Moving a lot with ease

Interview with Jessica Schumacher, Managing Director of i:SY GmbH & Co. KG

Jessica Schumacher, Managing Director of i:SY GmbH & Co. KG
Jessica Schumacher, Managing Director of i:SY GmbH & Co. KG

Rethinking mobility - climate change demands new ideas, structural changes to traffic and mobility concepts. Electric cars and e-bikes play a central role in this context. Since 2007, i:SY GmbH & Co. KG has been convincing with compact bikes. Bikes that inspire both technically and visually. Maybe not at first glance; but definitely after the first test ride.

Economic Forum: Mrs. Schumacher, e-bikes are booming, becoming an environmentally friendly alternative to cars for an increasing number of people. The corona period recently gave a boost. What does the market look like today in the post-corona era?

Jessica Schumacher: We still feel some aftereffects of the pandemic, such as supply chain problems. In addition, the energy crisis has shaken the entire industry profoundly. Rising prices have led to a new cost consciousness and reluctance to buy; as a result, dealers have a lot of stock on hand. Then there was the unfavorable weather for cyclists, which negatively impacted the industry. Even though all this caused a dampener, we remain optimistic.

Economic Forum: What are the current trends in the market?

Jessica Schumacher: There is particularly high demand for lightweight bikes. We responded to this customer demand and have brought bikes with lighter handling to the market, which are also suitable for older customers. At Eurobike, we are presenting the first i:SY compact bike made of carbon. With the Skyfly, we have gone a step further; the bike excites with a modern frame shape and weighs only 16.9 kg, which is unique in the market. With i:SY CAB, an extension of the cargo series is in the final stages of development. Thanks to a modular system, the bike can grow with the respective life circumstances. It is individually customizable, whether with a baby carrier, a children's or dog box, all of which can be easily clicked in. Together with the cargo bike, it replaces a car.

i:SY Office in Cologne
The new premises on Lichtstraße in Cologne
i_SY Skyfly and P12
Skyfly (green wheel) is equipped with Bosch SX, quiet and light. The P12 (black) with innovative, powerful mid-motor from Pinion with 12-speed integrated gearing

Economic Forum: How big is i:SY today?

Jessica Schumacher: We employ 25 people, moved from Hüllhorst to Cologne at the beginning of 2021, and just a few weeks ago, we moved into a very nice, modern office in Cologne, with plenty of space for creative exchange, but also for retreats. The move was an important step; here we benefit from optimal conditions for modern, including hybrid, work. We have a core team that has been there from the start, but with the move to Cologne, we also gained many new employees who have started with a common mission. We consciously rely on flat hierarchies, where everyone is on the same level and every opinion counts.

Economic Forum: What role does the shortage of skilled workers play in this booming market?

Jessica Schumacher: It remains difficult to find skilled workers, especially in the trades. Mechanics for bicycles or service people are rare; if you find them, you need to take care of them. However, the location in Cologne is advantageous in this respect. Starting in 2024, we will offer apprenticeships and dual study programs to be able to work prospectively with newcomers from our own ranks.

Economic Forum: How would you describe the current market position?

Jessica Schumacher: The compact bike has moved out of its niche; we have the original and set the benchmarks. In the DACH region, we are the leaders with it.

i:SY Cargo
Whether shopping, a baby or a dog needs to be transported – i:SY Cargo simply adapts to life

Economic Forum: What are the reasons for this success?

Jessica Schumacher: Of course, it's the compact bikes themselves, sophisticated products that are easy to sell. The bikes stand for consistently good quality and excellent riding behavior. If there are problems, they are immediately eliminated. In addition, there's our team. Many product developers are themselves enthusiastic cyclists; our sales representatives listen to the dealers, enjoy their trust, and maintain a partnership relationship. We have our ear to the ground with the trade and the community, have been and always will be a reliable partner for trade and consumers.

Economic Forum: i:SY is the original; many providers want to follow suit. How do you assess future opportunities?

Jessica Schumacher: The e-bike boom began in Germany, so the market here will be saturated at some point. We want to be prepared for that moment. Currently, Germany, German-speaking countries, and the Benelux countries are the most important sales markets, but in the future, we want to be even more internationally present. We attend fairs like Eurobike, Caravan Salon, IAA in Munich, and next year a fair in Australia, to make and maintain personal contacts. i:SY is not love at first sight, but at first ride. We need to get people on the bike; before a purchase, they need to be able to test the bike. That's why fairs are important.

Economic Forum: Is there a specific vision for the next few years?

Jessica Schumacher: In the future, we want to work even more transparently and sustainably towards consumers and use digital content for this purpose. Currently, we are particularly strong in Northern and Central Germany; now we are focusing on the whole of Europe. i:SY should not only be associated with 'simple,' but be the epitome of the compact bike per se.