Wheelys raises $830K from the crowd to bring coffee-bikes to the world

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Taking on Starbucks, one cup at a time

Wheelys Café just raised a large chunk of equity funding on Swedish crowdfunding platform FundedByMe to expand to more countries and pour gas on its already explosive growth around the world. The young company has had an illustrious history already, with a stint in Y Combinator, a successful Indiegogo campaign and now a vastly overfunded equity crowdfunding campaign.

“I was looking for a job but was refused,” the company’s CEO and co-founder Maria De La Croix told me in an interview earlier this month. She theorizes that her difficulty in finding employment was connected to her unconventional hairstyle — it was bright blue at the time. “So I said Fuck it, I’ll start a company myself. The plan wasn’t really to go global right away, but we suddenly had customers in Jordan and Chile and decided it was time to think big.”

The idea was a fully organic bicycle café, starting with a single outlet in De La Croix’s native Malmö, Sweden. It sold what she refers to as “a shitload of coffee,” which made her realize that perhaps other people should get involved, too.

See:  Checkout other Crowdfunding Stories and Content for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups

The company launched an Indiegogo campaign entitled A café in a bike. Deal with it., raised its first $150,000 and discovered it was selling its bikes for less money than it cost them to produce and ship them. It did, however, show that there was an appetite out there in the market for what it was doing; soon after, Wheelys found itself at Y Combinator to plot its future.

“The idea is simple,” De La Croix says, “It’s a bike, so you can set it up anywhere. The starting cost is low, so it’s quick and easy to set up a cafe.”  The model seems to be working. A new bike costs $5,400 plus a $199 per month subscription with a one-year tie-in. There are more than 500 Wheelys Cafés out there so far, in 65 countries. The company has also figured out its mass production challenges, enabling it to expand a lot quicker than before.

The company’s equity crowdfunding campaign secured more than €740,000 from 167 investors, which, at 410 percent funded, breaks FundedByMe’s record for most overfunded campaign.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1300+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at ncfacanada.org.