Philipp Pfaeffli, founder of pedelecSQB Electric Bicycle, is a three-time entrepreneur who has chosen to build his latest venture around one of his recreational passions.
"I've launched startups a few times. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not," he said. "I've always been interested in technical electronics and mechanics as well as an avid bike rider. I had a friend with an e-bike shop in Switzerland who I learned all I know from. He's like my Yoda. So with my experience in project management and entrepreneurship I decided to start my own e-bike shop here in Florida after I met my wife here on holiday. I decided to use my friend's concept as a model for my own. I did my homework, researching the demographics to determine if there was a strong enough market for high quality bikes here, and I was happy to learn there was."
pedelecSQB sells, rents and maintains electric-assist bicycles.
"Many people think it's like a scooter, but it's not," Pfaeffli explained. "You don’t need a driver's license because it's legally a regular bicycle. You can also get plenty of exercise if that's your goal. If you want a fast bike with a lot of gears, you can have it. They're more versatile than a regular bike. We are a multibrand shop. We cover every kind of ride that the customer can think of. There's no other shop in Florida that can offer this variety and expertise. Plus we have a food corner offering all-natural smoothies, sandwiches and wraps that are created by a licensed nutritionist."
Pfaeffli's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to differentiate your offering in the marketplace and make sure you are sufficiently capitalized.
"Do your homework to see if what you're offering makes sense," he said. "Check your competitors and determine if you can offer something no one else can offer. Find something that is new to the market and about to take off. Make sure you have enough money to last through the difficult times so you don't have to close your business before you can grow."