VanMoof used crowdfunding to bring most of its flagship models into mass production and was able to establish an impressive fanbase all over the world. VanMoof e-bikes came with app connectivity and patented tech, which meant a product unlike any other and a point of pride for owners. It's about to become an extra headache for them now.
A few months ago, the first signs of trouble appeared – where else? – on social media. Reports of delayed deliveries and shortage of parts began spreading and were then confirmed when the court of Amsterdam granted the company a two-month suspension of payment. It would be a cooling-off period that would serve to stave off creditors while VanMoof picked up on the delayed production.
That suspension has now been withdrawn, with the court declaring VanMoof bankrupt. The announcement was unexpected, but it's standard procedure for when the court rules a company has exhausted all possibilities and all cash to avoid bankruptcy. Two new administrators (trustees) have been appointed, and they're looking into the possibility of selling the company to a third party to keep it afloat.
Whether that happens or not, VanMoof as we've known it is done, as the brothers made it very clear in an internal e-mail you'll find below. And whatever happens next, existing VanMoof customers have one more thing to stress about right now because of the very reasons that once made them proud: the proprietary build of the bikes that ties them to the app and authorized repair shops.
For the time being, VanMoof is urging them to download the individual digital unlock code for the bikes, so they won't end up with a bricked machine should their servers go offline or the app be discontinued. VanMoof plans to keep both going, for what it's worth.
Ongoing repairs and maintenance are temporarily stalled, but VanMoof says clients from the Netherlands will eventually be able to pick up their bikes from the local shops. Deliveries for new bikes are also stalled, orders on parts are halted, and refunds will be made at some point in time, if possible. Stores in San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, and Tokyo remain open, but every other one has shuttered already.
VanMoof says it'll try and honor remaining orders and repairs and refund clients and suppliers. It's an admirable effort, that much is certain.