Today, exactly one year ago, Modmo launched its bike onto the world stage for the first time ever.
It was the culmination of 2 years of research, design and factory visits, not to mention many years before that of planning and ideation by Jack, our founder.
Now, as our first production run has shipped and will be reaching our very earliest customers, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the beginning of it all. So we sat down for a chat with Jack and Ton, the head of R&D and lead mechanical engineer, who were the first two members of the Modmo team.
It all started in mid-2019 when Jack hired Ton.
Jack and Ton’s first real-life view of their ‘babies’
“We certainly weren’t a well financed startup. When it came to the end of the month, I’d be asking my family to loan me money,” says Jack. “So yeah, it was actually a big risk taking on Ton because it wasn't clear that I’d be able to pay him.”
Ton laughs “And I knew it! But I wanted to work with Jack - it was an ambitious goal, it was inspiring, and a whole different environment to work in than a traditional Vietnamese company. We worked so closely together and we did it because of the passion and our belief that we could make it happen.”
“At one point I was living in the factory” Ton laughs. “The back-and-forth, making slight iterations on design were taking too long so, one day during a meeting, I asked if I could just stay there.”
Jack with the first prototype, Jan 10th 2020
When they took the bike design to the factory for the first time, their head engineer told them that it looked beautiful but it was not possible to mass produce.
“They kept coming back to us with suggestions on how to make it easier to mass produce but Ton said no, we’re not making compromises,” says Jack.
“I was confident in my manufacturing knowledge so I told them “I know you can do it, don’t lie to me! Just try it first!”,” says Ton, “and then when they tried it, it worked.”
The prototype bike frame coming to life
They built the first prototype during Christmas, 2019, and by the time 2020 came around, first prototype was ready and Modmo was ready to launch the Saigon+ into the market.
Left: Modmo team May 2020 | Right: Modmo Team end of June 2020, when we moved into our current office
As the year progressed the team grew - we are now over 20! - and the company kept developing the bikes. The same factory that we worked with for the first prototype is still with us and has produced well over 1,000 Modmo frames since with many more in production.
Over the months, our engineering team tweaked and developed the bikes, and in September 2020 we completed the Saigon bike.
Modmo team July 2020, complete with Chloe, our dog
Since then we have been focussing on mass production and fulfilling the backorders of almost 1,000 bikes, building our brand and developing future products, and on growing our team.
Modmo has been able to fund the entire product development through customer pre-orders and a lot of how our bikes were designed is the result of ongoing communication between the Modmo team and those early customers. We treasure that - thank you for your belief and support.
We want to thank you for your patience - we can’t wait for you to finally get your hands on your Saigon and to hear back from you what you think and where you want the Modmo vision to go next.
Happy Birthday, here’s to year #2 !