UCL has been hailed as a “shining example” for supporting student entrepreneurs by the Guardian in an article about whether universities are doing enough to help students start new businesses.
UCL graduate raises £180,000 from Crowdcube for new electric folding bike
29 October 2013
UCL graduate Marcin Piatkowski has raised £180,000 of investment for his new folding electric bike design, Jive Bike.
The bike – the first of its kind – is constructed from aluminium and is chainless, being propelled instead through enclosed drive shafts linked to the pedals instead of a chain.
An electric motor in the hub of the front wheel provides a top speed of 15.6mph when being used instead of pedal power, with a range of 20 miles before a charge is needed. The bike charges fully in just two hours, and is designed to be fully foldable down to the size of a small suitcase to aid commuting.
As a result of the design of the fold, the bike can be wheeled to its final location. The bike weighs in at 15 kg because of its aluminium frame, despite the extra additions of batteries and motor.
Marcin, 25, came up with the idea while studying the Msc Technology Entrepreneurship at UCL in 2012. He has been supported by the university to develop his idea through winning a £15,000 Bright Ideas Award and also won a business plan competition organised by UCL Advances, the university’s centre for entrepreneurship, which provided Marcin with a further £10,000 in funding.
Of the £180,000 investment raised on Crowdcube, individual investments range from as little as £20 to more than £50,000.
The money will be used to bring the bike, which is now at the last stage of product development, into production, with the first finished products rolling off the production line in summer 2014.
Orders for the bike – which will retail at an anticipated price of £1500 – have already started rolling in since the investment round concluded.
Speaking after raising the funding, Marcin Piatkowski, founder and developer of Jive Bike, said:
“Jive Bike will make commuting a totally different experience. From the outset we have kept weight as low as possible, both through the use of aluminium and also through keeping batteries small and light.
“Other electric bikes exist with a further range but for commuters in cities – which the bike is built for and who have already made up a big block of interest – a range which gets them to the office and back, with a rapid charge, is ideal.
“Our intention was to design a product that offers benefits of having a bicycle, without any lifestyle compromises. I think we have succeeded.”
Jive has been supported by UCL Advances