Stores closed, help from cowboy

Deferred payment requested: is this the beginning of VanMoof’s sinking?

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At the end of last week, the news made the rounds that VanMoof has paused the sale of smart e-bikes. The reason for this was that too many orders had not yet been processed and the company wanted to have more time to process them. We already had doubts about this statement in our first article, since not only the bikes have been taken off sale ÷ VanMoof currently does not offer anything at all, including accessories for the bikes. According to reports from various users, the supply of spare parts has also largely come to a standstill.

Suspension of payment as a first step towards becoming bankrupt?

Today we now learn that VanMoof yesterday applied to the Amsterdam District Court for a stay of payment, which is usually granted for a period of up to 18 months. And under Dutch law, creditors cannot claim their receivables during the moratorium. This is intended to help the company avoid bankruptcy — although past experience shows that such a move then quite often ends in bankruptcy proceedings.

A message from brothers and VanMoof co-founders Ties and Taco Carlier to investors states:

“For the past months we have been engaged in an intensive process to implement a cost saving plan and to secure vital additional funding to support VanMoof’s path to profitability. Despite the best efforts of our team, we have not yet been successful.

On Wednesday July, 12 the district court of Amsterdam granted VanMoof Global Holding B.V. (preliminary) suspension of payment and appointed two administrators. VanMoof B.V. and VanMoof Global Support B.V. have filed for suspension of payments as well. The court has also ordered a cooling down period of two months. Together with the management of VanMoof, the administrators are currently assessing the situation in order to find a solution so that VanMoof can continue its activities.

Due to the recent developments, we have decided to temporarily close the brand stores for the safety of our colleagues in the stores. We work hard to continue our services and will separately contact all customers as soon as possible regarding pending deliveries or repairs.

We will keep you updated as soon as we have more news to share.”

Source: Screenshot via Reddit

Closed VanMoof Stores

Not only online, but also in the physical stores of Vanmoof nothing more works: the company has temporarily closed all its own stores, which had led to protests by customers in Amsterdam. Some of their bikes have been in VanMoof’s stores for weeks for maintenance or repair and are currently not accessible to the owners.

Support for VanMoof users from Cowboy

But an impending collapse could also cripple even fully intact bikes. Because the Bluetooth connection between the smartphone and the VanMoof bike is encrypted for security reasons. And whenever you log into your VanMoof account via app, this encryption key is downloaded from VanMoof’s server. But what if VanMoof has to shut down its servers? Then the encryption keys would be lost forever and there would be no way to communicate with the bike. A serious point, since VanMoof’s bikes are known to fully rely on smartphone integration!

Bikey App VanMoof Key Cowboy
Bikey app from competitor Cowboy to help VanMoof users

Of all things, smart bike competitor Cowboy wants to provide support here and help users: The Bikey app is supposed to make it possible to secure the digital encryption key locally on the smartphone – and thus independently of VanMoof’s servers. Currently, the app is only compatible with S3 and X3 bikes, but a solution for the newer generation of S5 and A5 models is to follow.

What’s next?

At present, a wide variety of scenarios are conceivable regarding the further course of events in the VanMoof case: on the one hand, VanMoof could of course (once again) try to turn the tide under its own steam. But it is also conceivable that a large investor or even a competitor will take over VanMoof. After all, despite all the bad news, the brand has a tremendous level of recognition, its image appeals to far more than just pure bicycle users, and it is just as emblematic of innovation and the courage to break new ground.

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