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Cleveland e-mobility firm LAND raises $7M, plans to scale up production

a LAND moto e-bike

It’s a good time to be in the e-mobility space, said LAND CEO Scott Colosimo.

The world’s governments are collectively moving away from fossil fuels, he noted; major manufacturers are on board, too. And, he said, there’s “consumer demand.” The industry is at the edge of another revolution.

“It’s easier to swim with the tide or have tailwind than to fly into the wind,” Colosimo said.

LAND in Cleveland makes what it calls its eMoto, a flexible, two-wheeled electric vehicle branded The District. The District features four settings, from an e-bike setting that reaches 27 miles per hour to the e-motorcycle setting that can reach more than 70 miles per hour, a news release said. In between are settings that allow the vehicle to serve as a moped or a commuter bike, Colosimo said.

Colosimo said LAND can toggle between settings on an electric vehicle, whereas gas-powered vehicles are more reliant on the size and weight of the engine. On The District bike, it’s a software setting that determines how the vehicle can be used that day.

Prices start around $7,000, Colosimo said, and can go up to about $12,000, based on different available versions of the bike.

LAND got its start in early 2020. When COVID put everything on hold, the company focused more on R&D, Colosimo said.

Until recently, LAND was assembling bikes in an approximately 1,500-square-foot space, Colosimo said, making about a bike a week at first and then moving up to two. But in the past year, the startup completely renovated its space at 1265 West 65th St. in Cleveland, giving the company about 35,000 square feet in which to work. The building includes space for research and design, as well as fabricating and assembly. Colosimo bought the building, which he previously used to house his old company, Cleveland CycleWerks, more than a decade ago with a real estate partner. Colosimo has since sold his portion of Cleveland CycleWerks, noting that it was too difficult to go back and forth between gas-powered vehicles and electric ones.

“It’s like working on a steam engine and then working on a computer,” Colosimo said.

The West 65th Street facility could now support LAND making 15,000 bikes a year, Colosimo said. And he expects the demand will be higher, so he thinks the company could contract with local manufacturers or expand further to make even more.

But LAND can’t reach that level of production without additional capital. Most of Northeast Ohio’s venture funding focuses on software, Colosimo said, which makes raising funds as a startup manufacturer a challenge.

But LAND recently completed a Series A funding round led by Mayfield Heights-based Ancora, a news release noted, and supported by other investors across the country.

“We are very excited to get in the driver’s seat and support a Northeast Ohio company that is accelerating energy independence,” Ancora chairman and CEO Fred DiSanto said in the release.

Colosimo said getting Ancora on board was important, because the company needed an “advocate in the city.”

“Because the people that see what we’re doing and truly understand this mobility, battery platform play, they understand how big this can scale,” Colosimo said.

Colosimo said LAND has seen the most success in family office investors. The company has so far raised about $7 million. Colosimo said LAND did all the pre-production work of R&D and engineering with less than $4 million, and it spent about another $1 million getting its facility renovated and tooled up.

Now, LAND is launching a $50 million Series B funding round.

At $7 million, LAND can produce about 30 units a month, Colosimo said. The $50 million would allow LAND to reach its planned production of 15,000 eMotos — or more — a year.

Currently, LAND employs 18. Colosimo said he hopes to eventually employ nearly 100 when production scales up.

Read the original article by Rachel Abbey Mcafferty for Crains Cleveland here.

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