Why Riide is cruising to San Francisco - Technical.ly DC

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Feb. 4, 2016 12:58 pm

Why Riide is cruising to San Francisco

The electric bike company, as well as three other D.C.-area startups, won a spot in the SF-based 500 Startups accelerator.
Riide is hanging out in SF for the next four months.

Riide is hanging out in SF for the next four months.

(Courtesy photo)

Riide’s newest office is a modest space on the top floor of a building in San Francisco’s Financial District. There, among the Ikea chairs and ping-pong tables, Amber Wason and Jeff Stefanis have joined the founders of 52 other startups for the 500 Startups accelerator program.

The D.C.-born electric bike company traded 5 percent in equity for an investment of $125,000, as well as four months of mentorship and a global community of connections.

The program only just started, but Wason and Stefanis are loving it.

“It’s only been a week but it feels like a long time,” Wason said of the new setup. It’s inspiring and straight-up helpful to be surrounded by the brain power and knowledge of so many other entrepreneurs, she told Technical.ly. “Everywhere you look is a likeminded individual.”

For Riide the decision to head West was a strategic one. “A lot of our sales were coming from San Francisco,” Wason told Technical.ly. So while the company wants to maintain roots in D.C., it’s also looking to keep a presence on the West Coast.

Joining this particular accelerator was another calculated move — Wason and Stefanis decided it would be able to meet their current needs best. While Riide is one of few hardware startups taking part in the program, they’re also post-production. What Riide needs help with now, Wason told Technical.ly, is fundraising, scaling and distribution. That’s where the help of 500 Startups comes in.

And Riide is not the only D.C.-area startup in this 500 Startups cohort. The company is joined by WorkAmerica, Rize and Mars Reel Media. In fact, in this particular group, #dctech has the highest representation outside of SF/Silicon Valley.

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