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Upway, ‘Amazon of refurbished electric bikes’ raises $25M, gets backing from football champion Blaise Matuidi

Upway founders
Image credits: Upway

French startup Upway, a marketplace for reconditioned electric bikes, has just scooped $25 million in Series A funding. Prior to this Upway raise $6 million seed funding in November 2021.

Stellar list of investors

The investment round was led by Sequoia Capital, which has invested in Google, DoorDash and Airbnb. Exor Seeds, the venture arm of Exor, controlling shareholder of Ferrari, Stellantis and Juventus also co-led the round.

Also, the round was joined by Origins, co-founded by Blaise Matuidi, internationally renowned football player and 2018 world champion, bringing together about fifty high-level athletes, including Olivier Giroud, N’golo Kanté, and Antoine Dupont. The round also involved existing investors Global Founders Capital and key business angels in the mobility sector such as Henri Moissinac, CEO and co-founder of Dott and Moving Capital (Uber Alumni Investment Club).

Toussaint Wattinne, CEO and co-founder of Upway: “By backing Upway, our investors are confirming that the future of mobility is electric, sustainable and affordable. It demonstrates that our offer meets an increasingly strong demand from consumers who want to travel at a lower cost while limiting their carbon footprint. Upway’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of electric mobility at a time of massive awareness of environmental issues”.

“It’s incredible what the team at Upway has achieved over a short period of time. Their ability to execute and meet increasing customer demand, has led to spectacular growth since its launch last November.” said Luciana Lixandru, Partner at Sequoia. “We’re excited to continue this adventure with them and remain inspired by their mission to accelerate the adoption of low-emission mobility and reduce waste by giving new life to ebikes.”

Noam Ohana Managing Director Exor Seeds: “We are thrilled to partner with Upway which is building a global leader in refurbished electric mobility – a fast growing category with sustainability at its core. Toussaint and Stephane are exceptional operators and have the potential to help millions find an affordable mobility option.”

Growth plans

Upway will use the funding to accelerate its growth and launch in new markets. Since the debut of 2022, the company has grown its sales of electric bikes by 600%, doubled the size of its team and commenced its European expansion by launching in Belgium in March. It plans to use the new funding to launch in Germany, the Netherlands and the United States by the end of this year.

In addition, Upway will strengthen its team by recruiting fifteen people, to operate three warehouses and to develop new partnerships with e-bike rental companies and retail stores.

“Having opened in Belgium with 500 refurbished e-bikes available for resale, we’ve had an amazing response as many Belgians care deeply about eco-responsibility. This rapid adoption is driving us to continue our expansion through Europe, and even across the Atlantic where we are seeing a tremendous increase in sales of e-bikes so much so that the US could be well on their way to catching up with Europe, which has been ahead of the curve,” continued Toussaint Wattinn

Blaise Matuidi, co-founder Origins Fund: “Investing in Upway was an obvious choice – sustainable mobility has become a priority. Making it accessible to as many people as possible contributes to the promotion of physical activity and the preservation of our environment. Supporting Upway in their global expansion has a particular significance for Origins’ athletes”.

Electric mobility for everyone

Upway was founded in 2019 in Paris by Toussaint Wattinne and Stéphane Ficaja, former executives from Uber and Uber Eats in Europe and North America. Since its debut, the company has increased its sales sevenfold.

The refurbished electric mobility market is on the rise, boosted by the expansion of bike lanes, restrictions on car traffic in cities, increased pressure on electronic waste and the booming circular economy. The electric bike market recorded a 28% increase in 2021 in France, representing nearly 60% of sales revenue in the total bike market that is worth €1.3 billion.

Despite this surge, there are still a number of obstacles stopping people from buying electric bikes: high prices costing up to €2,000 on average, a supply shortage leading to delivery delays, and concerns about the condition of the battery in second-hand models. Upway is touted to be the only platform in Europe dedicated to the reconditioning and resale of electric bikes, thereby making electric mobility accessible to everyone.

The platform offers electric bikes by prestigious brands, refurbished in France by professional mechanics on 20 different checkpoints, sold up to 60% cheaper than first-hand bikes, delivered to the client’s home in just a few days, covered by a one-year warranty.

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