has now appointed two trustees to explore selling the assets to a third party to keep VanMoof running.

Legal entities outside the Netherlands are part of the group, but they do not participate in these procedures. From what we understand, stores in San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Tokyo remain open, but the rest of their stores are closed. The company has a few more details on how to unlock a bike you already own (to make it usable without the app, in case that stops working), status of repairs (discontinued), status of refunds (paused now, and it’s unclear how, when and if was to be implemented), and information for suppliers in a Frequently asked questions about her current status here.

Here is the full statement from the company provided to TechCrunch:

On July 17, 2023, the Amsterdam Court withdrew the suspension of payment procedures for Dutch legal entities VanMoof Global Holding BV, VanMoof BV and VanMoof Global Support BV and declared these entities bankrupt.

Directors Mr. Padberg and Mr. De Witt were appointed as trustees. The trustees continue to assess the situation at VanMoof and are investigating possibilities of re-initiating bankruptcy by selling assets to a third party, so that VanMoof’s activities can continue.

VanMoof legal entities outside the Netherlands are not subject to insolvency proceedings.

There will be no further comments at this time.

The development process ends in a very difficult two weeks for the Dutch startup. At the beginning of last week, we reported how the company paused sales, initially claiming that technical difficulties were the cause, and then later claiming that the pause was intentional, to catch up on production and orders.

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Meanwhile, an increasingly irate customer base took to social media to complain about the quality of the bikes, after-sales care and more. All of this was done against the backdrop of a company burning through its cash reserves and struggling to raise more money to avoid bankruptcy and pay its bills.

Before the week was over, the company was in court requesting an official suspension of the payment provision to defer payment of bills while it restructures its finances under the supervision of officials.

The purpose of this ruling is to try to stave off bankruptcy, give more creditors a chance to get their money back, and keep VanMoof in a better financial position for any steps that come next. It can last up to 18 months, but only if the company has the funds to back it up. It was apparently only a matter of days before the court decided that bankruptcy and the search for a buyer for the assets were the inevitable next steps.

part of the Details provided in the instructionsIt’s not clear now where bankruptcy will leave those who have bought bikes that haven’t been received yet, those whose bikes are being serviced, or what happens if you own a VanMoof bike that breaks down because a custom build means they aren’t fixable by anyone. All of this is definitely a frustrating situation, considering bikes can cost up to $4,000.

But for the current owners who have bikes We are Work, all is not lost. In addition to VanMoof making some efforts to encourage unlocking bikes, we reported on how Cowboy, one of VanMoof’s biggest competitors, wasted no time creating an app to unlock VanMoof bikes—which is important because it can end up in its base state. , as their work is closely related to the use of the VanMoof application, and the VanMoof application may no longer be supported.

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And that points to a troubling prospect for VanMoof and its investors and managers now looking to sell VanMoof: If unit economics of bikes never work out, and an app can be built in one day to unlock those bikes already on the market, why would anyone want to take over the assets of the failed startup?

We’ll update this post as we learn more.