Okawa offers e-bike drive units via a subscription model

From software solutions to heavy-working equipment, B2B subscription services have become increasingly popular in recent years. Over and above the traditional sales model, start-up Okawa’s drive units are also available for its partners via subscription. We take a closer look at the new company that has set up its European headquarters in the Netherlands.

Consumer subscription services, such as Netflix, are omnipresent in the end consumer market as they offer customers convenience and flexibility. Similarly, B2B subscription services are, today, a common way for companies to access products and services they need regularly.

The first of its kind

“Instead of making large upfront investments, businesses can pay a set fee for access to a particular product or service. This model has proven to be particularly beneficial for all kinds of businesses,” explains Jack Brandsen. He is the European general manager at Okawa, an e-mobility start-up focussed on a wide range of e-bike products, including drive units, batteries and displays. With its model of selling e-bike drive units to B2B partners via subscription, the young company is the first of its kind in the world of e-bike drivetrains.

The largest of its kind

“Initially, Okawa emerged from a division of the Yadea Group. The Chinese company is considered a global leader in developing and manufacturing electric 2-wheel vehicles, and with a sales volume of over 14 million e-mobility vehicles per year, it is the largest of its kind in Asia. With the Group’s strong R&D resources and procurement & manufacture power, Okawa currently focuses exclusively on the e-bike market.”

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An innovative business model

“Nevertheless, we did not want to be just another drive manufacturer but further develop the market with an innovative business model. For this reason, we focus on durability, recycling and service,” said Brandsen. “We have a strong focus on quality because that is not only in the interest of the e-bike brand and the user but also in the interest of the system supplier. The result is our subscription model, which allows B2B partners to purchase our drives and use our service,” Brandsen says.

Four main advantages

Instead of a limited warranty, the subscription services contract with Okawa includes the guarantee of relying on a functioning product over its entire life cycle. In the event of a breakdown or damage, two strict principles apply: the e-bike user must become mobile again as quickly as possible, and the service should be particularly easy for the service provider – for example, a local bike shop.

Brandsen points out four main advantages of the business model: “Convenience, predictability, personalisation and cash management,” he says and continues: “Our subscription allows customers to easily access products and services on a recurring basis without the need to reorder or repurchase constantly. It also makes it possible for brands to calculate their expenses better. Additionally, customers can customise the products to their preferences. And last but not least, they don’t need to fully pre-finance a whole series of e-bikes.”

Ready to partner

After having started the business three years ago, Okawa and its European headquarters near Amsterdam are now ready to enter the market and open for partnerships, Brandsen confirms. He adds: “Subscription models are becoming increasingly popular because they provide a steady, predictable revenue stream for businesses and offer convenience and value for customers. At Okawa, we strongly believe they will also play a significant role in the B2B e-bike world.”

This article is sponsored by Okawa