Daily Archive: April 16, 2024

New hope for VanMoof as troubled ebike maker resumes sales

Dutch ebike maker VanMoof has begun selling ebikes on its own website once more, following an almost year-long hiatus after it went bankrupt in July last year.  

The models on offer are refreshed versions of the S5 and A5, which were first released in 2022. Although the upgraded ebikes look exactly the same, they’ve been re-engineered in almost every aspect, says the company’s co-CEO Eliott Wertheimer.

While this is just the beginning of VanMoof’s lengthy relaunch, the ability to sell bikes directly once more “represents an enormous milestone for us as a company,” Wertheimer told TNW.

Before declaring bankruptcy, VanMoof had been making major losses on its ebikes for years. The high-tech, proprietary parts that made the bikes so appealing — but meant they could only be serviced by VanMoof itself — proved to be the company’s Achilles heel. 

TNW Conference 2024 – Calling all Scaleups to join on June 20-21

Showcase your scaleup in front of investors, change-makers and potential customers with our curated Scaleup package.

Overnight, hundreds of thousands of riders across the world were left with a software-heavy bike worth thousands of euros that could not be fixed or upgraded anywhere.

Getting VanMoof back on track

Thankfully, for those (if any?) still loyal to the VanMoof brand, the company was bought out of administration three months later. The new owner is LaVoie, an e-scooter maker that falls under McLaren Applied, an offshoot of the British motorsport racing business.

LaVoie inherited the tough task of putting a cash-hungry brand with a load of angry customers back on track. 

Released yesterday, the refreshed S5 and A5 models include new firmware that has fixed some bugs and improved connectivity between the bike and the smartphone app. On the hardware side, the ebikes have more robust waterproofing, a stronger motor bracket,

Read the rest

Outrage: Rampant coastal development in Egypt

In February 2024, a controversial US$35 billion deal was agreed between the Egyptian state and the UAE’s state investment vehicle for the development of Ras Al Hekma, considered one of Egypt’s most prized Mediterranean beaches. Since 2013, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have been competing with globalist institutions such as the IMF for control of Egypt’s economy, with land and property sold in an attempt to save the country’s ailing economy. 

The development of Ras Al Hekma is part of Egypt’s construction frenzy amid collapsing currency valuation, a mountain of debt and high inflation. Other major projects, led by the state and funded by unclear sources, include the New Administrative Capital near Cairo, as well as a new city on the Mediterranean coast at El Alamein. The anonymity of the architects of the city is matched by the anonymity of its architecture; the fifty towers completed or in construction are copy‑paste designs that can be found in many developments hastily constructed around the world: evidence of the flattening power of global modernity. A group of six towers mimic the 2010 Marina Bay Sands towers in Singapore designed by Moshe Safdie, but with far less architectural finesse and at a smaller scale. 

Development along Egypt’s other coast, on the Red Sea, began after the 1979 peace treaty with Israel and the eventual return of the Sinai Peninsula to Egyptian sovereignty. Hotels were built in seaside resorts, most notably Sharm El Sheikh, to host package tourists primarily from Germany, Russia, the UK and Italy. These highly controlled tourist developments were designed for international guests; Egyptians were – and still are – obliged to show identification at checkpoints merely to enter the peninsula. 

The Mediterranean coast, on the other hand, was not marketed to international tourists, and instead attracted wealthy Egyptians, mainly from

Read the rest

Marketing Agency Has Travel, Tourism Agenda

Marketing Agency Has Travel, Tourism Agenda
Maddie Davis, Daniel Martin and Christopher Salling in their Hermosa Beach office.

Hermosa Beach marketing firm Paolucci Salling & Martin Communication Arts plans to bolster its travel and tourism offerings as it celebrates its 35th year of business.

The company recently hired Amanda Larson as its new director of business development for placemaking, travel and tourism. And company President Daniel Martin projects that PSM’s headcount will grow significantly this year as it doubles down on destination-related clients as well as its bread-and-butter residential focus.

“We have a projected growth plan this year. It’s much more aggressive than it’s ever been,” Martin said. “That is probably 25% growth by the end of the year. For a small-ish business, that represents a significant expenditure. I would guess we’ll have anywhere between eight to 10 new people this year.”

Formed in 1989, PSM offers branding, media, advertising, social media management, web development, video production and public relations services. Initially based out of Palos Verdes Estates, one of the company’s first placemaking clients was the former Ocean Trails Golf Club, which infamously went bankrupt when part of the course slid into the ocean during a landslide.

Martin became a partner in the company 15 years ago, on the tail-end of the 2008 financial crisis that left PSM with millions in unpaid billables. The company weathered that and has been rebuilding successfully since.

“We haven’t had to do any reductions in staff,” Martin said. “We went from 2008, with about 12 people, to now, with about 30 people.”

PSM’s client list is extensive, including the likes of the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. Live, Metropolis Los Angeles, Chevron El Segundo Refinery, Torrance Memorial Medical Center and Redondo Beach Tourism. It is currently launching 425 Palm, a luxury residence community in Beverly Hills

Read the rest