The “Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg” fund, created by “Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg” (ILB) on behalf of the Brandenburg Ministry of Economics and managed by bmp, has invested in HNF GmbH. Founded in November 2014 and based in Biesenthal near Berlin, the company has set itself the goal of developing next-generation e-bikes and marketing them with a new concept.
In its first phase, HNF – which stands for Hecken, Nicolai & Friends – will launch a completely new, forward-looking e-bike product line to capture the imagination of an ever younger and technology-friendly public. In its new product line the team will continue to advance and uphold what it already proved with its first e-bike brand Grace and the smart e-bike for Daimler AG. e-bike pioneers Michael Hecken and Karlheinz Nicolai will pour all the experience they have gathered since 2008 into the new HNF model range. From the S-Pedelec city bike to the top full suspension mountain bike, they are currently working on the next generation of e-bikes, which is to be launched in the autumn of 2015.
Germany is already by far the biggest market for e-bikes in Europe today, and the trend of recent years is continuing: Whether for an everyday route too long or steep for a standard bike, or for journeys with a child transport trailer – there are a lot of arguments for a bicycle that helps riders on their travels with an electric motor.
Michael Hecken, founder and managing director of HNF GmbH, explains: “I am delighted that after Grace we are finally doing something that we’re really good at again: building the best and coolest e-bikes in the world. We are also going to be using a sales concept that will first see our e-bikes being sold at electrical goods stores. We are very much interested in the excellent quality of our top e-bikes on delivery, including with regard to our second key sales channel: direct sales on our own website.”
The founders are also exploring new avenues in sales strategy. Today more than 90% of all bicycles are sold by specialist cycling retailers. Benjamin Börries, also founder and managing director of the company, added: “The e-bike industry still has a high standard defect rate, which means that there is still the potential for improvement as well. Specialist cycle shops also do not yet all have the necessary expertise for maintaining and properly repairing e-bikes. Our concept is therefore to pay particular attention to ex works delivery quality, in addition to a professional direct service for consumers. Our direct marketing strategy will not be successful until then.”
Andreas van Bon, member of the Executive Board of bmp, said: “The founders of HNF have already proved their technical expertise and knack for good design with the company Grace Bikes. We trust that HNF can continue these successes and that it will establish itself as the market leader, thanks as well to its marketing concept.”
About BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg GmbH:
BFB Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg GmbH (Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg) invests in young, innovative companies in the State of Brandenburg with the aim of strengthening the equity base of these companies in the early phase. The fund, which has a volume of EUR 25 million, was designed and set up by InvestitionsBank des Landes Brandenburg (ILB) on behalf of the Ministry for Economics and European Affairs of the State of Brandenburg. 75% of the fund’s resources are provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), 20% by budget funds of the State of Brandenburg and 5% by bmp Beteiligungsmanagement AG. bmp (www.bmp.com ) has been commissioned to manage the fund. In addition to HNF GmbH, the fund’s current portfolio comprises 23 other Brandenburg companies.
With a background in and experience of more than 120 investments in almost all technology segments, and more than 50 exits in the form of IPOs and trade sales, bmp Beteiligungsmanagement AG is one of the most experienced venture capital investors in Germany. bmp also advises the listed company bmp media investors AG (ISIN DE0003304200).
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