Spotlight: How Outrider USA Improved Their Business by Finding Purpose

How Outrider USA Improved Their Business by Finding Purpose

Some businesses start out with a really clear vision of who they serve. Others find that specific purpose along the way. Though Outrider USA started as a personal project, the team quickly learned they could serve a greater need. Learn about the company’s journey into adaptive vehicles in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Offers adaptive transportation options.

Jacob Lothers, social media and content coordinator for Outrider USA told Small Business Trends, “We manufacture lightweight electric vehicles (trikes mostly), with an emphasis on adaptive sports. We specialize in building machines for customers with Quadriplegia, Paraplegia, Spinal Cord Injuries, stroke victims, etc.”

Business Niche

Long-range drivetrains and adaptive machines.

Lothers says, “We have had a number of popular customer testimonials, especially our first adaptive customer, Chris, with whom our emphasis on adaptive machines began back in 2014. We offer the longest range and highest speed for any electric vehicle in its class.”

How the Business Got Started

As a personal project.

Lothers explains, “The company began with our co-founders in college, building their own personal electric trikes. The company officially began with a kickstarter campaign.”

Biggest Win

Finding purpose.

Lothers says, “Our biggest win was finding Dr. Chris Wenner, who approached us about building an adaptive trike. The project proved to bring a powerful purpose to our work, to help disabled individuals get out and off-road again. This has since become one of our company’s core values.”

Biggest Risk

Starting a Kickstarter campaign.

Lothers says, “Without it, we could not have developed our full-suspension chassis, which is the crucial element of our adaptive platforms. It was a long process of paying back investors, and we weren’t sure if we were going to make enough revenue to do so. Thankfully, we have stayed on top of all of our payments, and have bought mobility back to over a hundred individuals. Had we not carried through on our investments, it could have been the death of the company.”

Lesson Learned

Focus on serving others.

Lothers adds, “I think all of us agree that we wished we had gotten into adaptive bikes sooner. There’s nothing more fulfilling than getting a tearful message from a quadriplegic customer being able to get off pavement for the first time in five years.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Improving their offerings.

Lothers explains, “We would allocate a portion of those funds to parts for machines in the production cue, but the rest we would certainly spend on boosting the development of more articulate adaptive control systems. We have been developing joystick controls and a head-movement control for quite some time, but its development has been delayed due to funding, and allocating employee time to these systems.”

Fun Fact

The company holds multiple speed records.

Lothers says, “We hold a couple of e-bike records, from fastest sub-100 pound vehicle (speed of 85.9 mph), to fastest time at Pike’s Peak Cycling Hillclimb (our 1st place cyclist got to the finish line before the finish line banner had even been set up; one of our favorite “big fish” stories!)”

Favorite Quote

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” -Dr. Seuss

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Image: Outrider USA

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.