Just before the lockdown and the arrival of the spring, the Bulgarian e-bikes company Eljoy closed its first significant investment. Led by Vladimir Davchev, who recently sold his business to Takeaway.com, with the participation of Eleven Ventures, business angels Svetozar Georgiev and Todor Breshkov, the €630K round is aimed at expanding production capacity and entering new markets.
“My investment in Eljoy corresponds to my personal and professional priorities. It’s all about introducing products and services that bring about positive change to consumers, businesses, and Earth. Eljoy is an iconic electric bike platform that does just that. It provides a cheaper, faster, cleaner and funnier way to commute and move around in the 21st century,” says Vladimir Davtchev, who exited his food delivery business BGMenu to the Dutch giant Takeaway.com two years ago in a €10.5M deal. Electric bicycles are widely used for urban deliveries in many European countries, and as the food delivery business is rapidly growing across markets, this opens up vast opportunities, reads the official announcement.
“The raised capital is aimed to increase the production capacity and to accelerate the technological development of the product. Market expansion is also part of our future goals,” said Galin Bonev, founder of Eljoy. The deal was closed already in February but was announced just now.
Developed from a scratch
The team behind Eljoy bikes started working on the product some five years ago. The initial idea was to build an electric bicycle that could “climb a hill with ease”. And so it went. The team of co-founders Galin Bonev and Alexander Mihailov started from a scratch. In 2017, they received a funding of €112K from CleanTech Bulgaria to create, validate and develop the core components of its business.
Six different models, from which three are currently on the market, and a client base all over Europe, the Varna-based company picks up its first significant investment of €630K. Today, the Eljoy electric bicycle is a commuting and recreational vehicle, powered by an in-house developed battery that is using the exact same cells integrated into the Tesla cars. The premium model sold at a price of €1735 reached a speed of 25 km/h, 142 km with one charge, and weighs 22 kg.
“The e-bike is the biggest revolution since inventing the bicycle as it marvelously reinforces the riding feeling, the occasions and the places you get to with the bike. Being part of this revolution is truly exciting” shares Svetozar Georgiev. He adds that the success of the company is rooted not only in the innovative product but also in the good team. For instance, Eljoy’s partners include the renowned product designer Ilian Milinov, who has won dozens of international awards for design, including four Red Dot awards. Alongside Bulgaria and Romania, which are the strongest markets for the company, Eljoy’s products have been sold in several countries, including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain, and the company is planning further expansion to Western Europe and the USA. With the new round, Eljoy is planning to increase its production capacity, currently of 15K vehicles a year.
The team of 17 announced it is also currently developing a new project that will be revealed in the upcoming months. It promises a completely new product that will transform the urban environment. Currently, the company is working both with end-customers offering its product via online store, show-rooms and sports stores, and B2B with corporate clients.
“We have always believed that Bulgaria has considerable strength as a nearshoring destination and we have invested in a few hardware companies with local production. The case with Eljoy is similar. A strong team with an exceptional product on a growing market – a nearly perfect combination for investors” comments Ivaylo Simov, partner at Eleven Ventures.
The last available financial report of the company from 2018 shows it was growing year on year generating around €150K in revenues.
Bulgaria аnd its bicycle and e-mobility ecosystem
Given the context and the ecosystem, the development of a company like Eljoy is not a surprise. Bulgaria is one of the biggest producers of bicycles in Europe while the e-bike segment is the fastest-growing one. Already in 2016, the country, making, at that time, 1M bikes a year, was the fourth biggest producer of the good in Europe. The ecosystem seems to be growing and getting more complex too.
Last year, Cycle Gets, a start-up company specializing in the production of aluminum bicycle frames launched operations, promising a production capacity of 250K frames a year. The new venture was supported with around €3M of capital, and Elvin Guri, the founder of private equity fund Empower Capital, was among the first investors.
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