Rad Energy Bikes founder Mike Randenbaugh on fueling the e-bike revolution – TechCrunch


Rad Energy Bikes founder Mike Radenbaugh grew up among the many Redwood bushes on the Misplaced Coast of Northern California with “tree hugger mother and father and tree hugger neighbors,” and a life linked to nature. This uncovered the founder not solely to other ways of residing which are extra accountable to the planet but additionally to different vitality. As a younger teenager watching the electrical car area, Radenbaugh grew to become energized seeing electrical bikes and vehicles popping up however was impatient with their gradual commercialization.

When Radenbaugh was 15, he constructed his first e-bike hacking collectively elements he ordered from Radio Shack and eBay with the cash he saved from his job as a bellboy on the one resort on the town. This was again in 2007, and regardless of his younger age, Radenbaugh says that is the 12 months Rad Energy Bikes was based.

“I began promoting within the native newspaper they usually gave me the primary advert free I feel as a result of I went in as this punk child they usually felt sympathy for me,” Radenbaugh instructed TechCrunch.

Over the subsequent few years, Radenbaugh continued as a sole proprietor constructing bespoke e-bikes for individuals who’d attain out in search of one thing quick and highly effective to interchange their automobile journeys. Alongside the way in which, he says he actually bought to grasp what it was prospects needed and what was lacking from {the marketplace}.

With all this data and hands-on expertise buffering him, in 2015, Radenbaugh relaunched Rad Energy Bikes as a direct-to-consumer enterprise. He and his rising group set to work perfecting the enterprise mannequin, including in company-owned retail shops and cell service facilities across the nation, partnering with a giant community of motorcycle retailers and constructing a massive-scale provide chain.

Now, the corporate has 615 workers members with plans to rent extra, over 350,000 prospects and is producing bikes in six nations. The corporate’s getting huge, and it’s getting huge quick, with reported gross sales in 2019 of $100 million.

That quantity solely elevated in 2020, largely because of the COVID-related growth in e-bike gross sales usually. Earlier this 12 months, the corporate raised $150 million to scale globally, the most important funding spherical of a U.S. electrical bike startup. However because the world begins to wrangle coronavirus to some extent the place cities are opening up, will this growth in e-bike gross sales final?

We sat down with Radenbaugh to speak concerning the e-bike revolution, diversifying the provision chain and constructing a product that’s made for the way folks need to use it.

The next interview, a part of an ongoing sequence with founders who’re constructing transportation firms, has been edited for size and readability.

What would you say is totally different about your small business mannequin in comparison with the competitors? Corporations like VanMoof have additionally been scoring giant funding rounds currently.

Being user-friendly is constant throughout the entire lineup. We popularized fats tires on e-bikes, we popularized throttles on e-bikes, so our prospects may have extra energy. None of these issues actually existed; they have been simply tremendous nascent and extra a part of the DIY neighborhood till we commercialized them. So each of these options I feel are form of pivotal to the DNA of our enterprise, and it simply so seems that we simply knew one thing early on that lots of people didn’t by listening to the shopper — that the bike shouldn’t solely be pedal assisted. They need to be extra substantial and actually transfer your butt from level A to level B.


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