Need a bike that can flatten hills and shrink distances? A Boston company called Superpedestrian claims it will soon be able to deliver on that promise, thanks to something called the “Copenhagen wheel” and a $2.1 million funding round announced Monday.
According to its website, the Copenhagen Wheel allows you to capture the energy dissipated while cycling and braking and save it for when you need a bit of a boost” The wheel is controlled through a rider’s smartphone, the company says.
In a company press release, Superpedestrian said it was founded by MIT SENSEable City Laboratory Associate Director Assaf Biderman, who helped conceive and develop the Copenhagen Wheel, together with Carlo Ratti, the Lab’s director. Superpedestrian seeks to commercialize the patented wheel technology, which transforms standard bicycles into “hybrid e-bikes.”
The funding round was led by Spark Capital with participation from Tumblr founder and chief executive David Karp.
“With the backing of Spark and David, and a founding team comprised of creative people in the areas of networked computing, electro-mechanics, city planning and design, we’re now less than 60 days away from introducing the first-ever commercial model of the Copenhagen Wheel,” Biderman said in a statement. “It is estimated that two to four billion people worldwide are cyclists, yet most urban areas have grown too large to cycle through. 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.”