Upstart Scooter Company Challenges Big Guys on Safety and Equity - s11 ep14
Boaz Bikes Founder Emil Nnani Explains Community Impact at Launch of a New Crowdfunding Campaign
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Devin: What do you see as your superpower?
Emil: My superpower, I guess, would be. I don't quit. I don't. I don't give up. Losing is not an option. It's not in my vocabulary. I go and get it done.
Emil Nnani, founder and CEO of Boaz Bikes, a direct but small competitor to scooter giants Bird and Lime, focuses on driving social impact with safer vehicles and by serving underserved communities. He also works cooperatively with the municipalities where the company operates in Michigan, Arizona and Texas.
“I started it when I saw somebody fall off a Bird or Lime scooter in mid-2018,” Emil explains of the company’s genesis. He started by adding seats and widening the scooter deck to lower the center of gravity. Bigger wheels to overcome larger obstacles helped.
“We put turn signals and side mirrors [on the scooters],” Emil says. “And we're still the only scooter company out there that has the turn signals and side mirrors on their vehicles.”
“You'll see people are riding with one hand; they're holding their laptop bag or backpack or purse or something with their other hand,” he says of another safety risk. “It's not safe at all. So, putting that basket on every single vehicle so you can put your stuff in it so you can ride hands-free is a life changer.”
Another goal for the company is to address social equity. Boaz Bikes addresses this in two ways. First, the company offers 50 percent discounts to anyone on any type of government assistance. Second, the company services neighborhoods and communities that the big companies ignore.
Today, Boaz Bikes is raising money with a crowdfunding campaign on Wefunder. The company has previously raised about $1.5 million via crowdfunding, plus additional investment from other investors.
In this work, five years after its founding, Emil sees his superpower as perseverance and demonstrates how that has made a fundamental difference in the company’s success.
AI Episode Summary
Devin Thorpe interviews Emil Nnani, the CEO and founder of Boaz Bikes.
Boaz Bikes is a new alternative to the traditional scooters found in cities.
Boaz Bikes was created to solve the safety problem associated with scooters.
The design of Boaz Bikes makes them safer than traditional scooters, with a lower center of gravity, an open deck, larger tires, turn signals, side mirrors, and a basket for personal items.
Boaz Bikes also focuses on equity, offering discounted rides for people on government assistance and ensuring access to transportation for underserved communities.
The company works closely with communities, obtaining permits and stationing hubs in areas with transportation needs.
Boaz Bikes is currently raising money on Wefunder.
Emil’s superpower is his persistence and refusal to quit.
He shares his own experiences and uses them as examples to motivate and coach his team.
Emil's family and the investment already made in Boaz Bikes were his driving forces during a challenging time in his effort to raise venture capital in Silicon Valley.
How to Develop Perseverance As a Superpower
Launching a successful startup is evidence of a real superpower. Emil shares the story of its challenging beginning:
When I started Boaz back in 2018, I bootstrapped it, so I self-funded it with the little cash that I had. I built the app, built the first prototype, and went out to Silicon Valley trying to raise capital. I mean, I sent my pitch deck probably to like a thousand people. I messaged everybody I possibly could on LinkedIn.
I would go to these offices. I'll find the offices in San Francisco, and I'll go to these offices and try to get in and set meetings. It was the end of 2018, and nobody would meet with me. I spent maybe four days there, spent all of my money already on the prototype and building the app and the platform–so little, little money left.
I drove there with the prototype in my back seat, and they wouldn't meet with me. Nobody. Nobody would meet with me. It was horrible. I tried everything. I tried sneaking up in the elevator but couldn't get through. I mean, it was devastating.
I had to drive all the way from California back to Texas with no investment whatsoever. And at that point, I just knew I was done. It was like, I tried. You hear these stories about people going to different areas, and then they're giving it their all. And then you hear these success stories, and it didn't happen for me.
But on that ride back, I didn't give up. I got back to Texas and opened up the first family and friends round, and I raised $350,000. So yeah, I could have given up after that huge failure in San Francisco, but I didn't.
Emil highlights the need for a powerful “why” to strengthen your perseverance. Omitted from the story above, he admits, is that his wife and daughter were in the car for the trip. They served as a decisive motivating factor for his refusal to quit.
By following Emil’s example, you can strengthen your own resilience so you can persevere through the challenges you face. With practice, you can make it a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.
Emil Nnani (he/him):
CEO, Boaz Bikes Inc
About Boaz Bikes Inc: Boaz Bikes is a trailblazing micro-mobility company dedicated to revolutionizing urban transportation. Our mission is to provide safe, affordable, and sustainable mobility solutions to communities, with a particular focus on underserved areas. Through a fleet of electric scooters, we're transforming the way people move in urban environments. Our commitment to accessibility, innovation, and community engagement drives us as we expand our presence across multiple states, connecting people and places while fostering eco-friendly transportation alternatives.
Twitter Handle: @boazbikes
Company Facebook Page: facebook.com/boazbikes
Other URL: wefunder.com/boazbike/
Instagram Handle: @boazbikes
Biographical Information: Emil is a dynamic individual who has made his mark in the world as an accomplished artist, inspiring speaker, prolific author, innovative inventor, devoted husband, proud father, savvy serial entrepreneur, and a devout believer. With an entrepreneurial spirit that was evident from a young age, Emil took the business world by storm when he launched his first venture at just 17 years old. His tenacity and vision led him to achieve his first million in sales by the impressive age of 22.
As a true visionary, Emil has continued to blaze new trails in the world of business, most recently as the founder of Boaz Bikes. His groundbreaking electric scooter and E-Bike MaaS platform have transformed the landscape of urban transportation by solving first and last-mile transportation problems for cities all across the globe. Emil's unwavering commitment to innovation and his tireless work ethic make him a force to be reckoned with in the business world and a true inspiration to all who aspire to make their dreams a reality.
Twitter Handle: @Iam_fet
Instagram Handle: @iam_fet