The Road from E-Bike Startup to Logistics Company during a U.S. Expansion

Written by German Accelerator

Company Name:

RYTLE provides a holistic and innovative logistics solution for the last mile by integrating hardware, software, personnel, and micro-fulfillment centers in urban areas.



Dr. Arne Kruse, Ingo Luebs

Transportation, Logistics

Founded in 2017, RYTLE GmbH is a logistics startup located in Bremen, Germany. Initially, the company produced electric bicycles for major shipping companies to help deliver parcels in high-density urban areas where trucks and vans are less efficient. RYTLE’s cargo e-bikes not only reduce costs but also improve customer turnaround time with a unique swappable modular box design. 

RYTLE is a first mover in introducing electric cargo bikes to the logistics industry. After six months of developing their prototype, the RYTLE team secured pilot projects with major transportation companies in Europe, such as UPS and Deutsche Post. After tuning their product and learning from early customers, the RYTLE team was ready to expand to the United States. 

Why RYTLE Chose German Accelerator to Help Them Expand in The United States 

Given the size and scope of the U.S. market, the RYTLE team knew they would need help with an international expansion to the States. RYTLE had already participated in both the India and Singapore Market Discovery programs with German Accelerator, so they knew what to expect in terms of being mentored by local experts. 

But even then, the RYTLE team discovered they had a lot to learn about the U.S. economy. 

RYTLE Co-Founder Arne Kruse

“It wasn’t until we participated in German Accelerator’s U.S. Market Access program that we realized how the U.S. market is different from the EU market.” 

Dr. Arne Kruse | Co-Founder of RYTLE

How German Accelerator Helped RYTLE on Their Expansion Journey 

While participating in the U.S. Market Access program, the RYTLE team realized they wouldn’t be able to just build a perfectly engineered product like in the EU market. Instead, they would need to combine German engineering with Silicon Valley speed in order to make it in the U.S. 

As they expanded internationally, RYTLE also ran into legal hurdles. Major cities like Singapore and New York City both rejected the cargo e-bikes based on the vehicle size and on other regulatory grounds. With their products not allowed on the road, RYTLE had to pivot into other cities and geographies. These challenges led RYTLE to a productive partnership with Solistica, a major Latin America logistics provider, as well as a pilot project in Miami, U.S.A. 

Working with startup mentors and other experts from German Accelerator, the RYTLE team realized they needed to pivot beyond just geography – their whole core offering needed to change. Rather than just create and sell cargo e-bikes as a product, RYTLE could offer a range of logistics services via micro-fulfillment centers in high-density urban areas that integrated hardware, software, services, and personnel. This ecosystem of integrated services would reduce costs as well as route redundancies for national and international shipping companies. To provide these last mile services, RYTLE decided to additionally set up the company RytleX. 

As a result of their pivot during the German Accelerator program, RYTLE began to win a number of startup awards. Some of their most notable accolades include the Anheuser-Busch InBev Award, the BENTELER “Inspiring Innovation” GENIUS Award, and the “Startups” category of the Eco Performance Award. 

This product-to-ecosystem pivot wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance of mentors from German Accelerator who taught RYTLE how to properly approach the U.S. market. Some of the top mentors the RYTLE team would like to thank include Geoff Baum, Susan Linder, Christian Jorg, and others. 

“With our market plans to expand into the U.S., the mentors immensely helped us by giving deep insights on how to improve our pitch, our market focus and segmentation, our approach, and our communication and branding.”

Dr. Arne Kruse | Co-Founder of RYTLE

Thanks to German Accelerator, RYTLE has become more global as a company as a result of both their pivot and their expansion.

What RYTLE Achieved Post-Program & Beyond 

By the end of the program, RYTLE had significantly changed how their offering was marketed and positioned within the competitive U.S. economy. What had earlier been a product-focused, e-bike startup had become a full-fledged logistics and green tech company working in major cities. RYTLE has also since re-organized its management with Rıza Akgün in the lead as CEO and Dr. Arne Kruse as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. 

Moving forward, RYTLE plans to expand their geographic footprint. The company is currently looking at major urban centers that maximize their opportunity to use alternative delivery methods. In high-density city blocks, cargo e-bikes are often more productive than delivery vans because of maneuverability and easier parking. In addition, RYTLE’s delivery methods drastically reduce both the end-consumer cost and the carbon footprint of deliveries. 

For startup founders interested in an internationalization journey to the U.S., Dr. Arne Kruse had some advice. 

“If you’re willing to invest a lot of time and can deal with constructive criticism for your success in expansion, German Accelerator is definitely for you,” said Kruse.