Brussels-based startup Cowboy is in the news for its cash-burning speed. But the company wants to regain control of the narrative with some product and business news. Cowboy introduces a new feature called ‘AdaptivePower’ which automatically adjusts the engine power according to the current slope and weather conditions.
Cowboy electric bikes are very simple – no gears to adjust the motor power and no + and – buttons. The company thinks that riding a bike should be as easy as jumping on the saddle and putting your foot on the pedal.
But that minimalist approach has some drawbacks. While the default power mode works well in most cities, it’s not good enough in hilly cities like San Francisco.
Instead of releasing a new bike with gears or buttons, the company is using sensors like the gyroscope and accelerometer found in the existing Cowboy line. While these sensors were originally included for accident and theft detection, they can be used to make the bike even smarter. Depending on current torque, speed and other factors, Cowboy automatically increases or decreases the electric motor’s power delivery.
This feature will be released for Cowboy’s latest models that were released a few years ago – the C4 and its step-by-step version, the C4ST. There will be an over-the-air software update. Once the update is installed, you can choose between ‘adaptive’ and ‘eco’ options in the mobile app for engine power settings.
In other product news, the company is releasing some new colors for the C4ST, as you can see in the image at the bottom of this article.
New funding at a low valuation
In January 2022, the Cowboys announced an $80 million funding round. After a few years, the company is thinking of more money. But he’s not disclosing a dollar figure for this new funding round.
Of course, things have changed a lot for tech startups. VC firms don’t deploy capital quickly, and startup founders sometimes struggle to raise the next round of funding. For a hardware company like Cowboy, supply chain issues and inflation have had some impact on the company’s margins.
A few weeks ago, Cowboy founder and CTO Tanguy Goretti sarcastically said in a LinkedIn post that the company is “in the process of closing a 15 million euro round” ($15.8 million at today’s exchange rates). From what I’ve heard, Cowboy ended up raising a little less than that, but the equity crowdfunding division is going to raise that round.
He also added in a LinkedIn post that this latest funding round is a low round. The company’s total valuation is down 44% compared to the previous funding round. In other words, it’s been a long, windy road for the Cowboys and the past few months have been tougher than expected.
But the startup’s existing investors have opted to invest more money in the company, which should improve the company’s runway ahead of Cowboy’s peak sales season (between March and October). After some logistical challenges a year or two ago, Cowboy’s margins are back to normal.
With AdaptivePower, Cowboy can now think about other potential vehicles as well. For example, this feature works especially well with cargo bikes. But there is nothing promising on this front for now.
“2022 was our best year yet, with revenues of €41 million and sales up 2.7x year-on-year,” co-founder and CEO Adrian Roos said in a statement. Cowboy has sold 50,000 as of 2018. And 2022 wasn’t that bad, the company told me that it could sell 20,000 bikes in a year.