It’s the third time that the company, which accepts bookings primarily via its dedicated web app, has sought funding through the platform Crowdcube.
The first took place in October 2018 when it raised £352,580 in just a few days, beating its initial target of £150,000 on the opening day ahead of a launch party for the funding drive that evening.
A further £421,330 was raised in 20129 through a second round of funding on Crowdcube, and the latest campaign went live on the platform on Tuesday.
The initial target of £150,000 was swiftly reached, and with a stretch target of £500,000 now in place, almost £370,000 has been raised at the time of writing.
The company now has 50 staff and a fleet of 52 bespoke Urban Arrow electric cargo bikes, which with their pink-clad riders are a regular sight on London’s streets, whether ferrying passengers or goods around – and even undertaking house or office moves.
As with most other businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the company’s bottom line, but Pedal Me is confident that it can reap the rewards as London starts to emerge from the crisis.
In a video accompanying the latest Crowdcube pitch, co-founder and CEO Ben Knowles says: “This is Pedal Me. We run unique, high-tech cargo bikes made exclusively for us by Urban Arrow.
“These are ridden by trained and tested employees, we carry both people and goods all over London, and we’re here to remove motor vehicle journeys wherever possible.
“Most jobs in cities we can do faster, cheaper and more reliably than any alternative. Our bikes carry as much as a small van and yet completely avoid the congestion caused by them.
“We started with two people riding part-time in 2017, now we have 50, all employed, all paid fairly, no gig economy.
“We are pioneering. We are demonstrating the real potential of cargo bikes and we’re not just using them to beat vans and taxis at their own game – we’re completely changing the rules.
“Logistics companies globally are now trying to use cargo bikes – they have to – but they can’t do it anywhere near as well as us, and we’re only just getting started.
“Now is our moment, and the opportunity is vast. As London reopens we will need to go flat out to keep up with that demand and grab as much of that £1 billion market share as we can, continuing to flourish.
“More bikes and more staff gives us more scale and makes us increasingly more efficient.
“That, backed by the tech efficiencies augmenting those scale efficiencies will make us fly,” he added, inviting potential investors to “join us on our mission to reshape our cities and our future.”
The company is already putting its latest investment to use, confirming on Twitter that it has ordered a further 10 bikes as well as bringing forward the recruitment of a developer to join its team (the job spec can be found here).
While Pedal Me’s fundraising drives on Crowdcube have proved phenomenally successful, one early attempt to secure backing did not go so well.
In an episode of the BBC show Dragons’ Den that was filmed before the company’s 2018 Crowdcube debut, but which only aired in January 2019, Pedal Me’s plans were dismissed as “delusional” by fashion mogul Touker Suleyman.
More than two years on, that looks very much like a case of one that got away.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.