German startup Dance has launched its subscription service in Berlin. Users will receive a custom-designed electric bicycle and access to an on demand repair service for a flat monthly fee (roughly $93 at the current exchange rate).
The company was founded by Jimdo and SoundCloud founders. It raised significant capital before it launched its service. BlueYard was the startup seed round leader, while HV Capital (formerly HV Holtzbrinck Ventures), led Dances 15 Million Series A round which totaled $17.7 millions at the time.
Dance has its own ebike, which is why it needed so much capital. The Dance One is an aluminum bike that weighs in at 22kg (48.5lb). It only has one speed, and relies on an electric motor to get you from 0 to 25kmph.
The best thing about the VanMoofs ebikes is the ability to remove the lithium battery from the bike and recharge it at home. You don't have to take your whole bike up the stairs. This feature is great for apartment dwellers. After riding 55km, users can expect to recharge the battery.
The Dance One has a carbon belt that doesn't need much maintenance. An integrated smartphone mount is located at the front of the bike. It should work with most cases that are compatible with this type of mounts. The handlebar buttons allow you to adjust the level of electric assist. There are three modes of electric assistance: high, low or none.
You can also activate the rear and front lights with a button. Dance has chosen hydraulic discs for brakes. Optionally, you can add a basket or two saddle bags to the back of your bike.
You can use a mobile app to lock or unlock your Dance bike, just like other popular ebikes from Cowboy and VanMoof. The frame of the bike has Bluetooth and GPS chips. You should use a traditional lock as well as the smart lock.
It looks great for urban riding. To get a bike, users will need to pay 79 per monthly. There is no upfront or time commitment. You can subscribe for only the summer. The company will send a mechanic out to your location if you have a problem with your bike.
The service has been tested by Dance with hundreds of beta users. Thousands of bikes are now open for new users. The company's current focus is on Berlin, but it plans to expand its reach to other European and German cities in the future.
There are a few other services in Europe that Dance can compete with, like Swapfiets or Vligo in Paris. It will also compete indirectly with other on-demand shared bikes such as Lime or all the other city-led public/private bike-sharing services across Europe. Some people may even decide to buy their own ebike.
Dance is a well-designed product with a beautiful bike and lots of flexibility for the user. I'm sure that the startup will find customers looking for an easy, seamless experience from beginning to end.