The coronavirus pandemic has affected each one of us in ways that were not imaginable not even a year ago. Luckily, for some, the pandemic has provided opportunities to utilize technology to gain a distinct advantage. With current social distancing protocols in place, Verve Scooters offers transportation that’s both efficient and allows for social distancing.
Verve Scooters, which offers dockless electronic scooters, was created to help reduce traffic congestion and offer a more environmentally friendly method of transportation for its users.
The company is run by Kevin Thompson, CEO; Naim Statham, COO; and music executive Tykeem “Tak” Williams, co-founder. Former NBA champion Rasheed Wallace is an investor in the company. Verve Scooters is one of few Black-owned scooter companies in the United States and presently, the only Black-owned scooter company targeting inner cities to create pathways of success for people outside of suburban areas.
BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to the founders of the company to discuss their recent venture and plans for Verve Scooters.
How did the Verve Scooters venture come to fruition and how has the business been since the coronavirus pandemic took over the country?
Verve Scooters came to fruition because we saw a need for an effective eco-friendly way of transportation for our community that was also affordable. With the safety risks of the coronavirus pandemic rapidly impacting every community, it gave Verve the continued motivation in furthering our efforts to gather the community and cultivate more job opportunities for the previously incarcerated and inner-city youth.
As entrepreneurs, what was the path that led the two of you to become partners in this venture and how does your previous background help you?
We have always been interested in ways that would help support the families in our community. We see the need to put the strength and confidence back into the inner-city families. It was a no-brainer for us to partner with somebody who has so much experience in the music industry and also has aligned aspirations for our community. They only show the negativity in hip-hop, but they don’t show how this is a huge community. Also, it has many benefits, with one being a way to reach the youth.
What would you say would be the most important factor that will drive the success of Verve Scooters?
One of the driving forces for us to be successful business owners is the weight of being the first Black-owned mobile tech company. We have a passion for making change for the environment, which is why we take pride in being eco-friendly. We also want to help Black communities thrive, which is why we hire previously incarcerated people and people in our neighborhoods to provide alternative solutions for them. Verve Scooters is also COVID-friendly with a single person use.
If someone were to come to you for suggestions on how to be a successful business owner, what advice would you give that person?
The best advice we can give is that success is not a competition, it’s a journey. It’s important to do more than just make things a hustle. It’s essential to find your niche because nothing can exist without thought. You have to understand the industry and where it is in the current climate we live in, whether industries are oversaturated, and what demographics the industry serves. That also includes whether or not you may have to relocate to successfully develop this industry. We would also say to not be afraid to be the trailblazer into a new industry and to make sure to look for sustainability and build the infrastructure for generational wealth.
With Verve Scooters approaching the anniversary of its launch, what is in the future for the company, and are there any plans to branch off to other companies or ventures?
We plan to start an investment group for young minorities and returning citizens to get into the tech industry and become entrepreneurs. We hopefully plan for the future to be in Tyler Perry Studios, among many other communities. We also want to provide transportation and help provide infrastructure in underdeveloped countries in Africa.