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With the end of the year in sight, it’s time to take a look back at what 2016 had to offer. What’s clear is that the startup industry is still flourishing, with many young entrepreneurs that have plenty of innovative, disruptive ideas for the future. The following days we will be looking back at the startups that stood out to us particularly, and ask them about 2016 and their plans for the future. Today: the folding e-scooter of GiGi.
Electric and foldable
It was a world first when Amsterdam startup GiGi introduced their scooter. It is electric, like the Bolt and Gogoro. But GiGi also folds up, which means it can be reduced to the size of a big suitcase. You can take it in the train, or keep it in the trunk of your car. Right after the launch we got to take GiGi for a spin. We found that it is absolutely adequate for short rides within the city limits. GiGi left loud stinky Vespa’s eating dust at the stoplight, which was a very satisfying experience. And the unusual design of GiGi managed to turn heads wherever we went.
Loads of attention
Turning heads proved to be absolutely no problem, says CEO and founder Stijn Enneking. “Straight from the launch of the scooter, we got a lot of media attention.” But other than that, he has been on a bumpy road with his scooter. “Despite the positive effect of the attention, we sell dozens – not hundreds – of the GiGi. We’re happy with the result. But tens of thousands of Facebook-likes and pageviews on our website are in sharp contrast with the sales. This is normal with a product like this, especially an electric scooter. But hey, the GiGi is slowly gathering fame. There are currently 1.2 million scooters and mopeds in The Netherlands. Only 24.000 of those are electric. This year around 4000 e-scooters are being sold. It is still a small market.”
After an extensive and thorough period of testing, launching the actual product was the biggest step for GiGi. 2016 was the year in which the company had to prove itself. “Everyone that sees the GiGi thinks it is a fun and cool product. But will they buy? After all, GiGi was the first of its kind.” With the Netherlands as testcase, Enneking is now looking across the border. “Now that we are actually selling in The Netherlands, we can talk with international companies to realize our next step.”
Signs are good
As bumpy as the road might be, Enneking is still comfortably in the saddle and goes full speed ahead: “We want to increase our sales in The Netherlands, but most of all start a strategic partnership with a large production or distribution partner to bring GiGi to the rest of the world.” Luckily the signs are mostly positive. “Politicians want to get rid of the polluting scooters powered by fossil fuel. Trend analysis also points to a growth of electric transport. And the introduction of the electric Vespa planned for 2017 will certainly make riding e-vehicles more popular. The current results are a bit behind, but this will certainly change.”