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Econic One gets a step closer to becoming a global smart e-bikes leader with €6M

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Image credit: Econic One's Archives
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  • Econic One, the commuting and recreational smart e-bike company, raises a €6M round from Integral Venture Partners, Capital Investments Fund (CIFund) – the growth investment arm of Bulgarian Development Bank, and existing investors. 
  • The investment will be used to streamline market expansion into the DACH and the USA markets and strengthen its in-house R&D, production and technology development teams, and facilities.  
  • The news follows a reported 500% increase in the company’s ARR last year. 

 

Galin Bonev, founder and co-CEO of Econic One, highlights that 2022 is another year of rapid growth for the company. With the vision to continue inspiring people to move on e-bikes, Bonev aims to make cities more sustainable and create smarter and greener ways for customers to commute and relax. 

Econic One is a Bulgarian e-mobility company that specializes in the design and production of smart electric bicycles. Formerly known as Eljoy, the e-bike startup was created to fill the market’s need for a smart versatile bike that gives its users freedom, comfort, and security. The company combines proprietary hardware and software and has its own smart-bike application for consumers and a fleet management software platform for business customers.

“At Econic One we are working to create an e-bike ecosystem that enables people to be safer, go farther, and have more fun. We aim to improve the riding experience through slicker and more functional designs and outstanding craftsmanship. One of our main priorities is to build Econic One as a strong brand that inspires our customers to choose cycling as their preferred mode of transportation for work and play,“ Vladi Davtchev, Co-CEO of Econic One shares in a press release. 

The founding partner and CEO of the private equity and growth capital fund for Central and Southeastern Europe, Integral Venture Partners, Stefan Tzvetkov, highlights that the fund will provide the founders with support in terms of corporate infrastructure, brand & product portfolio evolution, and expansion to new markets. 

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A hobby turned into a business

The e-bikes journey of Galin Bonev started as a hobby back in 2010. While still working at the Finance department of Petrol Holding in Varna, he was exploring different options for his daily work commute. Bikes seemed the best option, so he decided to transform his bike into an electrical one. In a nutshell, this is how the idea of Econic One was born. Though it took some time before it became a viable business. His friends, coworkers, and family were the first people who validated the idea. Together with his friend, Alexander Mihailov, who is currency COO at Eljoy, Bonev started buying more bicycles to turn into e-bikes.

At some point, they decided to switch their strategy and start producing their own bicycles. In 2015, they launched the company and began production activities in Varna with a team of 4 people. Until 2019, they tested the technology and developed the product until they decided the time was right to scale the business. Galin Bonev met with Vladimir Davchev, who at that time was CEO of BG menu, which later exited to Takeaway.com. In 2020, Davchev quit Takeaway.com and joined Eljoy, which rebranded to Econic One, as an investor and co-CEO.  

The team then decided it was time to accelerate growth with external financing and turned to Eleven Ventures. Econic One raised its first round from Eleven and some angel investors, among which Davchev, the co-founder of Telerik Svetozar Georgiev and Todor Breshkov, managing partner of LAUNCHub Ventures. In January 2021, the startup secured a €1.6M round from Vitosha Venture Partners, Eleven Ventures, Innovation Capital, and Zarian Capital. This allowed the team to further focus on product development and R&D. 

The technology in the smart e-bike

Econic One develops proprietary technology which is installed in the bike. The IoT technology connects the engine with the electric system of the e-bike, and the app. Therefore, the company not only develops e-bikes but builds a whole ecosystem around the machine. By developing everything in-house, Econic One is able to integrate new features and iterations into the ecosystem faster than its competitors. This brings the company a significant market advantage.  The e-bike of Econic One is the first in the world to have an integrated battery, engine, and GPS system. In addition, the startup is providing a couple of extra services such as purchase financing and insurance. 

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The e-bikes of Econic One are assembled by hand and are customized according to the individual requirements of each customer about the frame color and tire size. With one charge, they are able to endure for about 140km. 

What comes next for Econic One?

Econic One’s team has grown to 70 people which are spread between hubs in Bulgaria, Germany, and the USA. Bonev has shared that if the e-bike market continues growing at the same pace, Econic One can produce about 30K bicycles each year. With a price of about €2K per bicycle, this brings up the estimation of an annual revenue of around €60M. 

With the latest round, the team will be able to expand its sales network and accelerate its sales growth. In addition, they will focus on more bicycle and software product development and will expand the senior team with industry experts.

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.
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