App-based GR bike repair startup among Michigan VC’s latest investments


AThe Grand Rapids startup seeks to do for biking what Uber and Lyft did for transportation or DoorDash, Instacart and similar companies did for food delivery and retail.

Bike Inc. plans to launch next week, offering consumers what founders David Hopson and Jared Lebel consider a much more convenient way to get a bike repaired, making it “as easy as ordering a pizza,” Lebel said.

Using the company’s website or app, a customer can arrange to have their bike picked up and taken to the company’s store in Wyoming where it is repaired and promptly returned. In the coming weeks, Biked will also begin offering quick and easy repairs, such as fixing a flat tire, at a customer’s home or workplace.

Additionally, the company will perform tune-ups or repairs on e-bikes and plans to add functionality to its app and website this summer to buy and sell used bikes that have been certified by a repair technician, similar to the model. behind Carvana and Vroom, Lebel said.

“The idea behind Biked is a better way to buy, sell and repair your bike,” said Lebel, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Biked. “We’re trying to bring the bike store to your phone and make it much more convenient.”

Lebel and Biked CEO Hopson plan to expand the model beyond Grand Rapids with operations in multiple US markets in the coming years. The first planned expansion could take place in Austin, Texas in 2023, Lebel said.

Hopson describes the company as “on a mission to make cycling a much more accessible and easy experience for a wider range of riders and to provide better service and greater value to our customers”.

To pursue their vision, the partners raised $250,000 in seed capital, primarily from friends and family, Lebel said. The company is seeking to raise total capital of $750,000, according to a February regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Slight slowdown”

Biked was among Michigan-based companies listed in a quarterly venture capital and angel investment report.

Statewide, 41 companies received combined investments of $257.6 million in the first three months of 2022, according to the first quarter report from Pitchbook and the National Venture Capital Association. That compares to 46 deals totaling $274.1 million in the first quarter of 2021.

Venture and angel investments in Michigan over the past year hit a record $1.39 billion in 166 deals, up from 162 in 2020 for $951.3 billion in the first year of the pandemic , according to Pitchbook and the NVCA.

“Many factors could go into this slight downturn” in the first quarter of 2022, although “I’m not overly concerned,” Michigan Venture Capital Association executive director Ara Topouzian wrote in an email to MiBiz.

“Some unpredictability around the economy and workforce is having some impact, but we’re still seeing great momentum around deal activity, especially compared to the last five years. It’s too early to predict the outcome and I continue to be optimistic,” Topouzian said. “Michigan has been resilient and investors are busy with a lot currently in fundraising.”

The biggest investment in West Michigan in the first quarter of 2022 went to the Grand Haven-based company UV Partners Inc., which closed in January with $9.1 million in later-stage capital, according to data from Pitchbook. An SEC filing said capital raised from 18 investors was part of a larger $15 million stock offering.

Other West Michigan investments in the first quarter included:

$7 million in a Series B round that closed in February for Crossliner inc.a Kalamazoo company that has developed what is promised to be a safer, easier-to-use device in cardiac catheterization procedures.

$2 million in angel capital for Competitive Wedge LLCa Dutch company that has developed a video interview platform.

An investment of $1 million in January to Innovative Cardiovascular Solutions LLC in Grand Rapids, which has developed a medical device designed to increase patient safety during cardiac surgery.

Nationally, venture capitalists and angel investors invested $70.7 billion in 4,822 deals in the first quarter, a level of activity down from the same period a year earlier when that the industry was entering what would become a banner year in 2021 with $342.2 billion invested in 17,105 deals. offers.

At Biked, the capital raised will support start-up and expansion costs. This includes a repair shop, a van to pick up and return bikes to customers and possibly carry out minor repairs on site, hiring repair technicians and a “cutting edge marketing plan” as the business plans to expand to other markets in the United States. , says Lebel.

By building the company, Hopson and Lebel want to eliminate the hassle and inconvenience of transporting a bike to a repair shop and back. The idea for the model behind Biked was born out of Hopson fixing bikes in his garage. He “overloaded” and “realized there’s a real demand for someone who brings the bike shop experience to your doorstep,” Lebel said.

Biked is gearing up to launch on May 1 after the pandemic of the past two years gave digital retail and food delivery services a rapid boost. Replicating the model, Biked is “trying to bring the Instacart and DoorDash experience to bike servicing, and it’s such an opportune time. Those services are booming,” Lebel said.

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