I'm quite excited to give you an early peek into our latest OEM deal!
(With a very unusual origin.)
March 2020, and the first COVID shutdown orders are crippling economies in the US and Europe. French entrepreneur and strategist Emmanuel Nizard hatches a wild plan.
The supply of medical masks is backed up everywhere, and almost entirely dependent on Chinese production that has also ground to a halt from lockdowns. France has 100 million masks stockpiled, only enough for 1.5 masks per citizen, and practically no domestic production.
Even if the French Government wants to issue a mask mandate, there are simply not enough available in the world for this to be practical.
By March 31st the death toll in France tops 3,000, and President Macron issues a plea for domestic manufacturers to re-tool for protective equipment, with a goal of boosting production from 3.3 million to 40 million masks/week.
Luckily, Nizard already has this wild plan in motion. In just two months, he starts the company Le Masque Francias, hires 150 people, and tools up a factory in Vélizy that can now produce over 400,000 masks every day.
Obviously, demand for masks swings wildly depending on the current state of infections, making the future of this assembly line uncertain. But building self-sufficiency in critical industries while reinvigorating domestic manufacturing is a French ideal Le Masque Francias intends to uphold.
And now, Mr. Nizard is betting he to do the same for local transportation as he has for protective equipment. How? With a new E-bike, of course.
Global supply chains are still out of whack, and the bike industry is no different. So Le Masque hunted us down because they know we do what it takes to deliver the highest quality drives about 5X faster than other major players.
Veer will be the exclusive launch supplier for Le Masque's urban e-bike, and I'm excited to belt them up for this next wave of (much more positive) change.
Why? There's a couple reasons:
I'm fired-up about supply chain and building in resiliency. Veer is currently "onshoring" more of our production in an effort to speed up manufacturing, lower environmental impact and risk of delays, and maintain fantastic quality. I'm not nationalistic, but I sure do love supporting American manufacturing and jobs while lowering the carbon footprint of our products.
The leadership at Le Masque Francias are amazing at sourcing and at tooling up production very quickly, which is great to watch and work with, despite the aggressive timetables we are under.
I'm also fired up about all this new bike infrastructure I'm seeing everywhere, and apparently so is France. For example, Paris is currently removing 70% of street parking to install 1,400 km of bike paths. Infrastructure like protected bike lanes make the difference between Biking: a dangerous hobby and Biking: a safe, essential tool.
Is it working? Looking like it: the number of Parisian cyclists is up over 70% from last spring, with 15% of all trips made by bike in the French capital.
Biking around European cities happens to be one a of my favorite things to do, so this is dang cool. What else is cool is that soon, you'll be able spot a genu-wine Split Belt in the Wilds of France, making someone's commute safer and more joyful.
Founder & CEO