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Governments Promoting Electric Bikes With Subsidies, Making Stark Drive Even More Affordable.

06/18/2017

More and more, governments are waking up to the fact that although collective transportation solutions are important to reduce not only the total amount of traffic flow in a city center and to improve air quality in cities, there are still pressures exerted on the the total funds available to build out such systems versus their total use to subsidize their implementation and further expansion.

In order to keep the prices on collective traffic at a reasonable level as an incentive to use the services the volume of passengers must always be high and consistent but with any expansion of such systems you will always have lower volumes of traffic flow in direct conflict with the aspirations of city planners.

A solution that some governments are providing incentives to are the subsidization of electric bicycles. This due to the fact that before the introduction of Stark Drive, one could easily spend thousands of dollars on a reasonably spec'd electric bike. This barrier to entry was too much for most and incentivizing the purchase with a subsidy helped many people to make the decision to go electric. Of course now that we have introduced our Ultra Affordable range of electric bikes these incentives are making Stark Drive more affordable then ever.

Oslo is one city that has started with such a discount, albeit specifically for Cargo Electric Bikes currently:

https://www.oslo.kommune.no/politikk-og-administra...

There is also France that is offering its residents an incentive to purchase electric:

https://www.treehugger.com/bikes/france-offers-200...

Electric bikes have a plethora of benefits such as extending your range of travel, helping you arrive to your destination without breaking a sweat, portable and a perfect last mile solution in the case that your public transportation system is not as expansive as you would like.

We will continue to work to help push the prices of electric bikes lower so that this no longer hinders ones decision making process when deciding how to solve their transporation needs.


First Images from Factory Production

06/12/2017

Hello Backers and Soon To Be the Worlds First Riders of Stark Drive!

The deposits have been sent and production is progressing. I have received my visa to travel to China and my flight is booked for the arrival on the 27th of June. I will be enduring a 22 hour journey from Stockholm to Shenzhen.

On arrival my one and only purpose is to inspect every single bicycle to ensure that it lives up to the standards that are the basis for our brand and product. Our backers are going to be our ambassadors and we want to get things right. There are some areas where we need to focus and develop such as the portal for the GPS tracking solution that some of our backers have chosen to include with their units. The systems will still work but the portal is more generic and not as user friendly as we want it to be in the future.

Furthermore, we are currently still developing our user guide although the bike is very simple to use and does not in essence need any type of guide per say. The assembly is 95% complete with only the front wheel and pedals needing to be attached before you are ready to go.

Below we see some, unfortunately, grainy photos from production. Our representative in China does not have a smartphone with an incredible camera as is glaringly apparent below but in the first image you see the factory manager. In the second and third photos you see the parts storage for the bikes that are being constructed. When i get there i will be filming in HD quality the actual production of the bikes as well as taking several photos and even taking Stark Drive for a spin around Shenzhen to show it off to the world.

We want to express our sincere gratitude to all the backers that believed in us even after the tortious events of several months ago that had me flying around the world trying to figure out just what happened. for more information on this you can read my previous blog post.

Sincerely

Oscar Stark
CEO, Stark Drive LLC


How Indiegogo and a Truculent Competitor Almost Killed Stark Drive

05/28/2017

The story of Stark Drive has been a tumultuous one fraught with anfractuous events that were prodigiously unexpected and required consummate all encompassing desire to achieve our goal of launching the most affordable and fully equipped electric bike in the world.

It was November 2016 when we originally launched on Kickstarter. Due to our altruistic and countrified view to our first launch we had originally anticipated that we would immediately make headlines and virally spread through the interweb about a company offering a fully featured electric bike for less than the cost of most standard non-electric bikes. After launching we worked especially hard to contact journalists, blogs, and media providers to help us to spread the word about Stark Drive with little success. The unfortunate truth is that its normally only after a product is successful that these outlets become interested in reporting on new and exciting products.

Here is where the story takes an interesting turn: Ilan Cohen and Alana Jesse from Indiegogo contacted us about 10 days into our campaign on Kickstarter and began discussions with us on ditching Kickstarter and instead launching on their platform. They were very excited about Stark Drive as at this point a similar product (Mate) had already been ultra-successful on their platform and they were looking for the next big thing which could earn them their commissions. We were roused with this apparently magnanimous offer where unlike Kickstarter they promised along with our launching on their platform that they would dedicate campaign managers to our team and guide us at every step in order to ensure success.

We thought that this was just the boost we needed in order to make Stark Drive work and bring it to life so we accepted Indiegogo's offer and cancelled our project with the intention of following the step-by-step instructions that were then provided to us from Indiegogo in the form of guides with helpful hints such as setting up mailing lists, being more active on social media and basically spreading the seed of Stark Drive everywhere we could. They also encouraged us to write up our campaign on their site so that they could review, fine tune, and approve it. They also encouraged us to draw inspiration from other successful campaigns with similar products especially recent ones such as Mate.

We vigilantly followed all of their instructions and were especially pleased when after reviewing our campaign text, they said that it was near perfect and that it was a major step forward to ensuring our success.

We re-launched Stark Drive on February 15th 2017 to much fanfare and success with us achieving our initial funding goal in less then 10 hours.

Our support team was overwhelmed with the amount of success and sheer number of people contacting us with questions, words of encouragement, and most importantly contributions.

Days passed with our campaign seemingly picking up more and more steam and with this success we finally started receiving some media attention with journalists now interested in writing about Stark Drive. This in turn drove more traffic to our campaign and so the cycle continued.

Somewhat strange however was how we had been contacted several times by the Owners of Mate both before we launched (during our promotion prior to launch) and even during our campaign making foreboding comments that we should not be launching our product and that we were a scam and that we could not possibly be selling a bike for $399 USD as their bike costs more money to buy from their manufacturers then we were selling our bike for. We were 'unrealistic with our pricing, retards, and that our bike was made of paper'

However as we were seemingly gaining more and more ground with our campaign, Mate had a problem and conspired with their legal team, specifically Simon Kristoffersen (rocketadvisory.com) in order to try to find a 'solution' to the problem of Stark Drive.

I have to give credit where credit was due in terms of the creative method they used approximately a week later on February 23rd (after rocket advisory emailed us and began asking questions unrelated to our campaign) their lawyer sent a DMCA request to Indiegogo fraudulently stating that Stark Drive was copy of Mate (A bike style that has been sold since 2011 and can be purchased on nearly every street corner in China). The unfortunate thing about DMCA notices are that in nearly all cases the website receiving the complaint does no investigation if the complaint is legitimate or not in so much as they become complicate and potentially financially liable if they do not immediately take down the content immediately according to the regulations that are behind the DMCA process.

However, although the original DMCA complaint was fraudulent, Indiegogo is not without fault with respect to the events as for some reason they decided not to follow the proper DMCA procedure both easily available online and on their own Terms and Conditions . After receiving such a notice they are within their rights to take down the infringing material however the next must be that this notice is sent to alleged infringer (in this case Stark Drive) so that they can reply with a counterclaim (under penalty of perjury) at which point the content must be restored and the complainant can then move forward to initiate legal proceedings if they truly are confident in their claims.

In fact when our original campaign was taken down, we had no idea why because we received nothing except a notification that our campaign was going to be cancelled. We fruitlessly tried to contact Indiegogo by all means available to us: their non working phone number which is basically an answering machine, email, twitter, facebook and several of our backers also tried to contact them to inquire why our campaign was cancelled with a stock response provided that 'we were under investigation'.

At that point, i decided to do something a little brazen and booked a flight to New York to visit the offices of Indiegogo personally to inquire about Indiegogo's procedures, their trust and safety team and how a campaign is supposed to run.

Having arrived to their offices, i simply asked if i could talk about launching a new campaign and speak to someone there about that. During the meeting and after seeing what we were interested in launching, the representative Frederico Ribeiro immediately mentioned the Mate campaign as one that we should mirror as closely as possible as they had achieved so much success. More interestingly when i revealed that this bike was a commonly available model that has been available for years in china he stated that its against Indiegogo's terms and conditions to simply resell a product. Ironically, after our campaign was taken down, a new one showed up which is the exact same as Stark Drive albeit that its 5x the price of ours! Or this bike which is only 2.5x the price of Stark Drive I guess Mate has no problem with them because they dont compete with their pricing model nor do they seem to be getting much traction in their campaign.

Upon returning home to Sweden pigs must have learned to fly because we finally heard from Indiegogo, well not exactly Indiegogo but their lawyers whom finally responded to a letter that our lawyer had sent to them when our campaign was cancelled over a month ago. In it they stated a lot of interesting information about why the campaign was cancelled as well as banning me from visiting any of their offices in the future.

Of course we had received none of the funding we had so diligently raised so we up the preverbal creek without a paddle and at this point didn’t know what to do or how to proceed but nothing worth doing is every easy and our passion to get Stark Drive to market overruled ever giving up on finding a solution and a way forward.

Exploring our options we temporarily considered trycelery.com which is a crowdfunding platform that one runs from their own website and we eventually settled on crowdfunding our launch through our own website and set out to inform all of our original backers, or at least those that had registered through our website.

it took us an additional couple of months but after our website was redesigned we launched again in April.

The launch was successful and we did achieve enough to bring Stark Drive to market however unlike some of our competitors we actually will be making the first delivery of Stark Drive to our early backers days after our campaign ends. We hope that these early supporters will be our ambassadors and this will help to generate even more traffic to our site and that sales will skyrocket at that point.

In regards to the fraudulent DMCA, well this story is unfortunately just beginning and we are expecting the process to take years to resolve if the responsible party does not settle with us as any responsible, serious company would do when they are so clearly at fault.

We want to thank everyone that believed enough in Stark Drive to support us and help to make it a reality. Our companies benevolent maxim is simply this: To enable everyone to have the opportunity to be able to own an electric bike with price no longer being a factor in the decision making process.

We believe that in the near future all bikes will be electric just as we believe that in the future all vehicles will be electric.

Oscar Traveling to China

05/25/2017

Thank you! ♥

We want to express a huge amount of gratitude to all of the backers that believed in us even when we experienced setbacks and still supported us. To all of you out there, you will not be disappointed. Many crowdfunding campaigns are launched haphazardly and without a real plan assuming that things will just work out if they succeed in meeting their crowdfunding goals. This is generally never the case. We have been planning and developing our relationships with our manufacturers, logistics partners, as well as our action plan a year before we officially launched on Indiegogo back in February 2017.

Nothing happens by chance and if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

This can be demonstrated by the fact that we have already placed our first major order for hundreds of bikes with our manufacturing partner and they have started gearing up for production. Just as expected, they have confirmed it will take approximately 45 days for the first batch of bikes to be completed, this is why Oscar is traveling to meet with them at the end of June to inspect the first batch to ensure that they are up to standard.

Quality control if of the utmost importance for us as is delivering to our customers in a clear and expected way. Keeping silent on delays, making promises that are not kept and other ridiculous situations are not part of Stark Drive DNA.

You early backers are going to be our Ambassadors and we need you to spread the word once you receive your Stark Drive. Keep in touch with us, share your stories, and photos on social media and let everyone know that you have been a part of launching the most affordable and fully equipped electric bikes in the world.

Sincerely

Oscar Stark
CEO and Founder
Stark Drive LLC

Full 2 Year Extended Warranty Offer

05/22/2017

When we designed Stark Drive, we did so with the premise that you will be getting high quality super affordable components for an unbeatable total price. We also put Stark Drive through very stringent testing to make sure that the components (if maintained properly) will last for thousands of hours of enjoyment exploring the outdoors. Since we wanted to have the strongest warranty in the business compared to other ultra affordable electric bikes we had to do better then 30 days (which is offered by one of our competitors) and thus we decided on a full 180 days of warranty.


There are some users that feel more comfortable if they can have an even longer duration of warranty for their Stark Drive and for those users we today introduced a full 2 Year Warranty upgrade that can be purchased so long as your existing warranty has not expired. The price is exceptionally reasonable and the piece of mind it provides ensures that you will enjoy travelling with the most affordable electric bike ever even more!

Please contact us at hello@starkdrive.com if you have any questions. You can currently get the upgrade by clicking in the accessories page.


First Order With The Factory Placed

05/20/2017

We are ecstatic to announce that the first order with our manufacturing partners has officially been placed and paid for. Now starts the production run which will take 45 days and after a strict QC check, we will be delivering the first batch of Stark Drive to lucky owners all over the world. We have also been working on our box design and the current final version is pictured below. We chose to place a TV on the box which was originally pioneered by VanMoof here. Just this small addition helped to reduce damage in freight by 80% and we want to make sure you get Stark Drive in pristine condition just as it left the factory.

If everything goes according to plan, the first deliveries of stark drive will be within days of the campaign ending. Having done a lot of the prepatory work with the design of Stark Drive as well as ensuring that everything with our manufacturing partners was signed and sealed before we launched was critical to ensuring that we can deliver on time making sure that you get to use Stark Drive even this summer.

We try to break the unfortunate reality that seems to be sweeping the crowdfunding industry where promises of delivery are not upheld and users are forced to wait months or even years to get the product that they have helped bring to life.

Yours Sincerely,
Stark Drive

Stark Drive now has SSL Encryption as Standard

05/08/2017

Safety of our riders both on the road and online is our first priority. Stark Drive has upgraded their service to use full SSL encryption (you can tell when you go to our domain you will see https instead of http in the address bar. All transactions you do through our website are secure and safe.

Quick Comparison of All Stark Drive Models (Before Upgrades)

05/05/2017

here is a quick and easy comparison of all the major Stark Drive models before upgrades.


Referral Program is Live: $50 off per referral.

05/05/2017

Our way of showing thanks!

We want to thank our customers for helping us launch the most affordable fully featured electric bikes in the world so we have implemented our referral system. You can access your unique referral code by logging into your account here:

http://starkdrive.bike/profiles-update/

If you dont already have a referral link visible you just click the button as shown below to get yours and send it to your friends.



Use it up to 8 times to get Stark Drive City Free!

Your unique code will work for up to 8 referrals meaning that if you do refer 8 friends to get Stark Drive, your bike will be for free*

Email us if you can not access your referral code or if you have any questions about the program at hello@starkdrive.com



*Plus applicable shipping costs.

Relaunch of Stark Drive Electric Bike Crowdfunding Campaign

04/24/2017
Stark Drive is Back!

Just as Winston Churchill stated, we at Stark Drive have one goal:

"Everyone should have the opportunity to be able to obtain an affordable electric bike"

To achieve this we have worked tirelessly to get the most affordable electric bike to market bar none. Some called us 'retards' and that we could never sell a quality electric bike for a starting price of $399. We will prove them wrong and our 'Stark' Determination to achieve our goals will continue. 'When one closes a door they open a window' and we think that launching our campaign from our own website will help us in several ways.