CeramicSpeed has today announced that its forward-thinking shaft-drive drivetrain concept, Driven, is formally separating from the Danish brand to become its own business entity, and that the newly formed company is opening up to investors.
In an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews, Jason Smith, lead inventor of Driven, chief technology officer at CeramicSpeed, and now the CEO of Driven Technologies Inc, revealed that the new company is opening itself up to equity crowdfunding, hosted by platform SeedInvest.
As a result, one-third of the newly formed company will be sold to investors, at a total price of one million US dollars, effectively valuing Driven Technologies Inc at the equity crowdfunding cap of $3 million. Albeit the maths of this is complicated somewhat by a 10-per cent incentive, which increases the value to $3.3 million.
According to information gathered from SeedInvest, potential investors will have to stump up a minimum investment amount of $1,000, but as a result of the equity crowdfunding path that Driven has taken, it is open to anyone willing to do so.
The move comes as Driven Technologies wishes to scale up its operation, aiming to get bikes in shops within "two to three years", and bikes underneath professional riders by the summer of 2022.
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"The first six months will be 100 per cent development of the product of the drivetrain itself," Smith told Cyclingnews. "The use of funds will be for R&D for the engineering team, to strengthen the drivetrain, and to get the shifting dialled in.
"The next step is we're most likely going to make either demo bikes or a fleet of bikes to get the drivetrain out there. Possibly put it under a couple of professional athletes for some races, if we can get a few wins with his bike, that'll really take things off. We might also make limited edition Driven bikes for maybe 25 bikes, kind of an exclusive one-time deal.
"Then for the third six months, which leads up to that 12 to 18-month timeframe, we'll work on manufacturing and cultivating the OEM relationships."
Smith admits that the Driven drivetrain's current form isn't much further forward from the prototype models unveiled at Eurobike in September 2019. At that time, there was a shiftable version as well as a separate single-speed version that was rideable under limited load. Progress, he explains, has been severely halted by COVID.
"When we came back from Eurobike, we did some basic development on strengthening the driveshaft, miniaturisation of electronics and the battery, we developed some concepts for faster shifting, and really started looking at some of these ideas for really revolutionary design for a new rear wheel. But nothing newsworthy, and no goals were met at that point.
"We made a decision internally that we wanted to look for external funding, we slowed development down and I took the lead on fundraising. Then just as we're about to get that started, COVID [happened]. I had my first venture capitalist meeting set up and had the bikes ready to go in Boulder and then that specific week, everything just shut down in Colorado, so development and fundraising of Driven were put on hold.
At the time, all marketing talk was aimed at the performance end of the cycling spectrum, with aerodynamic claims, wind tunnel data and the project itself entitled the 'one per cent drivetrain' campaign, alluding to its low-friction and high efficiency. However, Smith explains that Driven is also working on alternate designs that are aimed at e-bikes, commuter bikes and bike-share programs.
"Ultimately, we envision anywhere there's a chain, this could replace it, which means performance down to entry-level. The plan is to go the performance route, but also on the side, look at fleet bikes, e-bikes, and so on.
Read the full interview between Cyclingnews and Smith for more information, or Head to SeedInvest for detailed information on the equity crowdfunding campaign.
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