A glimpse behind the scenes of NOCA

From cargobike to supply chain software

One problem can be solved in a thousand different ways. It’s the task of entrepreneurs and founders to find the one that works – right timing, right solution, right market, right business model. With NOCA we have been on a journey to facilitate sustainable urban mobility. We started as a hardware startup, and ended up being a software solution for supply chain transparency. And let’s be honest – who knows what other solutions we will add in the future.

But as we have now launched our new website and sharpened our offer, here’s how we got to where we are now:

Black cargobike in Europe and America

1. The NOCA vehicle as the sustainable alternative to the car in the city

The problem: Many people are “fair-weather” cyclists (translated from German “Schön-Wetter-Radler”) as they feel unsafe, cannot carry kids, shopping or pets with their bikes, and don’t want to ride in bad weather conditions. The car seems to be the only alternative.

The solution: The NOCA is a 4-wheeled, electric, weatherproof cargobike that is fun to ride and looks the part. It’s the type of vehicle you want to take to the park and show off to your friends. You can ride it all year around, carry everything you need to carry, and cruise around the city without getting stuck in traffic.

The main learning: We believed that we had to offer the vehicle at 5.000€ selling price to get it into the mass market. At the time, finding components that (1) would carry the load, (2) survive more than 5 years and (3) are within budget was – in our case – impossible. We spoke to other manufacturers inside the cycling industry to learn more about their way of procuring and producing bicycles.

Invoice overview in Noca portal

2. The NOCA digital procurement association

The problem: At lower quantities, buying OEM components is significantly more expensive. At the same time, serving small scale manufacturers carries a lot of administrative costs and planning insecurities. Overall, for the right supplier and manufacturer to find each other outside of the yearly industry fair can be tough.

The solution: A procurement association that bundles orders to increase sales and reduce administrative costs for suppliers, and reduces costs and opens up access for OEM vehicle manufacturers. 

The main learning: The cycling industry breathes customisation and individualisation. Buying together (and accessing/sharing bill of materials) requires a new level of collaboration and cooperation as well as a quantity level that the cargobike industry hasn’t reached yet. We saw, however, that procurement in the cycling and micromobility industry in general was done quite manually with high administrative costs. What if we could digitalise that process?

Overview of my orders in Noca portal

3. The NOCA B2B marketplace network for OEM components

The problem: Selling and procuring OEM components is a tedious process. Design, technical specifications, custom-development, availability, production capacities, sustainability, compatibility – a lot of information, people, data and processes have to come together to build a bike.

The solution: Through an digital OEM marketplace, buyers and sellers can’t just find each other in a faster and more efficient way, they can manage the entire process online. With NOCA in-between we would enable direct transactions and would be able to bundle orders in the background to make both sides more efficient.

The learning: Because building a bicycle is complex (and especially in LEV and cargobike might become more complex) and many brands focus on customisation and individualisation, the selling/buying processes require a lot of consultation, sending drawings back and forth, and 1:1 collaboration. In addition, the margins in OEM are pretty tough, as a transaction-based marketplace the business model especially with bigger brands would be a tough one (…but aren’t they all). 

The BUT: We have amazing partners and customers, who we are still working with to bring their product to market/procure components. We will continue to serve them and strategically build up the portfolio in the marketplace as we still see wonderful opportunities in logistics, bundling and financing (working capital, anyone?). But for now, we have found an urgent problem that needs solving and builds the foundation for the efficient, competitive, and sustainable supply chain in cycling and micromobility we envision.

platform where all can do a collaborative processes in one place

4. NOCA - the B2B software for supply chain collaboration in the cycling and micromobility industry

The problem: By speaking to a myriad of component suppliers, OEM vehicle manufacturers, retailers and the like we have learned a lot – and a central challenge in the industry is sharing and managing data and processes across company borders. As developing and producing a bike is reliant on so many factors and data sources coming together, it’s tough to keep product, transaction, master, performance, sustainability, planning etc etc etc data up to date and building efficient processes on top.

The solution: Let’s make digital collaboration as easy as sending an email. With the difference that the shared data is not lost in inboxes or one person’s brain. The opposite – the data is connected, centrally shared, integrated into collaborative processes and ready to be transferred into your and your business partners’ IT system. With NOCA, people and teams across product developmentsalesprocurement and customer support can easily share, manage and receive the data they need to improve data quality, massively save time and resources spent on administrative tasks, and then use the data to implement better processes and make better decisions. And of course, data analytics and AI shouldn’t be missing. Sounds vague? That’s what our new website is for 😉 

The learning: By being solely focused on the cycling and micromobility industry we are able to build a solution that truly solves an industry problem. We have developed a system of data fields and product specifications that not just fits the industry, but enables us to connect components, orders, vehicles and companies for agile and transparent supply chain management. 


We are now working with trusted customers to continuously improve the NOCA portal and make data sharing the industry standard.