Mobility Solution for Light-Electric Vehicles
When a broken bike chain sent Sean Hacking crashing straight into the pavement in the middle of traffic, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
He created Split Belt, a carbon-fiber belt that made riding a bicycle safer and more reliable. He then took that belt and created a fast-growing startup called Veer.
Since launching in 2019, Veer has achieved year-over-year sales growth of 200%. And its partners include bike manufacturers and retailers around the world. Now the company is introducing its SHIFT Drive System, a similar belt intended to transform the use of light electric vehicles (LEVs) — everything from e-bikes to e-scooters to e-motorcycles.
The electrification of vehicles is happening. But we’re at a transition point. Vehicle technology and components need innovation in order to make global adoption easy and seamless.
One problem is that most e-scooters and bikes still use the same outdated metal chain drives designed for manual-pedal bikes more than 100 years ago. Combustion-engine vehicles use an expensive, heavy gearbox transmission that’s not suitable for EVs. And most e-bikes currently use finicky, failure-prone derailleurs.
Many LEVs lack a method to change gears, causing their electric-drive systems to have trouble operating at the most efficient speeds. This limits range and performance. People will flock to LEVs when they have better battery range, are more affordable, and can offer an enjoyable riding experience. This is Veer’s focus.
This company is targeting a big market. By 2027, the worldwide bicycle market is projected to reach $147 billion. As of 2023, the electric bike market was valued at close to twenty-nine billion dollars. While the electric scooter market was valued at eighteen billion dollars as of 2019.
Veer targets a market size of $240 million, producing two million drives annually — less than one percent of the total chain drives sold for bikes and motorcycles every year.
Veer’s SHIFT is a drivetrain that boosts affordability, range, durability, and performance of LEVs. It eliminates the need for the chain systems and gearboxes that have high costs and require maintenance.
Veer’s system adds efficient shifting capabilities to single-speed drives, giving the motor better performance over a range of speeds. With more efficient shifting, motors and batteries can be smaller and more affordable. This reduces production and operations costs, lowers vehicle weight, and extends battery range.
Furthermore, integration is simple. SHIFT fits smoothly into existing vehicle designs and can adapt to a variety of LEVs without the need for extensive modifications.
Veer has three patents pending for its products, and has received certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The company is a Eurobike Startup award-winner and completed the SDSI startup accelerator program.
Kelly has close to forty years of experience in the cycling industry, including in product development, sales, and operations.
He began his career as a salesman with Fisher Mountain Bikes, where he learned about bicycle design and manufacturing. From there, he began a twenty-four-year stint with Marin Bikes, where he served as Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Product. While there, he scaled the business to sales of more than sixty million dollars.
In addition to his role with Veer, Kelly is a consultant with the bicycle industry.
Sean has a background in science. But it was his experience with a broken bike that encouraged him to start Veer.
Prior to starting the company in 2016, he was an engineer with 10X Genomics, a biotech company. Before that, he was a scientist with Cambrian Genomics, a similar biotech business.
Sean earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biomolecular Engineering from the University of California, Santa Cruz.