1. Who are you and what are you doing?
I’m Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss, the CEO and co-founder of Dance, a premium ebike subscription service based in Berlin. I also co-founded music streaming platform SoundCloud and occasionally angel invest in companies in the sustainability space.
2. What drives you personally and how did you get there over time?
Right now, as a founder, investor and father, I am curious and concerned about all the different ways we can solve the climate crisis, which is right in front of us. At the same time, we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic that has affected us all. Many are reevaluating what is important to them, and realizing that certain choices could bring more joy into their everyday life.
For example, many rediscovered just how fun it is to get outdoors on a bike, to be more active. Some are considering how they can make more sustainable transportation choices instead of driving themselves to work alone every day. And, they’re seeing just how important it is to be connected with your community.
At SoundCloud, I was proud to build a product that democratized music for creators and listeners, making creation and discovery easier. With Dance and in my professional life, I’m driven by the chance to learn a new industry while creating a product that serves emerging needs in the market.
This company and product are completely new; it’s interesting to take experiences in building a subscription-based product, helping to create a movement around a brand and just being a founder into a new company. And as a CEO, it’s great to build a team with the best minds to create hardware and handle operations and manufacturing. The question we’re trying to answer at Dance is: What if we could make choosing a sustainable commute easy, elegant and flexible?
3. Please give me the elevator pitch for DANCE
Dance is a premium ebike subscription service currently in pilot. What makes us different is that with membership, our community can get repairs, theft protection and more. We know that many people in cities are reevaluating the way they get around after the pandemic — they may want to sell their car, or are rethinking public transportation, or they may want to have a more active commute after being at a home office for more than a year. Dance would be a compelling offer to those interested in active transportation but who don’t want to make the upfront investment into owning, maintaining and finding an ebike for themselves. It’s a frictionless, joyful way to commute, to explore a city and to make healthier transportation choices.
With our community, we also want to build a movement of people that can design, shape and advocate for more livable cities designed for communities of people, not cars.
4. Where do you see DANCE by 2030?
By 2030, we want to see more livable cities around the globe. We want to see communities in which there are more people and ebikes on the road than cars, resulting in cleaner, greener and more connected communities. One of the pieces of Dance that excites me is this possibility of community. Can we create a kinder, more supportive city by encouraging people to cycle and connect instead of filing one by one in individual cars? I think that is possible in 2030.
5. What’s your best personal sustainability hack?
Cycling instead of driving is the top way to create more sustainable habits! But, other ways include just buying less. It’s easy to get into the habit of buying more, and buying new. But sometimes revisiting something old is just as rewarding. My family and I also mostly eat vegan. I really don’t miss meat.
6. What are your methods for coping with challenges and stress?
One way I’m trying to get creative and destress more is to turn meetings into walking meetings, even if they’re remote. There is something about talking and moving around at the same time to promote creative thinking.
7. What is the best advice you ever got and from whom?
I will never forget when Alex Ljung and I interviewed a busy entrepreneur on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto during our master’s thesis research work back in 2006, and he said there are three things that matter in entrepreneurship: focus, focus and focus. Solid advice!
8. What is the best book you ever read and why?
If you are interested in learning about how we can have an impact on the climate crisis, I recommend reading Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air by David JC Mackay. It’s the best primer on the subject that I have read. All time favorite book? Very hard question! Snow by Orhan Pamuk is high on the list…
9. What’s your favourite sustainable brand?
There is so much innovation and conversation in sustainability right now. But, it’s undeniable that Patagonia has set the bar. They make sustainability a core part of their brand and product. The transparency they have as part of their business model and the dedication they have to creating a more circular economy is one I respect. Plus, they’re very open about their failed experiments, which I respect as a founder. By sharing their learnings, they can help the greater industry evolve.
10. What makes you optimistic about the future of our planet & society?
There is a new generation of founders, innovators and creative thinkers coming up — Gen Z — who are dedicated to making our world better. And I have hope that we can all work together to create a more sustainable world.
At Dance, we’re constantly interviewing candidates to join the team. What I hear consistently throughout each conversation is how relevant and resonant our mission is with so many people around the world. Every person is excited about the prospect of replacing cars on the streets with ebikes. People are energized by the product and long-term mission of creating more livable cities. And it’s completely authentic and genuine.
Dance is a premium ebike subscription service based in Berlin. The company’s mission is to create more livable cities centered around communities of people, not traffic. Dance combines easy-to-use services with a beautifully designed ebike, elevating everyday transportation into a joyful, healthy and sustainable act. A monthly subscription fee provides flexibility for members who want to try a new way to commute outside of car ownership. The company’s pilot is currently live in Berlin. To find out more, visit https://dance.co.
Dance was founded by SoundCloud founders Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss and Alexander Ljung, together with the co-founder of Jimdo, Christian Springub. Investors include BlueYard and HV Holtzbrinck Ventures.
Press release on DANCE’s new investors