HumanForest suspends service, lays off staff and plans 2021 relaunch

HumanForest has suspended its e-bike service in London following “mechanical issues” and will relaunch in Spring 2021 with a new model.

As part of the move, the UK start-up has made a number of layoffs just weeks after announcing a £1.8 million seed round of funding. 

The company confirmed it had suspended its service following a “minor accident” on Sunday.

“We were not aware that the bike was defective,” a spokeswoman told TechRadar. “There had been problems of a similar nature which were suspected to be tampering or minor mechanical issues. We undertook extra mechanical checks which we believed had resolved the issue and informed the supplier. We immediately suspended operations following the minor accident on Sunday. The supplier is now investigating whether there is a more serious problem with the e-bike.”

“We are very sorry that we had to let people go at this difficult time but, with operations suspended, we could only continue as a business with a significantly reduced team,” she said. “We tried very hard to find a way to keep people on board and we looked at the possibility of alternative contractual arrangements or employment but unfortunately, there are no guarantees of when we can re-launch.

“Employees who had been with the company for less than three months were on their probation period which, as outlined in their contract, had one week’s notice. We will be paying their salaries until the end of the month.”

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