At the end of April, we reported that Driven, a spin-off of CeramicSpeed, was hoping to crowdfund at least $300,000 USD for its chainless drivetrain.
First shown at Eurobike in 2018, Driven replaces the chain on a traditional drivetrain with a driveshaft that is claimed to offer 99% efficiency. The design was created alongside the University of Colorado Mechanical Engineering Department and Ceramic Speed claims it has all the benefits of a gearbox with none of the drag that comes along with it. More info on the concept can be found, here
Unfortunately, the cost of developing the project grew too high for CeramicSpeed to fund so it spun off the project into the Driven company and sought crowdfunding from the cycling community. The minimum amount needed to raise for the project to continue was $300,000 USD but it actually raised $1 million USD in its first 2 days and currently a further US$600,000 has been received in over-subscriptions that are now on a waitlist in case earlier investors fall through.
CeramicSpeed claims this is the fastest ever fundraise in SeedInvest's history despite a fair amount of criticism about the announcement. However, Jason Smith, Driven CEO, told Cycling Tips
he was "used to the haters" and explained, "we always come up with innovative solutions to the design challenges. And then the haters move on to something else Driven can’t do.
"People look at where Driven is right now, this second, and yes, of course, the cog teeth are too skinny. Of course, the bearings can’t hold that much load… What people forget is that this is not the final product. It’s Driven’s job to solve today’s challenges, for tomorrow’s revision, and the next revision, which I’m confident we will.”
This is the second incredibly rapid crowdfunding we've seen in recent months with Atherton Bikes raising more than $1.3 million USD and hitting their funding target in just 3 hours
. It's no secret that the cycling industry is in rude health and it's clear that investors are hoping to pick up a slice of that. We wouldn't be surprised to see a number of similar campaigns continue to crop up throughout the next couple of years but remember, investment always comes with a dose of risk and there's absolutely no guarantee you'll see a return on your money no matter the state of the industry - especially on projects where working, finished versions are yet to be shown.
As for CeramicSpeed, it is hoping to have a working prototype by the end of the year and expects to now have enough funding to see the product through to manufacturing.