The Babymaker e-bike now ranks among the most successful crowdfunding campaigns of all time. What’s made the Babymaker so successful? High style, innovative construction, and a devoted community of backers.Learn More About Crowdfunding
FLX makes affordable, stylish e-bikes for people around the worldhttps://flx.bike
San Diego, California
Rob Rast, Pete Leaviss
The Babymaker is redefining what it means to be an e-bike. In a world of clunky, heavy pedal-assist bikes, the Babymaker offers a sleek, lightweight alternative at a price point similar to traditional entry-level bicycles -- proving that with good design and a strong following, you can shatter records.
The Babymaker story begins five years ago, when like-minded adventurers Rob Rast and Pete Leaviss met in Beijing during long-term stays abroad. Rob, who was working at an aviation company in China, needed a roommate for his apartment, and Pete answered the ad. They immediately hit it off, sharing stories about their adventures in Beijing and beyond.
“One thing we both kept talking about was how different transportation is in China,” Rob says. “We saw electric scooters everywhere and kept wondering what the States would look like if people rode scooters instead of cars. What would traffic look like? What would transportation look like? What would emissions look like?”
Over the months, Rob and Pete’s conversations evolved from observation to action, and they began to research how to bring the scooter technology stateside. But one issue persisted.
“Those scooters are very utilitarian, but they’re not the most stylish things ever,” Rob says. “So we started thinking about what kinds of transportation would beat traffic, be fun to get around on, but you’d also be really proud to ride. And it just clicked: an electric bike that actually looked good.”
Within a year, Rob and Pete got to work sourcing motors, frames, components, and drawing up unique e-bike designs. They launched their first design, the FLX mountain bike, a year later on Indiegogo, raising $2 million and shipping nearly 3,000 units.
The success of the FLX motivated Rob and Pete to go even further.
“We wanted our second bike to be even sexier,” Rob says. “We wanted it to really turn heads. So we designed the Babymaker.”
The Babymaker is the world’s first single-speed “stealth electric” road bike, which incorporates the best of both worlds — the sleek styling of modern road bikes and the pedal assistance of electric bikes. The result is a bike that lets the rider go fifty miles on a two-hour charge without sacrificing style.
The Babymaker team has also made the bike customizable, allowing backers to choose a standard chain drivetrain and caliper brakes or a corrosion-resistant carbon belt drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes.
“The concept was to design an eye-catching bike, not an eye-catching e-bike,” Rob says. “People stop me all the time to ask about the bike without even knowing it’s electric. That’s the whole idea. You’re going to ride your bike more when you know you look good on it.”
The Babymaker’s unique combination of performance and style has struck a chord with the crowdfunding community. In just a few months, the campaign has raised over $13 million, putting it among the top Indiegogo campaigns of all time.
Why has it been so successful? Rob chalks it up to a devoted following in the backer community.
“The Indiegogo community has absolutely been one of the most important aspects of the Babymaker’s success,” he says. “As entrepreneurs, Pete and I are asking people to trust us with their money, so building real relationships with the community has been so, so important.”
That’s why the Babymaker team made a point to have regular communication with their potential backers, asking questions about everything from colors to features and components.
“We had lots of feedback from the community through surveys and polls, and there’s been a lot of one-on-one communication too,” Rob says. “One backer in particular, Eugene, helped with his feedback on brakes, for example. It really is a back-and-forth conversation, and the answer never seems to be what you thought it would be before asking.”
“Indiegogo’s secret perks were great. They allowed us to offer a really sweet deal for people who’d been following along through the pre-campaign,” he says. “We gave them a one-day head start on the campaign and one hour with the secret perks, and they got it cheaper than the general public could get it. That was huge.”
With a long list of backers on the books, the Babymaker team will be busy during the next few months fulfilling orders. And once the dust settles on this round of e-bikes, the team is excited to start expanding their product line even further.
“We have lots of new products in the pipeline, and we’re going to be launching those with crowdfunding as well, using a similar strategy as our Babymaker and FLX bikes,” Rob says. “All our attention goes into building the best products, and the crowdfunding model helps us do this. It’s a way to share our products with the world in the most efficient way possible.”
All this will help achieve Rob and Pete’s dream of popularizing efficient, zero-emissions modes of transportation like what they saw in Beijing five years ago.
“Ultimately it’s about making the world a better place,” Rob says. “And you should have fun doing it, right? It’s been fun for us building the Babymaker, and our backers are going to have fun riding their new bikes too.”
“And Indiegogo has been an absolute pleasure to work with,” he adds. “To any campaigner looking to launch on Indiegogo, they’ve been incredibly helpful, supportive, and just great overall. Indiegogo has helped us achieve our goals. We’re proof that with crowdfunding, you can really be successful.”