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. (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 “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 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, 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.

Companies: Riide / 500 Startups
People: Riide / 500 Startups / Jeff Stefanis / Amber Wason

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