VanMoof — the independent e-bike maker that once bragged about being the “most funded e-bike company in the world” — has been declared bankrupt in the Netherlands. The company had entered into a so-called “suspension of payment” proceeding with court-assigned administrators just last week.
According to a statement released by VanMoof, the court of Amsterdam withdrew the suspension of payment proceeding of the Dutch legal entities VanMoof Global Holding BV, VanMoof BV and VanMoof Global Support BV, and declared each entity bankrupt. VanMoof legal entities outside the Netherlands are not in insolvency proceedings. Two administrators have been appointed as trustees and are continuing to assess the situation at VanMoof and the possibility of a restart. That includes exploring an asset sale to a third party so that VanMoof could continue operations.
So basically, a company could buy up VanMoof’s operations and assets without having to take responsibility for the company’s outstanding debt.
The bankruptcy decision came quickly, despite the court having previously issued a two month cooling off period that protected VanMoof from creditors. It’s understood that this can happen in cases where administrators can easily see that a company has exhausted all available cash and any options for financing and sale.
VanMoof owners now enter into a period of uncertainty
VanMoof owners now enter into a period of further uncertainty over the future of their e-bikes that require custom parts and specialized service. Now would be a good time to download your e-bike’s unique digital key for a little peace of mind should VanMoof’s servers go offline.
The company has posted a support document outlining the current situation for both customers and suppliers/creditors. Anyone seeking a refund of a prepayment made for a new e-bike will be able to file a claim in the bankruptcy proceeding. For VanMoof owners, the company says its e-bikes “will remain functional and rideable, as we aim to keep our app and servers online and aim to secure the ongoing services for the future.” It also confirms that all repair work and deliveries of parts is currently stopped, and that repaired and un-repaired e-bikes at shops in the Netherlands will eventually be made available for riders to pick up. Things will of course change if VanMoof’s considerable assets and operations are sold.
Here’s the internal email sent to staff from VanMoof’s co-founders and brothers Taco and Ties Carlier:
Over the last weeks Ties and I have tried to find a future for VanMoof. We’re extremely sorry to have to report that despite our best efforts we did not succeed and we have had to file for bankruptcy. The administrators, who are now the trustees, will explain below what this means for you, but we want to take a very brief moment to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
We started VanMoof 14 years ago with a crazy idea to change the world. The only reason that we were able to make a dent is because of you: the hundreds of dedicated and loyal people that have helped us with our mission to change cities for the better. We’re grateful to each and every one of you and are sorry that we will not be able to see this mission through together.
We feel sadness, but most of all we feel an immense sense of pride for what we have achieved together. For us it’s been the honour of a lifetime and even though the current iteration of VanMoof ends today and we don’t yet know what the future holds, I’m confident that the VanMoof alumni will continue to be a force for good.
With the kindest of regards,
Taco and Ties Carlier
Update July 18th, 4:32AM ET: Updated with information posted by VanMoof for owners.