Startup of the Day: Gin, a Ukrainian and Indian-founded manufacturer of e-bikes

Gin was co-founded in 2022 in Reading, a suburb of London, by Ukrainian Maryna Vlasenko and Indian Rahul Pushp. The startup produces hybrid e-bikes with a range of over 150-170 miles. One of its main products is GIN X crossbar electric bike, which took more than 6 months of work to prototype. Recenty, the startup secured the first round of investment, totaling £510,000 from a Ukrainian syndicate

In the Startup of the Day column, Maryna Vlasenko and Rahul Push, co-founders of Gin, share the details about the startup’s idea, its product, and future plans.

The Startup of the Day column on AIN.Capital is dedicated to tech projects from all sectors that originated from the CEE countries. If you would like to introduce your project, please fill in the questionnaire.

Tell us about your startup. How does it work?

GIN electric bikes, featuring the GIN Advance BMS (Battery Management System), embody the essence of a modern e-bike. Customer-tested and proven, our hybrid e-bike models provide an impressive range of over 150-170 miles.

At GIN e-bikes, our goal is to transform the daily commuting experience for long-range travelers by offering an affordable and sustainable solution. GIN X, our unique hybrid e-bike, is a game-changer for those seeking eco-friendly mobility.

Our e-bikes not only come at a significantly lower price of £999 compared to the industry average of £1400 but also outperform in terms of mileage (75-150 miles vs. 50 miles), weight (21 kg vs. 28 kg), motor life (5 years vs. 3 years), and battery capacity (666 WH vs. 375 WH).

The startup operates on a direct sales model (D2C) through our website, catering directly to end customers. We sell our electric bikes, offering a diverse range encompassing various models, motor capacities, colors, and additional technical features or frame designs.

How did you come up with the startup’s idea? What was the reason/motivation behind it?

The visionary behind GIN electric bikes is Rahul, bringing over 12 years of entrepreneurial experience in sustainable businesses. Upon relocating to the UK in 2021, he identified the growing prominence of the electric bicycle industry in the country. With extensive practical experience in manufacturing and collaboration with overseas factories, Rahul saw an opportunity to contribute to this rapidly expanding sector.

Before the official launch and initial sales of GIN e-bikes, marked by the arrival of the first batch of 10 bikes from overseas, Marina joined the venture as a second full-time co-founder. Her role primarily focused on marketing and public relations to establish and promote the brand.

How long did it take to reach the prototype or MVP? What did you encounter?

Creating the GIN X crossbar electric bike prototype took more than 6 months. Our primary goal was to surpass the competition while keeping our product affordable (price-wise), which posed the most significant challenge in the entire process.

While making the first version of the bike, we faced some problems, like mistakes in how it looked that we had to fix. When we tested the bikes, we found some issues with the electrical parts, so we had to spend more time fixing them.

When exactly did you launch your product? Or when the launch is planned?

We initially planned to launch our product in early summer 2022, but due to a slight delay in the first shipment of the first 10 bikes, they reached our warehouse by the end of June. Consequently, we rescheduled the official launch to the end of summer, with sales officially starting in late July. The first sale occurred on July 28, and remarkably, all bikes were sold out within 2 days.

During this time, we experienced a surge in website traffic, with memorable moments of 10 sales per day and 1000 customers globally landing on our website daily. All of this occurred with zero investment in traffic and marketing, exceeding our expectations.

Tell us about the startup’s business model. How do you monetize your product?

Our startup operates on a straightforward business model where we provide a physical product available for direct purchase on our website. Our revenue is generated through the direct sales made by our customers. We factor in production costs, and our profit margin is applied on top of that. The key principle behind this business model is to maintain healthy profit margins for each new bike model we introduce.

We also generate additional income through the sales of accessories, including items like padded saddles, phone holders, extra batteries, etc. These accessories have higher profit margins since their production costs are significantly lower compared to the bikes themselves.

What are your target markets and consumers?

Currently, approximately 80% of our sales originate from the UK. However, our strategic plan for the year involves expanding globally into the US and European markets. We anticipate significant growth in these markets, estimating them to be 5-8 times larger than the UK market.

Our target consumer base encompasses several categories:

  • Commuters: individuals who require a bike for daily commuting, traveling to and from work;
  • Delivery riders: people who use bikes extensively, riding for 5-8 hours per day for various delivery services;
  • Leisure and fitness enthusiasts: those seeking bikes for recreational or fitness purposes, reflecting the cultural importance of biking in the UK.

If the startup has already launched the product, what are the results: metrics, income, or any clear indicators that can be evaluated.

Yes, the product is already launched and these are several indicators that we can disclose:

  • Customer retention: we’re achieving a solid 10% month-to-month customer retention rate, showcasing the loyalty of our customer base;
  • Average order value: Our AOV has experienced positive growth, increasing from £1000 to £1150. This reflects the value our customers see in our products;
  • Net promoter score: Our NPS stands at an impressive 4.8 out of 5, indicating a high level of satisfaction and endorsement from our customers;
  • Global reach: we have customers in over 15 countries (UK, US, Spain, France, Greece, Switzerland, Ukraine, Portugal)

What about your team? How many people are working in the startup? If you’re looking for new employees, indicate whom exactly.

In our inaugural year, the core team consisted of just 2 full-time employees: the co-founders.

The remaining team members were outsourced to various roles. For instance, we have approximately 15 individuals employed in our overseas factory responsible for the manufacturing and assembly of our bikes. Additionally, we’ve brought on board two Virtual Assistants (VAs) managing customer care requests, a technician overseeing post-sales maintenance, a marketing team handling paid campaigns, and a separate SEO team. Our logistics partner takes charge of all deliveries, both within the UK and internationally.

Currently, we’re actively seeking a Senior Operational Manager who will play a pivotal role in managing executive tasks and contribute significantly to the ongoing growth of our business.

Have you already raised any investments? Provide us with more details on each funding round: the amount, investors, the purpose of the investment.

We’ve secured our first round of investment, totaling £510,000 from Ukrainian syndicate The primary focus of this investment is to fuel the expansion of our sales. We’re excited about the opportunities this funding will unlock as we continue to grow and enhance our presence in the market.

What’s next? Tell us about your future plans.

We’re gearing up to establish assembly units in Eastern Europe, with a potential location in Poland, and in the UK. This strategic move allows us to take full control of e-bike assembly, customize bikes based on customer requests, and lower down production costs.

Our sights are set on a full-fledged expansion into key markets such as the US and Europe. We’ll be directing our marketing and PR efforts to establish a strong presence in these markets.

Gin is also planning to introduce new e-bike models, including a carbon frame e-bike (an ultra-lightweight option under 15 kg), a cargo e-bike designed for versatile delivery purposes, and a mountain rear suspension electric bike for those off-road adventures.