International e-bike company in gear for UK expansion

Start-up Calamus, an e-bike company founded in India, is making its journey into the UK market, thanks to a place on the Birmingham Enterprise Community (BEC) FORWARD accelerator scheme.

Calamus is now in line to receive full support and backing to help establishIt UK headquarters in Birmingham.

Calamus is the first business to be welcomed onto the third cohort of the innovative FORWARD programme, which was launched back in 2019.

The start-up has been selected for the FORWARD programme to build on the success it has notched-up overseas, and adapting it for the UK & European market.

Calamus has already secured pre-product orders of its newest model – known as the world’s safest and most advanced electric bike – of nearly £460,000 via Indiegogo.

Choosing Birmingham as its first UK base, Nilesh Bothra, co-founder & CEO at Calamus, is looking forward to bringing the technology to the region, which is on track to get its Clean Air Zone off the ground in 2021.

Bothra said: “We’re excited to be creating a base in the UK with the help of Birmingham Enterprise Community’s FORWARD accelerator scheme. Being here means we can tap into the needs of our customers even better: Europe is our region of highest demand and we want to make sure we exceed customer expectations in terms of the product quality and experience.

“Being involved with the FORWARD programme is a dream come true for any start-up. It will offer us many perks; providing the right environment and support for growth, and allowing us to be part of an active community of established entrepreneurs. Added to that, being placed in one of the most prominent start-up hubs in the EU will mean much-needed exposure in one of our most loved regions.”

Despite trading through the global pandemic, Calamus has seen a strong growth in sales of its eco-friendly e-bikes.

However, it has not been without its issues: while the last six months have seen an increase in the adoption of sustainable modes of personal mobility, coupled with a rise in people’s consciousness around healthy living, the start-up has had to navigate the knock-on effects of Covid-19 to its supply chain and logistics.

“While the pandemic has certainly posed challenges, we’ve managed to navigate these and still see a healthy growth in the number of pre-orders received. We launched our campaign on Indiegogo last year and from June of this year we started taking pre-orders exclusively through our website and are seeing around a 5-10% increase in pre-orders every month,” said Bothra.

Calamus will start its six-month placement on the scheme in January 2021, with Birmingham Enterprise Community offering an additional four to five places on the programme.

CEO of Birmingham Enterprise Community, Daniel Evans, said: “What we’re seeing emerge at the moment – no doubt as a result of Covid-19’s impact on the economy – is a wave of new entrepreneurs and start-up businesses that are creating new solutions that challenge what we had always considered ‘normal’. This pioneering approach and this fresh perspective on what we want – and in fact demand – from a post-pandemic world is being shaped now, and I’m thrilled that BEC is able to provide the support to take these ideas from inception to reality.

“We are tremendously excited to be signing Calamus as the first start-up on our next cohort of the FORWARD Accelerator programme. I have no doubt that it is going to achieve monumental success here in the UK & Europe, and I know I speak on behalf of the entire BEC team when I say that we cannot wait to see what is in store.”