Young Entrepreneur of the Year award given to Ardo Kaurit, co-founder of Ampler Bikes
On 11 October, best Estonian companies were recognised at a gala event. The title of Young Entrepreneur of the Year was awarded the 28-year-old entrepreneur Ardo Kaurit, the founder and CEO of Ampler Bikes. Ampler bikes manufacture electric bikes, mainly for export.
Mait Palts, Director General of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry commented Ardo Kaurit’s title: ‘Ardo and Ampler Bikes are an excellent example of how a sincere interest grows into a successful and innovative company. If we could generate such enthusiasm and passion in any area of activity in all young people, we would be sure that we can take pride in Estonian products and services also in the future,’ and went on adding that one of the priorities of the Chamber is to promote and popularise entrepreneurship education: ‘In order to ensure that bright ideas of young people do not remain on paper only we need to offer practical experiences in the educational process. This is the only way to ensure that after graduating young people would have the skills to go beyond great ideas,’ said Palts.
Liisi Himma, head of Swedbank’s corporate banking said that starting a business and committing to it requires a vision for the future, courage to start, as well as intelligence to find one’s own functioning niche on the market. ‘Ampler Bikes co-founded by Ardo Kaurit has ticked all these boxes and it is an excellent example of a functioning young company. We are very happy to recognise the laureate of the Young Entrepreneur award, whose company manufactures a product that has everything that is important – innovation, environmental sustainability and as a cherry on top – promoting healthy lifestyle,’ said Himma in recognition.
Ardo Kaurit is a 28-year-old entrepreneur who five years ago took interest in electric bikes together with the two other co-founders of Ampler (Rait Udumäe and Hannes Laar). A bike built as a result of personal interest, lit a spark in everyone who took the bike for a ride and brought joy to the ones who created it. Only a few months after the first prototype was ready, they went to Germany to a bicycle fair where they got to know the market and what the competition was doing. From the fair they got the understanding that the bike they had created was competitive and in many aspects even better than the products the competitors were offering. On their way back from Germany they set their future goals. It was the year 2014.
At the end of the year 2015, the company started to include capital through the crowdfunding platform FundWise, where they successfully gained €91,000. This capital helped them in accelerating their product development and already at the beginning of 2016 they launched the Ampler Bikes trademark together with a crowdfunding campaign in Indiegogo, the aim of which was to get pre-orders for the bikes. The campaign proved to be successful – in total 90 bikes were ordered. This was followed by fast growth, in 2017 the company built 500 bikes, in 2018 1,400 and in 2019, they will reach to 3,000 bikes. In total, they have built approximately 5,000 bikes.
With crowdfunding, Ampler has found investments in the sum of €400,000 in 2017 and €2.5 million in 2019. The company exports 98% of its products, the majority of which are sold in Germany where the main customer group is environmentally conscious middle-aged people. 99% of the sales are done via web and the flagship store of the company is located in Berlin, Germany.
With the money they have found as investments this year, the company will open a new manufacturing facility in Jüri where they would like to increase the production volumes even faster. Next year, the company plans to manufacture 6,000 bikes.
In addition to Ardo, the Young Entrepreneur Award nominees included:
- Martin Kristerson - UpSteam Eesti OÜ
- Taavi Tammiste - Sifr OÜ
The jury included Mait Palts, Director General of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Aira Nigul-Lepp, head of Swedbank’s Corporate Banking Department, Heido Vitsur, economic advisor to the President of the Republic of Estonia, Anne Samlik, CEO of Estravel and Robin Saluoks, winner of last year’s Young Entrepreneur Award, CEO and founder of eAgronom.
The 5000-euro prize given by Swedbank AS was awarded for the fifth time. The competition is organised by the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Swedbank AS, the initiative is supported by President Kersti Kaljulaid.