UK-based startup Human Forest Tech McCrunch has learned that its newborn “free” e-bike service has been suspended in London this week following “mechanical” issues and a subsequent crash on a user’s motorcycle. The suspension has also seen the company launch several holidays next spring with plans to relaunch using a different e-bike.
The suspension comes just months after Human Forest’s trial in north London – and just two weeks after announcing a 2. 2.3 million badge round in collaboration with the founders of Kabiev and others.
We were shut down by an anonymous source who said they employed startups. He told us that something was wrong with the company’s e-bike and that there had been an accident involving a customer, after which the service was suspended. He also told us that Human Forest fired a group of staff this week with little warning and minimal leave.
Asked about the source’s allegations, Human Forrest confirmed that it had suspended its services in London after a “minor accident” on Sunday, saying it had “had a similar nature” before the crash. Problems were identified but were stopped for “teasing”. Or minor mechanical problems. “
Here is his full statement: “We did not know that the motorcycle was defective. There were similar issues that were suspected to be tampering or minor mechanical issues. We performed additional mechanical checks which we believe have resolved the issue and informed the supplier. We suspended the operation immediately after a minor accident on Sunday. The supplier is now investigating whether there is a more serious problem with the e-bike.
In the first statement, the startup also told us: “There was an accident last week. Fortunately, the user did not suffer. We immediately took all the e-bikes back from the street and we informed the supplier who is investigating. The safety of our customers is our priority. Therefore, we have decided to relaunch in the spring of 2021 with a new e-bike.
Human Forrest declined to provide details about the nature of the defect that led to the suspension, but a spokesman confirmed that all of its e-bikes had been recalled from the streets of London on the day of the crash. Were taken, and questions were raised as to why he did not do so quickly. – Identifying “similar concerns” already, through its own admission.
The spokesman also confirmed that Human Forest had made several job cuts as a result of the suspension.
“We are very sorry that we had to let people go through this difficult time but once the operation is suspended, we can only continue as a business with a significantly less team,” he said. “We tried hard to find a way to get people on board and we looked at alternative contract arrangements or job prospects but unfortunately, there is no guarantee of when we will be able to relaunch. ۔ “
“Employees who have been with the company for less than three months were on probation for one week’s notice, as stated in the contract.” We will pay their salaries by the end of the month. “This is a difficult time to start,” he reiterated.
The e-bikes were used by Human Forrest for a service apparently manufactured by the Chinese company Hongji. – But they are supplied from the beginning of a Germany, called Wonder Mobility, Which offers both B2c and b2b mobility services.
We contacted both companies so that Human Forrest reported an e-bike malfunction.
At the time of writing, only Wonder Mobility responded – confirming this serves as a “mediator” for Human Forrest, but does not provide details about the nature of the technical issue.
Instead, he sent us a statement attributed to his CCO, Lucas Loyers, saying: “Human Forrest supports quality standards and is constantly working to improve its services. To provide the best possible range of services, Human Forest will use the winter break to evaluate its results from the pilot project, in collaboration with Winter Mobility to provide the best and most sustainable solution for its customers. Spring
“Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any information on specific vehicle defects, as we have only acted as an intermediary. Only manufacturer or operator Human Forrest can comment on this.”
In further developments this week, pointing to the competitive and highly dynamic nature of the fledgling micro-mobility market, another e-bike sharing startup, Bolt – Which industry sources suggest that the same model of e-motorcycle is used by Human Forest (similar to e-motorcycle visually, another shade of green). – Closed a few months after launching its e-bike sharing service in Paris. French capital
When we contacted Bolt to ask if he had withdrawn any e-bikes due to technical issues, he refused to do so – saying the Paris closure was a business decision, and It had nothing to do with e-bike hardware issues.
“We understand that there are issues with the suppliers of some other companies. A spokesman told us that the launch has taken place” recently “in Barcelona and will soon be backing more announcements about future expansion. Bolt has not withdrawn any electric bikes from suppliers due to defects.
In follow-up emails, the spokesman further confirmed that he had not identified any defects in the e-bike being tested, nor had he recalled any bikes from its supplier.
Matt Berry, Bolt’s UK country manager, said more in response to a discussion on Twitter about various initiatives in the micro-mobility market. To tweet The claim that: “The hardware in the bolt is fine, all is well, the problems that Human Forrest has are with its intermittent components.”
“The Paris-Prague initiative is a commercial decision to support our wider business in Prague. Paris is a good market and we hope to be back soon.
We asked Human Forest about Barry’s claim that the technical issues with his hardware were related to “besopak components” – but his spokesman declined to comment.
On the e-bike sharing model, Human Forrest intends to offer free trips with ads included in the Twist app. Its marketing is also geared towards advancing the ‘Greener Journey’ message – stating that e-bike batteries and service vehicles are sourced from certified renewable energy sources.