VanMoof, the e-bike startup backed by venture capitalists, has officially been declared bankrupt by the court of Amsterdam. The court has appointed two trustees to explore the possibility of selling the company’s assets to a third party in order to keep it running.
The court of Amsterdam has declared bankruptcy for VanMoof's Dutch legal entities and appointed two trustees to explore an asset sale.
Legal entities outside of The Netherlands are not involved in the proceedings, but stores have been closed globally since last week.
Cowboy, a rival company, has built an app to unlock VanMoof bikes as their working is tied closely to the use of the VanMoof app which will no longer be supported.
It is unclear what will happen to customers who have purchased bikes that have yet to be received or those whose bikes are being serviced.
It is uncertain if anyone would want to assume the assets of the failed startup due to its unit economics never working out and a rival company being able to build an app in a day to unlock its bikes already in the market.
Stores in San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, and Tokyo remain open, while the rest have closed. The company has provided some information on how to unlock a bike without the app, the status of repairs, refunds, and information for suppliers. Legal entities outside of the Netherlands are not affected. It has been a challenging period for VanMoof, with sales paused, customer complaints, and financial difficulties leading to insolvency proceedings.
The company had hoped to avoid bankruptcy by seeking a suspension of payment provision, but it was ultimately unsuccessful. The impact on customers who have yet to receive their bikes or require servicing is unclear. However, current owners with functioning bikes can still use them, with efforts being made to enable bike unlocks through alternative apps. The future of VanMoof and its assets remains uncertain, as the economics of the bikes and the availability of unlocking apps raise questions about potential buyers.