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STARTUP

That Electric-Bike Posse in Seattle? It’s a Startup on Its Way to $20 Million in Sales

These road warriors rule Seattle’s streets on the electric bikes they build.

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BY Kevin J. Ryan - 12 Jul 2018

CREDIT: Nils Ericson

You don't have to be a superb cyclist to work at Rad Power Bikes, but you do have to enjoy frequent bike rides. The three-year-old startup, which makes electric bicycles, issues one to each employee--and ends many workdays with staff rides through Seattle. Co-founder and CEO Mike Radenbaugh built his first electric bike as a 15-year-old, to commute to high school in rural Northern California. Ten years later, he roped in friends Ty Collins and Marimar White-Espin to start the company, which sold $20 million worth of wheels last year.

Now Rad Power's 45 employees escape the office by hitting the road, often ending up at a brewery, or maybe the beach. On weekends, they leave the motors behind and do some old-fashioned mountain biking. "We try to make our rides inclusive in terms of the trails we use and the pace we set," Radenbaugh says. "Everyone wants to mountain bike with the crew. People have converted into total cycle geeks."

Employees of Rad Power Bikes on an after-work ride through the Ballard neighborhood near the company's flagship store. CREDIT: Nils Ericson

Road Show

During this post-work ride in April, the staff of Rad Power Bikes zipped around the North Seattle neighborhood of Ballard on their electric bikes. It's a little bit fitness, a little bit team-building, and a little bit proselytizing, as curious pedestrians often ask the group what they're up to. "From a marketing perspective," says co-founder Ty Collins, "it definitely helps to have 25 people all on Rad Power Bikes cruising around town."

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