13 Jan IoT-Venture-CEO Jürgen Veith on financial year 2020: “We have established our presence.”
Darmstadt, 14 January 2021. IoT Venture GmbH managed to secure its bike brand’s position on the market last year despite the impact of the corona virus pandemic on business activities. The company’s IoT solution was extended to include a second application, one for pets, thus paving the way for further growth and scaling of the business model.
The year of the e-bike
Personal transport and, consequently, also travelling by bike increased substantially over last year. E-bikes in particular experienced a boom with the pandemic giving an additional boost to the existing trend towards their use. “Despite the high demand for bikes, the coronavirus crisis has presented us with many challenges, as it has done for almost every other business,” states Jürgen Veith, CEO at IoT Venture GmbH. “Interrupted supply chains, the lockdown in spring and long queues in front of bike stores and workshops from late April made it difficult for our trade brand to expand. Even so, we’re proud of what we’ve achieved,” affirms Veith. In 2020, the company delivered a total of some 30,000 GPS trackers while the workforce was increased from fifteen at the end of 2019 to 25 at the end of 2020. “We’re urgently looking for new colleagues, especially in software development but not only in this field. Our aim is to expand the team to include an additional ten creative members by late 2021.”
App now contains four services
In 2020, the development team focused on expanding the digital service world for e-bikes. 2019 saw GPS anti-theft protection and recovery of stolen bikes being offered first, followed by ride data analysis (eRide), the insurance service (eSurance) and the emergency assistant (eCall) in spring 2020.
IT’S MY BIKE integrated AXA’s WayGuard emergency process into its digital range in the autumn. If users subscribe to this paid premium service, the device triggers an alarm if they have a fall or an accident and the control centre will send emergency services to the scene of the accident in the event of an emergency. “eCall was something very close to our hearts from the outset,” states Thomas Ullmann, Chief Operating Officer at IoT Venture GmbH. “It improves safety for the rider.”
IT’S MY BIKE has also been offering its insurance service (eSurance) in collaboration with insurtech partner ALTEOS since May 2020. Users thus have the option of taking out suitable insurance packages directly in the app. The self-developed insurance policy with GPS protection safeguards against numerous risks, including theft, vandalism, battery wear and accidental damage.
eRide has allowed users to view the distance the have ridden, ride duration and their average speed since early 2020. Users can also use average values to calculate how much CO2 they save compared to taking the car.
Success rate for recovery over 80 percent
„We are proud our recovery success rate of over 80 percent,” states Thomas Ullmann. “In the event of a theft, our team works behind the scenes to liaise closely between the victim and the police. It even helps with the actual search for the bike in individual cases. This system is our recipe for success and is a feature which distinguishes our solutions from other GPS trackers alongside our service world and the highly robust, long-range NB-IoT technology.”
„Room for expansion in the specialist trade partner network”
„We have made a step forward in expanding our partner network in the bicycle Reptil trade,” states Veith. “However, there is still room for expansion, a crucial task for 2021.” IT’S MY BIKE markets its retrofit solution exclusively via bicycle dealers. There were more than 200 dealers across Germany in late 2020. The aim is to have 400 by the end of this year.
Moreover, Business Development has also entered into partnership with a number of e-bike fleet operators plus selected new OEMs to fit the tracker directly in the factory. Altogether, ten fleet operators have now equipped a total of 2,000 vehicles with IT’S MY BIKE trackers.
The team have also ramped up marketing and communication and promoted the brand through promotional activities in stores (point of sale), in the digital realm and in media reports. “Needless to say, we had envisioned 2020 quite differently. We had to forgo trade fair visits and meetings in person. Even so, I believe we have managed to firmly establish ourselves in the sector.”
Expansion in other business fields
IoT Venture GmbH’s business model comprises offering cross-sector hardware and software based on LPWA technologies for the Internet of Things, solutions for building digital business models and data platform. IT’S MY BIKE was its first application in late 2018 while the second business segment was developed ready for the market last year. IoT Venture GmbH has developed a dog tracker in collaboration with a company in the pet supplies sector with the first part rolled out in the late 2020. The course has been set for other new areas of use in micro-mobility and industrial refrigerators for 2021.
Prospects for 2021
„The team deserved their well-earned break over Christmas,” opines COO Thomas Ullmann. “The year had not been easy for them. Remote working, travel restrictions and rotating shifts in the office meant some employees saw very little of each other. All the more reason why we’d like to thank each and every colleague for their dedication and we’re very glad that everyone has stayed healthy. We hope to return to normality soon.”
Business-wise, Jürgen Veith and Thomas Ullmann are very positive as the look ahead. OEM clients have already placed orders for 70,000 GPS trackers for 2021. The forecast is for 100,000 units to be sold across all sectors.
„The NB-IoT technology that we use is now available across all of Europe, so a core objective for 2021 is geographical expansion of IT’S MY BIKE in collaboration with our OEM customers”, affirms Ullmann. As far as retrofits are concerned, the aim is to further expand the german dealer network and increase awareness among e-bike riders. The introduction of more functions is also planned. These include a customer loyalty feature for specialist bike retailers (push notification), connection to route planning apps, a private e-bike sharing scheme and the integration of an interface to a used bike marketplace. In addition to scaling in the micro-mobility segment, the plan is also to expand the pet supplies segment and develop another business field der industrial refrigerators. “the mid-term goal remains to create a brand landscape under the umbrella of IoT venture GmbH with our scalable business Modell,” stresses Veith.
IoT Venture GmbH company profile
IoT Venture GmbH forms part of the globally active investment and service holding company mind venture AG, which has a workforce of 500 at fifteen locations. IoT Venture GmbH uses the innovative narrowband NB-IoT and LTE-M NB-IoT radio standards in its products. NB-IoT provides a cost-efficient solution for the Internet of Things as a Low-Power Wide-Area Network with low energy requirements, effective building penetration and a wide range. It also offers the advantage that it makes use of existing networks. IoT Venture GmbH’s service include the development of hardware and software (embedded systems), provision of the necessary data platform (cloud-solution) and assistance in developing brand new digital business models. IoT Venture GmbH offers its range for a wide variety of applications across different industries. The IT’S MY BIKE service world for e-bikes is the first application which was successfully launched on the market in 2018. A tracking solution for the pet supplies sector has formed part of the range since late 2020.
IoT Venture GmbH
Director of Corporate Communications
64295 Darmstadt, Deutschland
Tel.: +49 171 781 4562