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Off to a good start
On May 25th, European Sleeper launched its first night train between Brussels and Berlin, marking an important milestone for the company. The European Sleeper Cooperative fully financed the start-up phase of the company, with over 1,700 investors becoming part of the community and without incurring a single euro of debt. Although setbacks in securing a railroad timeslot led to launch delays and significant start-up losses, the healthy balance sheet, determination of the team, and trust of all co-owners allowed the first night train on the Brussels – Berlin route to become operational.
Time to grow
Ticket sales are booming due to the increasing demand for more efficient and sustainable travel options. European Sleeper aims to grow its ticket sales, expand its routes, and increase the number of timeslots available. To achieve this growth, the company seeks three million euros of new investment, offering a unique investment opportunity to a broad spectrum of investors.
European Sleeper plans to invest in quality improvements, increase the number of rides, and expand its marketing and sales efforts with the three million euros of growth capital raised. This includes displaying connecting train connections and partner integrations to improve the current booking flow. The company also plans to launch a new route each year, improve its trains, and expand its services to an everyday basis instead of three times a week. Additionally, the company aims to increase brand awareness and become the symbol of modern European night trains, with sales partners joining to promote ticket sales.
In 2021, European Sleeper was founded by Elmer van Buuren and Chris Engelsman. They chose a cooperative, because the company has been established and financed by a wide community of sleeper train fans. In two investment rounds, European Sleeper attracted €2.5 million in equity from more than 1,700 small and medium-sized private investors. This enabled European Sleeper to make a very speedy start, without incurring debts. Furthermore, a unique European railway company has emerged, which is completely community-owned.
European Sleeper is growing fast
Next year, we expect to extend the current connection between Brussels and Berlin to Dresden and Prague. Furthermore, we have taken concrete steps to introduce services between Amsterdam, Brussels, and Barcelona from 2025. The latter connection was chosen by the European Commission as one of the ten pilot projects to improve international rail services in Europe. European Sleeper therefore expects to get support for implementing good international rail services and for the funding of its own carriages.
Continuing our journey
As a start-up, it is not an easy venture to launch a new sleeper train service connecting European capitals. Good sleeping cars are currently difficult to find and establishing a suitable train service is a labour-intensive process. Nevertheless, European Sleeper is well on its way to becoming an important player in international rail services between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.