We have to change the way we interact with our cities. We have to change the way we move around our cities. We have to change the way we think about allocating space in cities away from cars and towards people.
We have gotten so used to cars littering our streets, choking our cities and polluting our community‘s health that we find it hard to pause and question the madness of car dominated cities. But this striking image by Karl Jilg illustrates the reality we are living in our cities.
There is also a car OEM narrative suggesting that some combination of electric and self driving cars will make our cities better. But again it takes a striking image to show the problem with that school of thought:
It is time to reclaim our cities — and the e-bike might just offer the best solution for the future of our cities. Environmentally friendly, joyful, healthy, time-saving and convenient — e-bikes are rapidly becoming the best way to navigate cities both professionally and for leisure.
But the introduction and rapid growth of e-bikes in our cities also allows us the opportunity to dream up and design an entirely new platforms and services for how to use e-bikes as an interconnected network for urban mobility.
Enter Dance. The company is aiming to become a major change agent for the desperately needed human-centric re-shaping of our urban environments. Dance is the new startup of Soundcloud founders Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss and Alexander Ljung and, joining them as the third co-founder, is Christian Springub, the co-founder of Jimdo. With their keen sense for product, community and services they have the potential to rethink our urban mobility through a combination of hardware, community and data.
At the heart of Dance — initially — are its frictionless subscription model, its all-inclusive service package and state-of-the-art Dance e-bikes. However the long term goal of Dance is to spark a global movement built on a connected community of e-bike riders and adjacent services for modern urban mobility, ultimately making cities more bike-friendly and livable.
Dance is launching in invite-only mode in Berlin today. But we hope to see the Dance community in every city in every country around the world eventually.
The need for cities to shift away from car-congested streets and crowded public transportation (esp. after Covid-19) has become a clear and rapidly increasing policy priority. E-bikes offer an ideal solution with 1.6x faster trips vs normal bikes, faster than cars or public transportation for trips under 10km and higher retention and engagement / usage vs traditional bikes. The category is growing 36% pa (€19bn in 2018). However e-bikes are very expensive (€2.3k+ on average), are quickly outdated and can have complex maintenance and theft issues. Sharing services tend to have low-end bikes and are unreliable. There is also no real community or network to engage and support urban cyclists. Our thesis is that a product-centric team that understands data and community can build a new mobility service based on democratizing access to e-bike based mobility through a subscription service, in addition to a community and data network — and can de facto become one of the largest global urban mobility providers.
We are excited to be backing Eric, Christian and Alexander on their mission to reclaim our cities for a more sustainable urban future. Check out this article for more background.