Dance is a new electric bike subscription service launched by the co-founders of SoundCloud. The invite-only program, which includes delivery, maintenance, and theft protection, launches this month in Berlin. It’s the latest service to try to capitalize on the e-bike boom by shifting toward a Netflix or Spotify model for transportation.
Dance was founded by SoundCloud founders Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss and Alexander Ljung, along with the co-founder of web design startup Jimdo, Christian Springub. Their proposition rests on a couple of hard truths about e-bikes: they are expensive, typically costing €1,700 ($2,000) or more, and they are prone to theft. Dance is hoping to address those concerns, while also replicating the success of various music subscription services.
“Music was one of the first industries to experience the shift from ownership to subscription,” Ljung said in a statement. “At SoundCloud we helped usher in this transformation and established the world’s largest and most passionate music community. Now we want to transfer this experience to the mobility space and start a movement that will ultimately make our cities more livable.”
“Now we want to transfer this experience to the mobility space.”
Interested customers based in Berlin are being asked to sign up for a waitlist, after which they’ll be invited to subscribe for the “introductory price” of €59 a month. Included in that price is service, theft protection, and concierge service — the company says it can deliver the bike to a customer’s front door “within 24 hours.” And if the bike gets stolen, Dance says it will be replaced “immediately.”
As for the bike itself, the company is only providing scant details. A photo provided by the company appears to show a road bike with swept-back handlebars, rear-hub motor, belt drive, and a battery attached to the downtube. It will have a 250W motor (which is required under EU law), 45 km range, and a removable battery. Due to the cobblestone streets in Berlin, the bikes will be equipped with high-quality tires with suspension, a spokesperson said, adding, “The specifics on our second generation Dance bike for the global roll-out will follow in due time.”
It remains to be seen whether Dance can create a profitable business, but it may have a long runway to find out. The company has a lot of well-financed venture capital firms in its corner, including Berlin-based VC BlueYard Capital, and counts among its investors Ilkka Paananen (founder and CEO of Supercell), Jeannette zu Fürstenberg (La Famiglia), Kevin P. Ryan (founder and CEO of AlleyCorp), Neil Parikh (founder and CSO of Casper), Bjarke Ingels (founder and CEO of Big Architects), and several others.
Dance isn’t the first company to offer micromobility vehicles as a subscription service. The company will be competing with Swapfiets, which is very established in some European markets. The Dutch company just recently added e-bikes to its roster of products and launched in Berlin in July. And in the US, Bird and Lime have been experimenting with subscriptions for its electric scooters, with mixed results.