Miralago Shifts Strategy to Become Technology Provider
ÁGUEDA, Portugal – The bike-sharing project in the country’s capital Lisbon developed by Miralago created an important spin-off for the company. “For us the Lisbon project was an all-new experience and we entered partnership with companies like Vodafone, other mobility providers and toll collectors,” said Miralago CEO Jorge Santiago. “It made us decide to change the course of our company drastically.”
While two third of the Lisbon bike sharing system counts on e-bikes, more than 90 percent of all rides in Lisbon are made on electric bicycles. “Joining such a bike-sharing project means more than supplying the bicycles,” explains Jorge Santiago. “It includes a wide range of services and implementing innovative technologies, especially electronics. We decided to change our future strategy drastically. In the next five years we will be focused to transform Miralago/Orbita into a technology-based company. We need to do more than ‘bicycles’ and technology will be the base of our company.”
Powerful future base
Jorge Santiago joined the bicycle industry in September 2015 with the take-over of Miralago and Orbita. Both companies were in disarray. “I wanted an industrial company (Miralago), a brand name (Orbita which is based nearby) and international sales. However, to make both future proof again a reorganization was highly essential. The experience in our own country with the Lisbon bike sharing project gave us a powerful base for the future. We made the strategic decision to focus on these main topics: the development of mobility and sharing solutions both with bicycles and other vehicles, as well as R&D as a service. It is a common trend to concentrate more and more on R&D, IoT and electronics. Also in the bicycle industry the parts that make the electrification of bicycle, represent a higher value than the regular bike ever did.” The reorganization also included the transfer of all bicycle production at Orbita to Miralago. Today Orbita is only product development, sales and logistics.
Aluminum frame production
Jorge Santiago is positive about the Bike Value Portugal project. “The clustering of the companies is very beneficial for our industry. It is important not to compete too much with each other, but to cooperate. The real competition comes from outside the European Union. However, we continue to look for new partners outside the industry in particular as they bring us new markets and the technology we are focusing on.”
Export still makes up the largest part of Miralago’s business. Generally, 90 percent of the revenues are generated on markets like France, Spain and Italy. “When I took over the company the annual turnover was 3.4 million euro, while we increased that to 7.3 million euro in 2017.” The reorganization of Miralago is still in progress. Jorge Santiago already decided to stop the production of saddles, as well as several metal treatment processes. As an experienced steel frame manufacturer with an annual production of more than 100,000 units, Miralago is preparing to start the manufacturing of aluminum frames as well. “Except one, all elements of the aluminum frame production will be done in-house. In 2019 we expect to start with a capacity of 20,000 units annually,” said Jorge Santiago.