Motorcycles, Venture and AR Fighter Jet Helmets

I’ve recently purchased a motorcycle, after years of waiting for the right time and motorcycling off road. California is the perfect state for it, and the Bay Area has many awesome roads to enjoy. But let’s focus on this industry and some of the startups that are going to change the way we ride.

The global motorcycle manufacturing industry generated $74 billion in 2011, according to research from MarketLine. The industry’s 3% yearly growth rate between 2007 and 2011 is forecast to rise to more than 12% between 2011 and 2016. Industry production volumes grew at a yearly rate more than 5% over the four-year period ending 2011, and the manufacturing side of the motorcycle industry is expected to generate more than $130 billion before the end of 2016. According to the Global Industry Analysts by 2020, the number of motorcycle sales should reach 61.2 MM. Top growth markets are Canada, US and EU. A few more numbers here: World motorcycle demand is 134.5 million units. World demand to rise 7.2% through 2016–2017. The average motorcycle rider has from 1 to 3 helmets.

The primary drivers of growth for this industry are growing traffic congestions, rising personal mobility need, increasing disposable income, fast-paced urbanization of developing countries, emission regulations and increasing popularity of electric motorcycles.

Here are some of the notable startups in the field.


An augmented reality helmet that incorporated rearview camera, communication, voice control, speed indicator and GPS all built into one helmet. A truly interesting idea for any tech savvy rider who is trying to increase safety. The company raised $2.4 million from fans on Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in 2014. And raised additional $11 million from Intel Capital and other investors. Nonetheless, the company collapsed due to poor management, you can read the story here. Despite poor management, the product seems to have a huge market worldwide that are ready to spend around $1500 or more on a smart helmet. Such a shame that a wonderful product didn’t reach production. Check out the product concept here. Good news is that there are two companies with similar product concepts, Visor-AR from Israel and LiveMap from Russia.


Luckily, there are a few other companies willing to develop a smart helmet, Visor-AR is one of them. The Israeli company is developing a similar helmet to Skully, it just doesn’t seem to have the rearview camera. However, the helmet is based on fighter jet helmets and has the augmented reality component and connectivity to phone and motorcycle. Still in its infancy and seeking investments. Just remember that some of the highest priced helmets out there are retailing for $1600 without any smart technology attached.


So far my favorite smart helmet startup! It’s fighter jet helmet improved to road conditions. According to Datafox, they already raised $1.8MM in a series A round and are already on their third prototype and are ready for pre-orders. They have a clear global market strategy and are going to sell in the US UK and AU first. I might put in my order soon.If you’re interested in seeing the product, they will be at the Augmented World Expo soon.

Their product is more advanced than Visor-Ar and seems to be ready for production. I have high hopes for this company and for product.

Zero Motorcycles

One of the most well-known electric motorcycle manufacturer in the US. They are already producing and selling a variety of models for almost every taste, from supermotos to dirt bikes and street bikes.

According to Datafox. Zero Motorcycles received around $140 MM of investment, which most came from Invus and has an estimated revenue of $75 MM. Let’s see if this will be the Tesla of motorcycles. At least they are much more affordable than a Tesla car.


It’s a mobile app, and website. And I use quite often when I take a longer route and want to keep track of my motorcycling in the Bay Area. Rever connects a global community of motorcycle enthusiasts and helps them to discover the best places to ride, track their activities, navigate and share their motorcycling experiences.

The company has a freemium business model, most of the features can be used free, but the premium memberships on Rever include additional features such as exclusive access to Butler Maps’ road recommendations, custom safety alerts and more. Rever is based in Eagle, Colorado and was founded in 2015 by motorcycle industry and technology veterans. Most interestingly, Rever received an undisclosed round of investment from BMW iVentures in July 2016.

BMW iVentures stated that they are excited to be part of Rever and to have big data on motorcycles. They will be able to expand their knowledge of how motorcyclists use their bikes and potentially use this information on providing a better experience to their riders.

Riders Share

The Turo for motorcycles, or Airbnb for motorcycles if you haven’t heard of Turo yet. Although it would sound like a good idea to list an asset that is used even less than a car is. Renting a motorcycle to someone poses an even larger risk than a car. It’s not simple to accelerate, brake and steer. It takes a bit more skill to handle two wheels.

According to Technavio’s market research analyst, the global motorcycle rental market will witness moderate growth and post a CAGR of almost 5% by 2020. Much of this growth can be attributed to the recent increase in the number of motorcycle tourer communities and events.

It has also been noted that Canada and the US account for the largest motorcycle tourism market with about USD 13 billion a year for weekend motorcycle touring events and USD 34 billion for motorcycle touring vacations. Trends in the US and Canada indicate that a majority of the motorcycle riders come from the mature population, who are aged 50 years or more.

Some of the competitors here are Motoroads, Adriatic Moto Tours, WheelStreet, Wicked Ride, EagleRider. None of which have the shared economy model.

Also, if you're looking to rent a bike in the Bay Area, my KTM Duke 390 is there.

Energica Motors

This post would be complete without an Italian company. Energica Motors is the italian response to electric motorcycles. Unfortunately, this company is not listed on Crunchbase nor on Datafox, but luckily Italian is close enough to Portuguese and they a well-developed site for investors. The company reported 1.3MM Euros in raw revenue in 2016 and 177K Euros in 2015, some decent growth in revenue I would say. Let’s keep an eye on the 2017 report analysts estimate 11MM Euros in 2017 and 25MM in 2018. Interesting fact, we may see a lot of electric motorcycles on Moto GP.

Ash Archibald