Five From Finland
These Finnish companies are pedalling fast to get noticed on the global biking scene!Julia Bushueva
In celebration of spring, dust off the two-wheeler and take a spin with these bike-related Finnish companies.
With the weather improving rapidly this time of year, getting about on two wheels is a great way to kick-start the warmer months. These five bike-related Finnish companies are at your service.
Founded in 2013, this high-end mountain bike producer focuses on getting off-road with a range of two-wheelers that go to great lengths to provide a superior riding experience. Taking an innovative approach to the industry and willing to push boundaries, the company strives to produce safe, effective and easy bikes.
“We test everything and try to be scientific with product design,” founder and CEO Leo Kokkonen informed us. “We are also thinking differently and openly; we have not founded the company on secrets or a simple-minded stubborn way to think.”
Sourcing the latest technology, Pole Bicycles launched its first electric bike, called Voima (‘power’ in Finnish), in June last year. Since then, the model has gone through a series of upgrades to make it one of the most agile and reliable e-bikes on the global market.
For Pelago, creating stylish bikes is not just about making money; it’s also about the desire to represent cycling and enhance the overall cycling experience for consumers.
Sparked by a passion for cycling and founded in 2009, the company has been expanding steadily ever since with many distributors across Europe and beyond. In 2020, for example, Pelago started selling its bike accessories in the US.
With exports making up a significant share of the sales, Pelago believes that the “Finnishness” of the bikes is a good selling point as there’s a certain exotic element to owning a Finnish bicycle.
“As cars have been the traditional status symbol, maybe bicycles can be too,” noted co-founder Timo Hyppönen. “They say something about people’s values.”
While the demand for ecological transport is heating up around the globe, this Tampere-based startup is set to shake up the industry by turning e-bikes into fully customisable platforms.
Instead of making e-bikes of its own, the company focuses on designing a software-first solution that offers unprecedented options for e-bike manufacturers and end-users alike. The market response has been strong: the manufacturer of intelligent e-bike drive systems opened a German subsidiary in 2020.
Over a short period of time, the Revonte ONE drive system has become the leading choice for powering e-bikes even in such a demanding category as cargo e-bikes. Revonte ONE is now trusted by UK-based Assisted Vehicles Limited (EAV) and fellow Finnish company Ouca Bikes, among others.
“Our long-term plan is to be a market leader in the business,” stated CEO and co-founder Otto Chrons. “A different thing is how you measure it; I don’t think we’re aiming for the biggest volumes or turnover, but rather a feel or a sense of leadership.”
Disappointed by electric cargo bicycles available on the market, Oulu-based entrepreneurs Tuomas Alapuranen and Jani Sipilä decided in 2019 to start building their own cargo e-bikes, focusing on quality, durability and sustainability. As a result, Ouca Bikes, with its fresh and innovative approach to cargo e-bike design, was born.
“From the beginning, it was clear that we needed numerous partners. The product development has been done by more than 50 people,” Sipilä told. “It has been great to see that Finland has the necessary production capacity, knowhow and enthusiasm to join us in the development of sustainable and emission-free means of transport for people and goods.”
According to Sipilä, the European cargo bike market is growing rapidly, with two million units projected to be sold in 2030 and the annual sales to amount to nearly 10 million euros. Ouca Bikes is planning to lead the pack with three different models: Ouca Space, aimed at courier services; Ouca Transport, a highly versatile e-bike for transporting both goods and people; and Ouca Kiddiebus, designed for transporting up to eight children.
Recently, Ouca has been busy with testing the prototypes in the harsh conditions of Northern Finland to make sure the e-bikes will endure whatever Mother Nature throws at them and is planning to launch mass production at the turn of the year.
What’s the point of having a bike if it’s not rolling nicely? This fast evolving startup founded in 2016 by two childhood friends conveniently brings bike service straight to your doorstep. Yeply has a fleet of vans transformed into service stations that drive around neighbourhoods and service bikes, returning them ready the same day.
What significantly boosts the company’s operational efficiency and makes it very different from the competitors is a specially developed digital platform that records every bike, service and customer, as well as offers real-time insight on the company’s sales and marketing.
“This is a very different approach from traditional brick-and-mortar shops,” stressed co-founder Tommi Särkkinen. “We like biking, but we also want to create a profitable business.”
Currently active in 77 cities in Finland, Germany and the Netherlands, Yeply in March secured 2.5 million euros in a seed funding round led by Helsinki-headquartered Inventure. According to the investors, Yeply is well positioned to become “the largest bicycle maintenance service provider” in Europe.
Originally published in May 2019. Updated in April 2022