At the opening of the 2017 Megapark, Mickie Krause rolled a strange vehicle with two oversized tires over the red carpet. A round motorcycle headlight shone from the handlebars, he himself sat on a straight seat, which reminded the long saddles of the Bonanza bikes that were made popular in the 70s.
On the request of MZ, Mickie Krause stated: “This is an electric bike. Some friends of mine built it.” Julia Emmert and Ossian Vogel were behind this project, a couple who have been living in Mallorca for nine years. The online marketing expert from Munich and the former helicopter pilot from Lake Constance had founded the e-bike manufacture, Urban Drivestyle, in Palma in 2017 and produce the “Unimoke.” Even though Julia Emmert said that the idea of opening a mega park was not her best marketing idea, “the Ballermann also acts as a deterrent for some,” they have already sold around 1,000 of their bikes in the first year and hope to sell up to 4,000 units in 2020.
Julia Emmert and Ossian Vogel belong to a growing group of company founders in Mallorca. The company is a start-up, which means that their company foundation is based on an innovative business idea that promises a high growth potential. “Hundreds of companies are registered on the Balearic Islands every month,” said the spokeswoman for the state job agency Palma Activa, which helps founders get off the ground. The record month of 2019 was February, with 337 registrations. Among them were many retailers, restaurateurs, craftsmen but also start-ups. The scene is developing and growing very well.
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Registering the company
Julia Emmert and Ossian Vogel were in contact with Palma Activa, but when registering their company, they preferred to use a management company. Also, the waiting list for a room where they could assemble their Unimoke was too long for them. “So I welded together the first models in my garage in the classic way,” said Ossian Vogel. They started their project out of a certain self-interest.
Shortly before they moved to Palma, their daughter Laura was born. “We’ve been looking for an alternative to drive Laura around the city,” said Julia Emmert. They wanted to do that without a car, simply because of the parking situation. Load bicycles and trailers were too big for the narrow streets in Palma. A trip to China gave them the idea of looking into the subject of electric mobility. “In Asia, they are much further along, in terms of micro-mobility,” said Julia Emmert.
Back in Palma, however, they did not really find what they were looking for. “I wanted a vehicle on which the three of us could travel as a family,” said Ossian Vogel. They financed their project by crowdfunding via the Indiegogo website, and $110,000 (€100,000) were collected as start-up aid. A Unimoke is available from $2,746 (€2,490) and is sold via the urbandrivestyle.com website.
“We quickly realized that it took too long to send the ordered bikes to Germany via Barcelona,” said Ossian Vogel. Germany is now the company’s main market, alongside Great Britain, and Belgium. That’s why they have moved their production to Berlin. 15 employees work in the manufactory in Schöneweide. In Mallorca, it is difficult to find technically well-trained personnel. Everything that has to do with conceptual design, however, works well. “In Mallorca, we have a design office, and marketing takes place here,” said Julia Emmert. They now have several models on offer and are certain that “the market for e-bikes is growing,” said Julia Emmert.
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This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the Company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the Company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the Company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.
First published in Mallorca Zeitung, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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