Electric bicycle maker Cowboy closes new financing round, launches AdaptivePower

Brussels-based startup Vaquero has been in the news recently for its cash burn rate. But with some product and business news, the company wants to take back control of its story. Cowboy introduces a new feature called AdaptivePower, which automatically adjusts engine power based on the current grade and weather conditions.

Cowboy e-bikes are pretty basic: there are no shifters and no + and – buttons to adjust motor power. The company believes that cycling should be as easy as getting on the saddle and putting your foot on the pedal.

But this minimalistic approach has some drawbacks. While the default power mode works fine in most cities, it falls short in mountain towns like San Francisco.

Instead of releasing a new bike with gears or grips, the company is using sensors from its existing Cowboy line, such as the gyroscope and accelerometer. While these sensors were originally intended for accident and theft detection, they can be used to make the bike smarter. Based on current torque, RPM, and other factors, Cowboy automatically increases or decreases trolling motor power.

This feature was implemented in the latest Cowboy models released a few years ago: the C4 and its step-by-step version, the C4ST. It will be an over the air software update. Once the update is installed, you can choose between ‘adaptive’ and ‘eco’ options for engine performance settings in the mobile app.

In other product news, the company is also showcasing some new colors for the C4ST, as you can see in the image at the end of this article.

New financing round at a lower valuation

In January 2022, Cowboy announced an $80 million funding round. Just over a year later, the company raises more money. But it is not disclosing the dollar amount of this new round of funding.

Of course, things have changed dramatically for tech startups. Venture capital firms are slow to deploy capital, and startup founders sometimes struggle to secure their next round of funding. At a hardware company like Cowboy, supply chain issues and inflation also took a toll on the company’s margins.

A few weeks ago, Cowboy co-founder and CTO, Tanguy Goretti, said in a LinkedIn post that the company was “closing a $15 million round” ($15.8 million at current exchange rates). From what I’ve heard, Cowboy has raised a little less, but a little equity crowdfunding will close out this round.

He added in his LinkedIn post that this latest funding round is negative. The company’s overall valuation fell 44% compared to the previous round of funding. In other words, it’s been a long and winding road for Cowboy and the past few months have been tougher than expected.

But the startup’s existing investors opted to inject more money into the company, which should improve the company’s track record right before Cowboy’s peak sales season (between March and October). After some logistical challenges a year or two ago, Cowboy’s banks are back where they should be.

With AdaptivePower, Cowboy can now come up with other potential vehicles. This function would work particularly well with cargo bikes, for example. But for now, there’s nothing to announce on that front.

“2022 was our best year ever, with sales of €41 million and revenue growth of 2.7x year-over-year,” co-founder and CEO Adrien Roose said in a statement. Cowboy has sold 50,000 bikes since 2018. And 2022 wasn’t too bad, as the company told me it sold 20,000 bikes in one year.

photo credit: cowboy

Source: La Neta Neta