Charging around town: Flux Mopeds
Making electric mopeds a thing in the U.S.
Matt Brueggeman says he was sitting on his couch in Beijing, China, sipping beer with a friend and watching the 2008 Olympic games, when inspiration struck. He and his buddy, soon to be his business partner and company co-founder, tossed around some ideas before settling on the one that they felt held the most potential. Having lived in China for six years, Brueggeman says he had seen plenty of electric mopeds and electric bikes. “We talked about it and said, ‘Hey, let’s start an electric moped company and try to make this work in the U.S.’ And it was that simple.”
Well, the idea was simple, he says, but working through the regulatory requirements was a long process. The company opened its doors in April 2014. Brueggeman, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with a degree in Chinese and international studies and a co-founder of Flux Mopeds, along with Alex Meyer and Ellen Lang, describes his business as being “hyperlocal, cosmopolitan transportation.” He equates cosmopolitan transportation with the style of a vibrant city. “It’s providing people a solution at thirty miles an hour, twenty-five miles per charge, that would be able to perform all of the daily functions that a car would, but easier.”
The company’s target audience is professionals without children–either young professionals before they have kids or older professionals who are empty nesters.
What is social innovation?
According to Stanford University’s Social Innovation Review, social innovation is a “novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable or just than existing solutions” and benefits primarily society as a whole rather than private individuals.
It includes these elements:
Increasing employment, productivity and economic growth
Justice, fairness, environmental preservation, improved health, arts and culture and better education
A social innovation:
Can be a product, production process or technology (much like innovation in general), but it can also be a principle, an idea, a piece of legislation, a social movement, an intervention or some combination of them.
Recognizes the fundamental role of cross-sector dynamics: exchanging ideas and values, shifting roles and relationships and blending public, philanthropic and private resources. Innovation blossoms where the sectors converge.
Can’t be understood, let alone solved, without involving the nonprofit, public and private sectors.
The M List
Madison Magazine‘s M List is a who’s who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its third year, the M List recognizes those making strides in the area of social innovation. Last year’s list of innovators were in the food industry. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored “Foodtastic” entrepreneurs and innovators.