When entrepreneurial inspiration strikes, it’s often described as the convergence of creative and commercial instincts. An innovator perceives a void in the marketplace and conceives a product or experience to fill that space and drive demand for more. But for Gabriel Wartofsky and Bob Vander Woude, that well-worn path into the startup trenches has been less clear-cut.
The partners have spent the past two years developing Conscious Commuter, a company built around an electric bicycle with a sleek design and long-range battery. However the whole enterprise is driven by nothing short of a mission to revolutionize transportation.“We’re solution providers,” declares Vander Woude, an entrepreneur and CEO of a seed-stage investment fund, who was looking to fund an electric bike company when he happened upon a web demo of Wartofsky’s senior thesis project, now the basis for their partnership, which aims to implement e-bike sharing systems in cities around the world. “We’re multi-modal. That’s the secret sauce. Other electric bike companies are not coming from the background of solving a social problem. They’re just motivated to get to a retailer and make money.”