Dutch bicycle firm VanMoof declared bankrupt, founders reveal

VanMoof is bankrupt, the founders of the Amsterdam bicycle manufacturer announced in an internal email. An Amsterdam court declared the business bankrupt on Monday. The founders said they could not turn the tide, and thanked their employees for their efforts over the past 14 years.

“We tried to secure investment to keep us afloat and honor our commitments to customers and employees, but unfortunately, that was not possible. The proposal to other bike companies for a buy-out did not work either,” Taco Carlier, one of the two brothers behind VanMoof, said in the email. “We have no choice but to file for bankruptcy.”

The bankruptcy only affects the Dutch VanMoof entities. The entities in Taiwan, the United States, Japan, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom were thus far unaffected. According to Carlier, they opted for bankruptcy to give the restart of the VanMoof business a better chance. “Potential investors can acquire the assets and activities without taking on existing debt.”

In a separate email to employees, Taco and Ties Carlier said they were “extremely sorry” about the news. The bankruptcy administrators would explain exactly what the step means for employees, they said, thanking employees “from the bottom of our hearts” for their dedication and loyalty. “We’re grateful to each and every one of you and are sorry that we will not be able to see this mission through together.”

“We feel sadness, but most of all, we feel an immense sense of pride for what we have achieved together,” the Carlier brothers said.

Last Wednesday, VanMoof was granted a deferment of payment. The company has been struggling for some time, with warranty coverage among the most serious issues. Many of the bicycles sold had defects, and VanMoof spent a substantial sum on repairs.

Dutch garage chain KwikFit had been carrying out repairs of the expensive bicycles using the company’s bespoke parts. However, the supply of parts has now run dry. The company told several news outlets it was in contact with VanMoof in the hopes of obtaining more spare parts in the future.

In 2021, the most recent year for which figures are known, VanMoof suffered a loss of almost 89 million euros. The company said in that report, released six months ago, that the future of the firm was uncertain.

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