The home page of UBCO’s site reads “Born in New Zealand. Built tough.” That strapline is the perfect communication of its tenacity and grit - a company who dared to dream more than others think is practical - and that dream has paid dividends in global presence and huge payoffs.
With a vision to electrify the typical farm bike by making it quieter, cleaner and safer, the company’s founders set out to build a new category of product - a 2-wheel-drive, electric, lightweight utility vehicle.
In 2016, a pre-production version of ‘the toughest utility vehicle on the planet’ at Fieldays was a home-run, securing thousands of pre-orders; and fundraising to underwrite the first production run. While most of the initial fleet went into 365 days a year, off-road, high-duty users in agriculture, tourism, and conservation; traction across recreation and even sporting verticals followed when the company released a road-registerable model.
Today, UBCO has dedicated distribution partners in over 10 countries, and its unique design, functionality, safety and the sustainability of its innovative products has helped fuel exponential growth, with on-road and off-road 2X2 adventure bikes now part of the UBCO fleet.
“GD1’s support and partnership over 5 years has been essential to help UBCO grow from A local success story to a global leader in lightweight electric vehicles,” says Katherine Stanford CEO.
We share a little more about their journey...
Company stage: Series B
Founded in: 2015
Staff count: 50+
Locations: NZ, AUS, US, UK & EU
100%+ revenue growth YoY
3,000+ bikes sold globally
Right now, there’s no greater threat to humanity than human’s impact on the planet. UBCO’s bikes offer users an alternate, more sustainable way to move around on two wheels; with two motors; making no noise; and most importantly - no gas.
Why are UBCO bikes such a well-loved product?
UBCO’s bikes are almost silent-running, meaning that they’re animal friendly and perfect for conservation and tourism clients. Because the engine has almost no moving parts; running costs are low. Hub motors in each wheel means the bike has no mid-drive or chain and the location means the bike has a low centre of gravity and low weight, making it incredibly safe.
A single-charge gives its rider a range of up to 120km and because the road version of the bike is in the same class as a 50cc moped, in many locations you don't need a motorcycle license to ride one. Incredibly, the removable battery can also be used to charge power tools.
UBCO’s focus on data and analytics means its fleet are all connected via IoT, enabling theft protection; remote diagnostics and service scheduling; and even predictive safety.
UBCO’s series-B will be used to scale production, bolster supply chain capabilities and develop next generation products.
In particular, the funds will enable the startup to meet ever-increasing demand from US and European markets by augmenting network sales with their D2C model. Just like Casper mattresses, UBCO bikes can be shipped fully assembled straight to your front door.
It also plans to expand its vehicle platform from two to four wheels, with a view to securing a leadership position in the utility EV (UEV) category.
It will also double down on its ESG commitments around end-of-life, durability and circularity, including exploring battery chemistries that both boost performance and reduce dependencies on conflict minerals.
Why is UBCO a great investment for GD1?
GD1 is a pioneer of right-sizing ESG for startups. UBCO’s desire to do good for people; and for the planet was a great match in terms of product purpose. In addition, the startup is one that thinks global; constantly asking ‘If not, why not?’ Their success around pioneering a brand-new vertical on the global stage is admirable and will take them even further in future.
5th December 2022, Stuff - Electric bikes charge ahead for those who work in town and country