Mathias Plouvier : ‘By moving to Antwerp, we shift up a gear in the world of cycling'
Classified Cycling is a game changer in the bicycle industry. The company developed a revolutionary technology that makes shifting faster, without the need of a front derailleur.
Ambassador: Tom Boonen
A top team of Belgian and Dutch engineers specialized in transmission systems stood at the cradle of this innovation in bicycle gears. Co-founder and CEO Mathias Plouvier invited cycling legend Tom Boonen for a test ride last year. That ride was a success. Classified Cycling immediately gained a new shareholder: "Tom Boonen was very enthousiastic. He saw a lot of potential for our growth and internationalization, co-invested and also acts as an ambassador for our brand. Shifting gears with Classified is faster and possible at full speed. That makes a real difference in a sprint or a climb. For example, Boonen lost the 2017 Tour of Flanders due to shifting problems. With Classified he would have won (laughs)."
Classified is now located on the Open Manufacturing Campus on the site of lamp manufacturer Philips. It started this year with the production, assembly and sales of their patented bicycle gear. The company also has an R&D hub in Eindhoven, at the High Tech Campus. In addition to the Limburgse Reconversie Maatschappij (LRM) and Tom Boonen, the British investment fund Bridford Investments invested five million euros in Classified. "This capital round gave us the opportunity to invest further in research and development and in production. This way, we are able to meet international demand", says Mathias Plouvier. "We can scale up production locally and deliver from stock, because our network of suppliers is very close. 90% of our parts are made in the Benelux."
Meanwhile, Classified conquers the international cycling world. In recent months, the startup has entered into strategic partnerships with, among others, the Italian Officine Mattio, the German M83, the Japanese Ceepo Gravel Bikes and the American Firefly. Major cycling brands are at the door. Mathias Plouvier: "Top riders like Victor Campenaerts, Marcel Kittel and Antonio Flecha are big fans. And recently - in the wake of the World Expo in Dubai - the Arab world also showed its interest. The United Arab Emirates is also a fast-growing bike market."
Relocation to Antwerp
The rapid growth of Classified Cycling also created new location needs. The city of Antwerp became aware of this, and promptly they made a proposition to move Classified to the city. Plouvier: "With guidance of the city, we have found a new location. In the spring of 2022 we will move to ‘Den Belgica’, a former chocolate factory on the Dam Square, near the trendy Park Spoor Noord. There we will anchor our production, assembly and R&D. Why Antwerp? Because the city offers the innovative environment we need to remain internationally competitive