Who is part of the founding team? And how did you get the idea?
Gi FlyBike is the brainchild of three friends from Cordoba, Argentina: Agustin Augustinoy, Eric Sevillia and myself. The idea behind the bike was born after a national transportation strike paralyzed the country. The founders thought, “What can give people the freedom that they need to move in congested cities?” After three years of research and validation, we came up with Gi FlyBike.
How long has the development of your electric bike lasted?
We have been working on Gi Flybike for three years. We began by conducting research and investing alternative means of transportation. Then we began drafting designs on paper. After some time we created a wooden prototype in Agustin Augustinoy’s parents basement. This led to the next iteration of a 3D printed prototype and finally the aluminum cast, CNC machined prototype that you see today. Right now we have a distribution agreement signed with Amazon in the United States and we are currently in production with Yadea Technology Group, the third largest e-vehicle manufacturer in the world.
What were the biggest challenges in product development?
The folding mechanism was very difficult to perfect. People who live and work in metropolitan areas need to be able to fold a bicycle quickly and with full-sized 26“ wheels. We need to engineer something that folds quickly, without having to sacrifice the functionality of the bike. It took months to perfect the design and the result has been a patent-pending folding joint that allows the user to fold the bike in one second and in one motion.
A special feature is that you have designed your electric bike as a folding bike. Are there similar solutions?
No. Our bike is the fastest folding electric bike in the world. There is not a single electric bike on the market that folds as fast as Gi FlyBike. Those e-bikes that do fold have small, mismatched wheels. They look like circus bicycles.
You use the possibilities of the Internet of Things to equip the bike with digital features. What are the highlights?
Exactly. When looking at Gi FlyBike you see a beautiful bicycle with full-sized wheels. You may not even notice that it folds. Yet beyond the hardware there is the software – features that allow the bicycle to meet the needs of the modern commuter. Automatic locking system. Bike sharing program. The ability to control the level of electric assistance that you receive. Fitness statistics program. Control over the smart-lights. All of these features are controlled through the Gi FlyBike mobile app, which is available for download on the App Store and coming to Google Play shortly.
Drei junge, argentinische Gründer – Lucas Toledo, Eric Sevilla und Agustin Augustinoy – haben ein faltbares und vernetztes E-Bike entwickelt und arbeiten unter Volldampf an der Serienproduktion. Darüber sprechen wir mit Lucas Toledo, CEO Gi FlyBike - das Interview wurde in Englisch geführt.
In early November, you finished a crowdfunding campaign. Was it successful? It was your second attempt to collect money from the Crowd, right?
Yes. We quintapled our goal. The last crowdfunding campaign was successful in that it validated our concept, design, and features. This Kickstarter campaign was successful in that we are going to use the funds raised to go into mass production.
Which are the other steps up to market entry? You are currently in China to drive forward the mass production. Which impressions have you already gathered in China?
Right now we are producing prototypes for testing in Shanghai. Agustin Augustinoy our cofounder and Chief Designer is living 10 km from the factory overseeing the production process. Meanwhile, just last week, we signed a distribution partnership with Amazon Exclusives in the United States. We are finalizing negotiations with service stores and distributors around the world. We are creating a global, Gi FlyBike network so that we can enter the market effectively and efficiently.
When will your electric bike be available and how much will it cost?
We are shipping the bikes in June of 2016. We are currently finalizing the retail price with our manufacturer but it will be between $3000 and $4000 USD.
Do you have any advices for other founders?
Use crowdfunding platforms! Kickstarter has been enormously helpful to us. Also, connect with like-minded people and work in spaces that promote this connectivity with positive energy.
Das Interview führte Hans Luthardt
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