It takes only a few seconds for anyone to notice that USC is a very busy place. To newly admitted freshmen, the hustle and bustle of Trousdale Parkway at 10 a.m. is frightening and chaotic at the very least. In an urban campus teeming with movement, activity and distracted students, efficient transportation is unfortunately lacking. That’s where GenZe, a startup conceived in Silicon Valley, comes in. The company seeks to remedy ineffective transport issues with its line of effective and eco-friendly electric scooters.
The concept behind GenZe was developed when the company toured university campuses across the country in an effort to examine and analyze the daily routine of college students. What they found was that students weren’t using transport for any single purpose, instead using them for a variety of things. Furthermore, many were unsatisfied with the existing modes of transport and desired more from their vehicles.
“Students would have to wait for a campus bus in the snow, rain or hot sun. If they were taking a bicycle, there wouldn’t be enough space for their laptop, backpack or groceries,” said Yesim Erez, head of marketing and development for GenZe. “Furthermore, universities like USC are making it increasingly difficult for students to own cars because it’s very expensive to park, gas prices are high and students can’t always afford to pay for repairs.”
With such problems in mind, GenZe has created two products that combine practical functionality with striking aesthetics and innovation. The GenZe 2.0 is an electric scooter that provides substantial storage capacity and creates a hassle-free transport experience. Powered by a rechargeable battery module, the vehicle is complete with an electronics charging port and a 7-inch touch-screen monitor that syncs with smartphone applications and indicates important vehicular diagnostics such as speed and charge state.
Its counterpart is the GenZe e-Bike, a modern twist on the traditional bicycle. Its distinct feature is its throttle, which can propel the bike without any human exertion. Also powered by a lightweight battery pack, the e-Bike is extremely versatile, coming in the form of both sports and recreational models.
For any company centered on a product, one of the most important elements of its success is the nature of consumers’ response. Naturally for GenZe, the feedback has been tremendous. Many students have already purchased the vehicles online, and the company is preparing to exhibit its products on various university campuses on the West Coast, including USC, UC Davis and UCLA.
GenZe’s successful and innovative products cannot be viewed in isolation, however, as the people and work behind the company also distinguishes GenZe from similar businesses. Genze has an immense talent pool — many of its engineers have previously worked at Tesla Motors and Mercedes-Benz. Furthermore, the GenZe team is diverse, as all designers have had extensive experience producing consumer products. According to the company, even in vehicle production, understanding consumers and their nuanced tastes is essential to success.
“We carefully studied what students define as cool, and we came to learn that they have an affinity for minimalism,” Erez said. “Look at our scooter, for example. Many people like scooters but don’t think they look cool. Thus, we made the seat so that you can sit on it or put it on a slant and lean on it like a barstool.”
Despite its current success among university students, GenZe is looking to continuously improve its products and business model. The company currently delivers products to California, Oregon and Michigan, a limitation that it hopes to soon overcome. In the next year, GenZe plans to expand across the country. By doing this, the company can sell their products directly to students and be conveniently located to provide more services to them. Furthermore, GenZe is also looking to expand its portfolio of electric vehicles in order to better serve the transportation needs of students and urban commuters.
GenZe’s vision keeps its engine going. The company hopes that their products will allow students to utilize its own skills and talents to create the next generation of ingenious products that create a positive difference in someone else’s world. “Always start with the end in mind and always try to think of a solution that no one else is thinking of,” Erez said. “You always want to create a unique product that has a value-added difference.
The GenZe does what a bicycle, skateboard and even a car cannot. It fills a void and a need that no other product can in the same way.” For students curious about GenZe’s products, the company will be exhibiting the GenZe 2.0 and the e-Bikes outside the Lyon Center on Sept. 16 and 17.