Super73, the Southern California e-bike company popular among YouTubers and film celebrities, announced that it has raised an impressive $20 million from investors, making it the latest company to benefit from growing venture capital interest after a record year of e-bike sales.
The funding round is Super73’s first and was led by equity firm Volition Capital, which was an early investor in Chewy before its acquisition by PetSmart for $3.35 billion in 2017. With these new funds, the direct-to-consumer e-bike company plans on growing its 75-person staff, improving its customer service operation, and expanding its product lineup, said Super73 co-founder and CEO LeGrand Crewse.
“It was never about bikes, it was never about transportation, it was really about building a lifestyle, a true lifestyle brand,” Crewse said, “and one that stood for the values that we had.”
Founders love to extoll the virtues of their “community” of loyal customers, and Crewse is no different. “We have this incredible community of people that [see] Super 73 and our products [as] much much more than, you’re getting from point A to point B, or we’re getting out of a car or anything else,” he said. “It’s about getting together with other people and forming these new experiences.”
With their long banana seats, parallelogram-shaped frames, upright handlebars, fat tires, and oversized headlights, Super73 helped popularize a style of e-bike that was influenced by the mini-bikes or mopeds of the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. The company’s relaxed, SoCal vibe has helped it earn a following from a growing cadre of A-list celebrities, musicians, and influencers, whose social media posts featuring the bikes are typically as good, if not better, than any paid advertisement. (Please watch Jack Black’s Thor-inspired adventures on his Super73 bike that’s embedded below. It’s so good.)
Crewse said he is proud of the fact that Super73 has never had to pay for any of these celebrity endorsements. “I’ve never but very rarely gone out and even tried to seek that,” he said. “This was all inbound and people coming to us, and I think it speaks to the authenticity of the brand.”
But since Super73 emerged several years ago, mini-bikes have exploded in popularity, with retro-influenced models found all over Instagram and other social media platforms. But as the market becomes flooded with similar-looking designs, Super73 is trying to stay focused on making sure its e-bikes are always the best, Crewse said.
“There’s going to be a race to the bottom, there’s going to be a commoditization that’s going to happen,” he said. “I think that there’s big players out there that are racing towards that. But we’re taking a very different path.”
That different path appears to lead to faster, more powerful e-bikes like the R-series models unveiled in early 2020. More inspired by dirt bikes than Super73’s previous models, the R-series bikes have front and rear suspension, peak 2,000-watt motors, 960Wh batteries, and a top speed of 28 mph. They’re also not cheap, retailing for around $3,250, and not lightweight, tipping the scales at 80lbs.
Bikes, both traditional and electrified, are experiencing a boom in popularity over the past 12 months, thanks in part to the pandemic lockdowns. A staggering $4.1 billion worth of bikes (excluding e-bikes) were sold in the US between January and October 2020, a 62-percent increase over the same period in 2019, according to the NPD Group, which tracks retail trends. E-bikes showed even more momentum, with $490.8 million in US sales for a 144-percent increase year over year.
Consulting firm Deloitte estimated in a report last year that the number of e-bikes in circulation worldwide should reach 300 million by 2023 — a 50-percent increase over 2019’s 200 million.
Investors see a clear opportunity in continuing to fuel that growth. Rad Power Bikes closed on a $25 million deal last February, and then secured a whopping $150 million investment just a week ago. Meanwhile, Dutch e-bike brand VanMoof landed $40 million in September. In total, European VCs poured $165 million into e-bikes in 2019 and 2020, more than the previous four years combined, according to data from PitchBook.
With its investment money in the bank, Super73 plans on rolling out new products in the near future, and while Crewse wouldn’t say specifically what the company is working on, he promised it would expand beyond the company’s current lineup of mini-bike and scrambler-inspired models.
“If it’s on two wheels, you know we’re certainly looking at it,” he said.