We are proud: EMC2 – eMobility Centre Carinthia

add-e im Pitch:

Magic happened on 17 April 2018 in the 12th and final episode of the channel Puls4 startup show “2 Minuten 2 Millionen” [2 Minutes 2 Million].

The managing director of GP Motion Fabian introduces “add-e”, a retrofit kit that turns an existing bike into a light and powerful e-bike in the blink of an eye, thereby becoming the star of the evening.

The company’s core team developed “add-e” and brought it to market maturity in 2015. For their market launch, they had one of Austria’s most successful crowdfunding campaigns. They were already off to a very successful start, but now it was time to scale up to the next level. The team applied to Puls4 online, were invited to pitch and were soon stood in front of the investors.

At the beginning, the excitement was somewhat limited. It was more the anticipation that we would be there. However, as the date in Vienna got closer and closer, the excitement became more and more intense. You never know how the judges will react in such a short time and whether they will like the product at all.

Fabian and his team were confident that the investors would like the product, but they didn’t expect such an exciting and successful result, and were even moved to tears. After some negotiations, the real estate tycoon Hans Peter Haselsteiner, “business angel” Michael Altrichter, food investor Heinrich Prokop and winemaker Leo Hillinger made an investment of €450,000 – one of the (!) highest of this year’s season – for 26% as well as a TV advertising budget from SevenVentures in the amount of €150,000 for 4% of shares. Investor Katharina Schneider also offered the innovative startup her Mediashop as a sales platform.

Cash € 450.000 26 %
TV advertising € 150.000 4 %
Total € 600.000 30 %

Preparation for the pitch

From the very beginning it was clear that Fabian would pitch, and he had of course practised his performance many times before. The newcomers considered in advance all possible scenarios as to how best to present the product. In the end they had a finished setup, which they had intended to establish in the studio as well. But on the day of recording – as is so often the case in reality – many things turned out differently.

For Fabian, the challenge was how to position himself in the studio. He was aware of the limited time-frame, but also had to bear in mind how the cameras are positioned and how to angle himself so that everything is visible for the investors as well as the camera.  This was all easier said than done with such a small, indiscernible drive unit.

Behind the scenes

On the day of recording, twelve startups made presentations. In order to get the show recorded in time, there was a tight schedule of half an hour per project.

It’s only when you’re in the studio that you see how short this half hour actually is.

Before the actual pitch, interviews were conducted and preliminary shots and various additional sequences were filmed. But in that half an hour, the stage is reorganised, the pitch happens, there’s a round of questions and answers, investment talks, discussions, congratulations, and of course, everything gets disassembled. Naturally, this can all be quite hectic.

The investors

Of course, the team took full advantage of the opportunity and incorporated a few known facts into the presentation. So they were sure that despite Mr Hillinger’s sporting ambitions, he was certain to find the drive “very cool”. They were most looking forward to meeting him and Mr Haselsteiner in particular. They knew that Mr Haselsteiner had already invested in other eBike projects and that they wanted to focus more on the Carinthia bonus, because coincidentally his tendencies in the past seasons were often decisive for the overall mood.

The fact that it unfolded quite differently this time was just as surprising, but also pleasing for us.

The expectations

Of course, Fabian and his team considered very carefully in advance the extent to which an investment would benefit them. It also wasn’t very easy to find a business evaluation that reflected the requested sum of €450,000.

In the end, however, everything came together perfectly, and during the programme they also had the opportunity to briefly review their development plans for the next two years.

History of the company

add-e came into being during Fabian’s studies. The first idea was very simple and actually selfish: he simply wanted more speed and less effort on his journey to university. That’s why, very early on, he added a motor, controller and battery to his everyday bike. To that end, a small e-scooter affectionately nicknamed the “Aunt Paula” had to bite the dust.

However, since the lead acid batteries from said e-scooter quickly became the weak point in the system, he unceremoniously rebuilt it based on lithium batteries, which were still quite uncommon at the time. Shortly thereafter, the battery got smaller than the motor. One thing led to another, and the system gradually became smaller and smaller. He then took up the concept of the friction roller drive and built drives for his bicycle with various mechanical features that were so small and light that they won him several prizes. But at that time, they were still “only” gimmicks, which became more and more honed for certain bicycles as a hobby. Only in 2013, at the end of his master’s degree, did this hobby become a real business model. The “blame” for this lies with the build! startup centre, which acts as an incubator and offers great support in the implementation of business ideas in the Carinthia area. Things have changed somewhat since then. The experiences of those first years were optimised in a business plan and the drive concept was further developed with several further prototypes up to a finished series product that can be mounted on any bicycle. At that point in time, there were still two of them in the company.
However, mass production only really started in 2015 in the wake of the very successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.
You can see that in reality it wasn’t just a moment of “sudden inspiration”, but has in fact been a relatively long path to the finished add-e product. From a sole trader with one employee, to a limited liability company with a current total of eight employees.

Congratulations

We wish our cooperating partner all the best in the world and every success in the future with this powerful and super-light drive that turns any bike into an e-bike. An innovative and ingenious idea, which obviously has a lot of heart and soul in it! Well done!