Rising demand for Nüwiel's bicycles trailers amid pandemic
Demand for the Hamburg-based Nüwiel’s electric-driven bicycle trailers has soared in the pandemic allowing the company to double its orders in 2020 over 2019, said Natalia Tomiyama, joint founder. More than 150 environment-friendly e-trailers are now on roads in Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark and France. Buyers are using the e-trailers mainly to transport groceries, post and parcels, she said.
Expansion in Europe planned
Commenting on the prospects for 2021, Tomiyama said: "We are currently working on product optimization and expect growth in Europe." The e-trailers should soon be rolling in other European countries. Gates to the Nordic market have just opened up and the startup also hopes to put the e-trailers on roads in Austria and the Netherlands this year and to grow its market share in Belgium. She added: "We have conducted pilot projects and studies in Denmark and Austria so far. This year, the company plans to enter the market in those countries with major orders." Nüwiel has also received first enquiries from the United States. Business in Germany is likely to be driven by the German government's subsidies for electric cargo bikes, which have been available since March.
Startup's agility proving advantageous
Significantly disrupted supply chains at the beginning of the pandemic prompted the company to turn creative. "We had to identify our weak points and were able to build more robust supply chains. Now we always have second sourcing and are better prepared for potential shortages than many large companies," said Tomiyama. Although the company had to introduce short-time work for its 16 employees last spring, five new hires are to follow by late 2021 in addition to the current 26 employees.
Awards for Nüwiel
Nüwiel has already won several awards including the 2020 Fast Mover Support prize presented by the Digital Hub Logistics in Hamburg as well as the Gunnar Uldall Business Award. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) voted the company among the top three startups for a pilot project with a partner city based on its pitch. "The prize money of EUR 50,000 has allowed us to launch a pilot project with the City of Hamburg to test a more user-friendly and robust version of the e-trailer in spring. The new cargo box allows for higher payloads and better access to goods," said Tomiyama.
Funding round in summer
The startup has received funding through the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020 EIC Accelerator to further advance its clean and efficient logistics solution. Nüwiel also sealed the NextShed VC funding round by the Eberspächer Group. Tomiyama pointed out: "We plan to conclude a funding round in summer and are presently in talks with potential investors."