Dubai's Eco Way aims to lead the charge towards carbon-free mobility

Generation Start-up: Founded in December, the company aims to roll out 30,000 electric bikes within a year

Ivan Kroshnyi, serial investor and founder of Dubai-based sustainable urban mobility start-up Eco Way. Photo: Eco Way
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It was French author Voltaire's famous phrase, “with great power comes great responsibility” that inspired serial investor and Ukrainian entrepreneur Ivan Kroshnyi to launch sustainable urban mobility start-up Eco Way in Dubai.

The company focuses on last-mile delivery services and aims to make carbon emissions-free electricdelivery bikes mainstream in the Emirates, aligning with the UAE government's goal ofachieving zero emissions by 2050.

Founded in December last year, Eco Way aims to produce 30,000 electric bikes annually for the UAE market. This could reduce carbon emissions in the Emirates at an average of 117,000 tonnes a year, according to the start-up. On average, an electric scooter produces only 0.1 tonne of carbon dioxide annually.

“As an entrepreneur, my aim is to contribute to the world by spearheading a project like Eco Way that comes with a potential to leave a lasting impact on the lives of many … it holds the calibre to bring real disruptive changes and benefits to both humanity and the environment in the coming years,” says 34-year-old Mr Kroshnyi.

The global electric two-wheeler market is booming. Its market size, which stood at over $529.3 million last year, is expected to surge to nearly $1.2 billion by 2032 at a compound annual growth rate of roughly 9.8 per cent, according to New York-headquartered Zion Market Research.

At this stage, Eco Way is focused on cementing partnerships with established players, rather than offering direct services to individual customers.

It has partnered with major companies offering delivery and courier services, such as Talabat, Pizza Hut, Hardee's, Amazon, Deliveroo, Uplift, KFC and Emirates Post Group.

“We are actively conducting deliveries with our partners, with the volume steadily approaching thousands of actual deliveries … this work is not commercially driven at this point. Our objective is to complete a successful testing phase with all stakeholders in the market to ensure that we deliver precisely the service they require,” says Mr Kroshnyi.

Currently, Mr Kroshnyi’s business portfolio spans 34 companies across 19 countries. His entrepreneurial journey began at the age of 16 when he established a company in Ukraine and started selling computer and office equipment. Later, he also ventured into trading, starting with the forex market.

In January 2021, he relocated to Dubai, with a business portfolio that encompassed Gerchik trading company in Ukraine, and an investment firm in the Czech Republic.

In Dubai, he opened coffee retail chain Roasters Specialty Coffee House jointly with his partners.

Mr Kroshnyi says the creation of Eco Way was driven by a “desire to make a real change” and create a business model “tailored for the UAE market”.

“We are very motivated by the UAE government’s eco-friendly policies. This is the best time to be in this space in the region,” he adds.

The UAE is stepping up efforts to make its transport sector more eco-friendly. It has launched various green initiatives such as the UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030, the National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017-2050, and the UAE Air Quality Strategy 2031.

In December, Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority revealed plans to encourage delivery companies to make the switch to electric bikes. The new initiative – which aims to reduce carbon emissions in the emirate – also includes plans to establish charging stations across the city.

The RTA said it also plans to amend licensing and registration requirements to encourage delivery companies to adopt greener modes of transport.

A bootstrapped start-up, Eco Way intends to scale its fleet to “several thousand” eco-friendly bikes in the coming years. At present, Eco Way’s 45 delivery bikes are operating on roads in the UAE.

“We are not profitable yet as currently we are focused on testing and refining our products and operations rather than engaging in commercial activities … we are in the middle of successful testing periods to ensure the viability and effectiveness of our services,” Mr Kroshnyi says.

Eco Way, which is currently seeking external funding opportunities, says it is cautious while joining forces with outside investors.

“We approach this matter with careful consideration, prioritising individuals who have a profound understanding of the industry and share our commitment to advancing environmental initiatives.

“We seek partners who bring more than just financial resources to the table, as their additional assets can inject fresh momentum into the project's growth trajectory,” says Mr Kroshnyi.

Eco Way is trying to find its feet in the UAE's electric bike market and faces its own shares of obstacles.

One of its key challenges revolves around tailoring the design and specifications of existing electric bikes as per the specific needs of couriers in the Emirates. Its initial models functioned smoothly within the 55kph to 85kph speed range, but ensuring the vehicle’s stability at 110kph demanded additional pivots.

Eco Way achieved it by extending the wheelbase and introducing metal-coated brake pads to bolster braking performance and by adding more design iterations to ensure a comfortable highway experience, says Mr Kroshnyi.

Eco Way has developed three different variants of its delivery bike and each model is equipped with a GPS tracker for real-time tracking.

In ideal conditions, a gasoline-powered bike would require Dh6.65 ($1.8) to cover 100km. In comparison, Eco Way’s electric bikes require Dh3.5 for a full charge, allowing them to cover nearly 130km on a single charge.

Eco Way says courier companies can independently swap batteries in less than one minute at its battery swap stations, eliminating the need to wait for charging.


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Currently, it has a tie-up with a China-based company from which it imports the bikes, but in the future, it plans to manufacture them on its own.

The company is also planning to expand quickly into new markets, and its immediate focus is on entering India, Indonesia and Turkey.

Mr Kroshnyi says the company has already started groundwork in these new markets and has entered into local partnerships to facilitate the expansion.

It is also eyeing Latin American markets including Brazil, Chile and Mexico, and European countries such as Italy, Spain and France, where the demand for two-wheeled transport is robust.

“In parallel with our expansion efforts, we are actively exploring projects related to four-wheeled transport. Currently, discussion is not public but we will make announcements soon,” says Mr Kroshnyi.

Q&A with Ivan Kroshnyi, founder of Eco Way

Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?

The rapid pace of development in the EV market has shifted our focus to a shorter time frame. Instead of looking 10 years ahead, our horizon is now set at five years.

Within this timeframe, we aim to establish a presence across various countries such as India, Indonesia, and markets in Latin America, and Europe. We also have plans to venture into the electric car market and establish our own factories for bike assembly and battery manufacturing.

How do you look at competition in your industry?

We view competition in a positive light, considering the rapid expansion and broad scope of the niche. With ample room for growth, there is space for all players.

The emergence of high-quality competitors encourages us to continually enhance what we offer, driving us towards excellence.

Are you a risk-taker or a cautious entrepreneur?

I believe in maintaining balance in everything. I am willing to take risks only when they are measurable, and I am fully aware of the potential losses in each particular scenario. That being said, as a dynamic entrepreneur, I am open to taking calculated risks whenever necessary.

If you could change one thing in your entrepreneurial journey, what would it be?

Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing because every experience has shaped me into the person I am today. I firmly believe that both positive and negative experiences have contributed to my growth. I am not willing to make changes that might jeopardise what I have achieved thus far.

Are you on a hiring spree?

We currently have a relatively small team, but we are planning to expand it soon. Our team consists of both local staff from the UAE and employees from Ukraine, who play a crucial role in driving the project forward.

What new skills have you learnt in the process of launching your start-up?

It’s the pace of decision-making. I have honed my ability to make bold, quick decisions. Now, I can analyse all relevant data and make decisions almost instantaneously.

Who is your role model?

I don't necessarily have a specific role model. Instead, I learn from different people. Each person I come in contact with, whether they are known for their strengths in particular areas or are just regular people, contributes something unique to my learning journey.

Updated: April 10, 2024, 5:31 AM

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside