Eskuta on the road to success – next stop: Europe
15 October 2019
After a successful career in the fashion industry, Ian O’Connor decided to develop a new electric bike / scooter business. Having witnessed the rise of electronic bikes across Asia, Ian expected there would soon be a similar demand in Europe for cheaper and more environmentally friendly transport.
In 2014, Ian began to meet with potential investors with a business plan aimed at taking advantage of the rise in popularity of cheap, ecologically friendly transport options. After 8 months, Eskuta launched in 2015. The product is based on a Chinese design, reengineered for the European eCargo market (electric bikes that deliver cargo), and built at the company’s factory in Nuneaton in Warwickshire.
Eskuta was originally aimed at young people, so they can take advantage of business opportunities without needing a driving license, but since then the market has expanded. The bikes also appeal to commuters tired of sitting in traffic jams and those wishing to reduce their motoring costs.
A chance encounter at a freshers fair in 2016 saw Eskuta partner with Dominoes as their official supplier. It took nearly a year to once again redesign the eBike to support commercial use, but by 2017 Eskuta had the Dominoes seal of approval and had entered the eCargo market.
The last two years have seen Eskuta develop further partnerships with Subway, Pizza Hut, Doordash (a US food delivery app) and Just Eat. They are now the largest supplier of eCargo Bikes in the UK.
To help sustain this growth, Eskuta partnered with Bibby Financial Services (BFS), who provided an Import Finance facility to enable Eskuta to import the parts from China at a time when the business was low on cash, but had new orders coming in thick and fast.
This has allowed Eskuta to invest and continue to expand its global customer base by manufacturing products in even greater volume to match growing demand. The business continues to grow in the UK, and has one eye on the European market, where they have already seen interest.
Ian O’Connor, Managing Director, Eskuta commented:
“When I first started Eskuta the world was a very different place. Cycle companies only believed in ‘leg power’, and motorbike companies only believed in “petrol power” – there wasn’t much space for an electric bike. Recently, there has been a huge drive towards environmentally conscious alternatives to cut costs and reduce carbon footprint.
“The UK government has been supportive of our efforts, and more and more companies are waking up to the benefits. We are currently fund raising so we have the capital to enter the European market and it’s an exciting time for all of us.
“From the start, BFS helped us to focus on the bigger picture. The Import facility we have in place allowed us in the early days to take control of when and how quickly, we wanted to grow our pipeline – it let us be more flexible. More than that though, it was a personal service. Gwen and Elise feel like a part of our team and we work closely with them to find the best solutions to our problems. In today’s tech driven world, that personal element can’t be understated.”
Gwen Geay, Relationship Manager at Bibby Financial Services added:
“Eskuta is a brilliant business that was founded based on a real need. They had fought hard to get their initial funding, but once they had launched to market quickly found their biggest problem was satisfying demand. We helped Ian and his team to keep pace with this demand by strengthening cashflow and we are thrilled to see the business set its sights on further growth ambitions in Europe.”