Cycling startups are accelerating the transition to smooth mobility

Although France has a historically strong position in the world of cycling, both industrially and sportingly with the Tour de France, there are many problems in dealing with the many social and behavioral challenges linked to the development of new forms of mobility. Eric Dodin, president and co-founder of CyclingTech France, the new association launched by and for cycling entrepreneurs, answers our questions about the impact of cycling startups on mobility.

In the wake of the covid crisis, uses and initiatives around the bicycle have exploded. Public authorities have also taken up the subject and the report on the bicycle sector by Guillaume Gouffier-Cha posed the main challenges for France: development of new forms of mobility, revitalization of territories, reindustrialisation. Since November 2022, the bicycle has also become a priority axis of the Government with the General States of the Bicycle that brought together 5 ministers, proof of the universality of the bicycle and its impact on the whole of society: environment, employment, reindustrialization, regional planning, health, integration.
Furthermore, cycling start-ups around the world have established themselves among the most dynamic in the last 3 years. Thus, Zwift, the home training app in virtual worlds, has raised more than 600 million dollars and reaches more than 5 million users worldwide.
According to the international firm Roland Berger, France is not far behind with 100 million euros raised between 2021 and 2022 by CyclingTech players. In this context, the recent launch of Cycling Tech France is a further step in representing cycling startups that are equipped with a collective tool equivalent to growing sectors such as Fintech or Insurtech.

Eric Dodin, who are you and what is CyclingTech?

Multiple ways to introduce yourself! Developer-manager (somewhat senior!) of companies, until recently CEO/CEO of AssurOne, a very innovative insurance distributor. Passionate about cycling, frantic and convinced of the preponderant role of this “Swiss army knife” solution in the challenges of today’s world (I have 4 daughters!). Finally, I am very involved with several start-ups, namely in cycling, as a (micro) investor and voluntary support to creators (adviser). And then I participated in the creation of a start-up in early 2022 (Sorius).
In short, when we mix it all up, when we add committed exchanges with businessmen, a deputy, other believers… we arrive at the creation of CyclingTech France.
CyclingTech France is a group of start-ups (40 joined the movement on July 5, 2022 for the launch) that seek to gain more visibility and influence with all stakeholders: financial, technological, industrial, associations and public authorities.
And then why Technology? This was necessary because this word is now associated with innovation, entrepreneurship and has global resonance.

What are the challenges for players who are members of CyclingTech France?

CyclingTech France has a key role to play in the economic growth of new cycling players, all activities combined.
In addition to what members can find in the ecosystems already present, CyclingTech France will be successful if, collectively, the members manage to highlight the specific challenges of a startup on the bicycle between visibility of the actions of public authorities, fundraising, profitability of the “bike”. models, active and positive integration of CSR issues, active promotion of “Made in France”, etc…
We are convinced that the collective and specific energy that CyclingTech France will create will bring its originality, its impact and its contributions. All this in the context of the 2024 Olympic Games – being in Sportech’s winning dynamics – and smooth mobility!
This type of dynamic also exists in many sectors: education, automobile, insurance, for example.
Finally, we obviously have to think beyond borders and build links with similar organizations around the world.

How is this a strategic issue for France?

France must sustainably take its place in the world’s top 3 for the new bicycle economy. The new professions and services being created will support the country’s growth, potentially creating more than 200,000 jobs in 15-20 years with a profound impact on the development of our streets, cities and landscapes. It is also the possibility of contributing to the re-industrialisation of the French industrial fabric. And of course, there is also the crucial success of environmental issues!
A great and positive revolution is underway!
It affects leisure, of course, as much as safety with knowing how to ride, logistics (cargo bike), technology (engines, manufacturing materials), transport (B2B bike rental), associated services or circular economy. When we know that the number of VAE sold per year will double by 2028 to exceed one million, the potential is huge.
France already has its place, and in particular the start-ups that come to support it, which are hyperactive and determined ambassadors of innovation in all areas.

Just look at the many actors – historical or recent – ​​who are betting on the success of these challenges around cycling and smooth mobility, and on strengthening the cycling sector with the appointment of a general manager. CyclingTech France will therefore be an additional asset, the stakes deserve it!

Can you summarize for us in a few lines the challenges and upcoming events for CyclingTech France?

After a very enthusiastic and voluntary launch phase… and limited resources, 2023 should allow CyclingTech to establish itself permanently in the ecosystem. For this, we focus on 3 axes:

  • The hyper-involvement of associates: networking, governance, lectures, events and conviviality
  • Contributions and work themes for the year: innovation, finance in particular
  • In-depth work on innovation with strong support that will lead to a landmark contribution publication by the end of the summer.

We are going to open our doors more to those who contact us to contribute to our collective and, since our launch, there have been many.
Therefore, strong motivation from everyone, both from the original office and from many members. The enthusiasm is there, now it’s time to live up to expectations!

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