Wheels that turn standard bikes into electric bikes are closer to commercialisation thanks to Kickstarter & venture capital

Battle of the smart wheels

The Copenhagen Wheel first created a stir in 2009, gaining acres of digital newsprint. Packed with electronics and sensors, the powered rear wheel was developed in America, with advice from Danish innovators. The product is now said to be close to a commercial launch and has received $2.1m in funding from Spark Capital.

Meanwhile, the FlyKly Smart Wheel has raised more than $400,000 on Kickstarter and is looking to have product ready in March.

First on the market will be the Copenhagen Wheel. The development of the smart wheel has been led by Superpedestrian of Boston. It recently gained a $2.1m Series A round of funding from Spark Capital with participation from Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp.

Superpedestrian was co-founded by MIT SENSEable City Laboratory associate director Assaf Biderman who helped conceive and develop the Copenhagen Wheel.

"We’re now less than 60 days away from introducing the first-ever commercial model of the Copenhagen Wheel,” said Biderman.

“By throwing a Copenhagen Wheel on your bike, you can ride almost anywhere – hills feel flattened, distances shrunk, and it’s connected through a range of apps that let you control and personalize your bike.”

Superpedestrian is made up of engineers, architects and academics who have worked for companies such as Segway, TeleAtlas, Nokia and MillenWorks, a subsidiary of Textron.

Spark Capital is a Boston-based venture capital firm that manages approximately $1.5b across four funds. Spark Capital has backed companies including Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare.

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