It all started on a summer day when Matt Maxwell, a Cal Poly sophomore at the time, tested out an electric bike at Avila Beach and immediately fell in love with the newfound mode of transportation. Not long after, with the help of his business partner Tavin Boynton, the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), and the City of San Luis Obispo, BoltAbout was born.
Maxwell and Boynton decided to begin turning their love for electric bikes into a career in April of 2016 by joining the CIE’s on-campus Hatchery program. From there, the team landed themselves a spot in both the HotHouse Accelerator and Incubator programs.
“I learned so much just during that three month period [of the Accelerator] that really helped set a strong foundation to build our business into what it is today,” said Maxwell. “After the accelerator program, we were in the incubator for about a year out of the two years of the program because as our business grew, we needed to get a warehouse and a bigger office.”
Now that BoltAbout has left the CIE nest, the company mainly functions out of its location on Broad Street to work on its various services.
BoltAbout’s main goal is to reduce the barriers to electric transportation adoption in the community through selling and long-term renting electric bikes. The company offers a popular electric bike subscription program that allows customers to rent their own bike and equipment for $79 per month.
However, the company also has its focus on two services running underneath it.
One of these services is Agile Defense, a program that BoltAbout started in order to aid the local police force and emergency responders.
“It’s a BoltAbout owned business where we up fit police and emergency responder electric bikes,” Maxwell said of the service. “Hopefully, soon when the new budget cycle starts, we’re going to be upgrading their fleet to our Agile Defender electric bikes.”
As their second endeavor, motivated by the location that sparked their business idea, Maxwell and Boynton acquired the Pedego electric bike store in Avila Beach to share their passion for electric transportation with locals and tourists.
With a range of services, BoltAbout is expected to double or triple its number of bike subscriptions in the next Cal Poly academic year, make more contributions to the city, advance the local workforce community and increase its team of employees with the coming months.
Even though their big advancements happened after moving out of the HotHouse, the co-founders stress that they couldn’t have done it all without local city and the CIE support.
“When we started BoltAbout, it was crazy. There was always this silent hand that was pushing us in the right direction,” said Boynton, BoltAbout co-founder and Director of Customer Experience. “I think if we were doing this in another region or city it might be hard, so we’ve tried to keep everything here in SLO.”
Not only is the quality of community support high in this Central Coast city for the BoltAbout team, so is the quality of life.
“Most important to us is the happiness and wellbeing of everyone on our team and there’s no happier place in the world than SLO,” added Maxwell. “We’re grateful to have the opportunity to be here and the CIE made that happen for us.”
Looking to begin your next business venture in the vibrant City of San Luis Obispo? Head to https://cie.calpoly.edu/launch/hothouse-incubator/ and learn about joining the CIE HotHouse Incubator program today.
To see more about BoltAbout’s services and programs, visit https://boltabout.com/.