Part Henry Ford and Elon Musk with a pinch of Sam Walton, Dean Becker is about to change the e-bike industry by mass-producing affordable quality e-bikes. Becker, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ROKiT Made, shares his vision with Auto Futures.
Becker is no novice when it comes to starting innovative cutting-edge new companies. He
started and sold the largest pager company in America to a public company and is credited with creating the term ‘beeper’. He also pioneered selling intellectual property rights and advised behemoths Google, Apple, and Microsoft in the area of intellectual property.
ROKit Made is part of the ROKiT Group of Companies that sells wireless, cell phones, and tequila beer and sponsor e-racing. Becker’s fellow Co-Founder, Jonathan Kendrick, is a serial entrepreneur in the tyre, wireless and luxury beverage sectors.
“I’m an environmentalist. The most exciting thing is to do something for the good of the earth. I live in Pacific Palisades. I don’t see why I should take a two-thousand-pound battery in a Tesla to get to my office when I can ride an e-bike with a six-pound battery,” says Becker.
Beyond the environment, he cares about endangered wildlife donating a portion of ROKit Made sales to The Aspinall Foundation.
“Due to Covid people were stuck at home and bicycling was nice because they wanted to connect to nature. However, I live on top of the hill and riding an e-bike up the hill is much easier than riding a regular bike to the top of the hill,” explains Becker.
The small e-bike companies that take about $700 and parts and then sell the e-bikes for up to $2,400 will be facing new stiff competition.
“We’ve made a very big investment. It’s difficult to get people to realize that our thousand dollar e-bike is equal to what other retailers sell for $2,400. It’s something hard to get across. We want to create something of great value. We want to make a really good product because we don’t want to spend all our money on customer service apologizing to people for junk,” says Becker.
The e-bikes will not come in many colours. “Black – just like Henry Ford did for the Model T. It worked for him, why not do the same?” he muses.
ROKit Made has broken the competitive $1000 price barrier for e-bikes. The Fortezza, that sells for $999, only requires a $29 deposit. The step-through Fortezza features a USB charger port, handlebar LCD display, suspension fork, suspension seatpost, integrated LED lights, rear rack, kickstand, front/rear fenders and a 500-watt motor.
The e-bikes will be put together with real people with real wrenches in Miami.
ROKiT Made has bought the rights to ten consumer-tested designs from established e-bike
companies and will be licensing more. The company will be introducing a high-end, Italian
designed e-bike, in the future, Becker tells us.
ROKit Made is a private company acquiring many valuable assets. In a short time, the company purchased software that enables peer-to-peer bike rentals for resorts and consumers, SpinLister. The idea is to provide e-bikes for rental programs in resorts, hotels and motels areas by the third quarter of 2021, says Becker. It also acquired Velolet, a retail rental platform for bike retailers.
“E-bikes rent for $65 a day,” Becker notes. Becker announced that ROKit Made has an order for 13,000 delivery e-bikes from a major third party. He likes the idea of e-bikes for delivery bikes because they are easy to use and are less expensive than cars.
The company is aiming for the mass market of e-bikes with a factory in Miami, Florida. Becker says, “It’s better to spend $30 on labour in the US because it’s not that much of the cost of a $1,000 e-bike plus 500 people will have jobs in Miami.”
“The e-bikes will be put together with real people with real wrenches in Miami,” says Becker. ROKiT Made will provide on-the-job training at what is expected to be largest e-bike logistics and assembly facility in the world. Miami is in an enterprise, duty-free foreign trade zone and it’s located near major ports.
“We’re doing it a different way than consumer electronics that first puts out a TV set for $5000 and tries to get the market at the top and then goes down in price. We want to kickstart e-bikes for everybody,” adds Becker.
Unlike other start-ups in the space – Becker notes, “We have no debt.”
ROKiT Rides the Wave
The company’s Winter 2020 Opportunity Presentation reports e-bike designs by Magnum Bikes, Biktrix, Ride1UP, Tuesday Cycles/BikeCo, Daymak, and FLX Bike. The company plans to sell the e-bikes on ROKiT Made’s website, Amazon and Walmart.com with Klarna financing available.
ROKiT Made e-bikes are also planned to be sold to relevant speciality and big-box retailers. The e-bikes share 95% of the same parts and will range in price from $1000-$3000.
Becker says ROKiT Made has just purchased another e-bike company that is 3% of the market share because the company realizes that they will not be able to compete with ROKiT Made prices.
“This is a wave we’re going to stimulate and ride,” says Becker.