In just four years, Phoenix-based Lectric Ebikes quickly grew into a major player in the US e-bike market. The garage startup story of how Lectric’s founders rode the brand’s budget-priced e-bikes all the way to the top has been told many times. Just as fascinating, yet less well-known, is how committed the company has been to giving back through major donations and philanthropy.
Today, on Giving Tuesday, that story deserves to be told.
When Lectric stormed onto the scene with its first sub-$1,000 e-bike, the co-founders Levi Conlow and Robby Deziel had no idea just how big it would become.
Shooting to the top as the best-selling e-bike in the US, the Lectric XP 3.0 has since been joined by several other models that have expanded the company’s range through fat tire bikes, cargo e-bikes, lightweight folders, and more. With several e-bikes still priced at under $1,000, the company has become a heavyweight of the affordable e-bike market.
I sat down with Levi to discuss how his team’s success has enabled the company to achieve its wide-ranging goals beyond merely selling e-bikes.
“In college, I became really interested in the idea of conscious capitalism,” Levi explained. “The idea that a business shouldn’t be purely about pursuing profits. It should do so in a way that focuses on ethics and remembers that a rising tide lifts all ships.”
Since its very beginning, Lectric Ebikes’ business model has focused on disruption by moving into new e-bike categories with models that significantly undercut current price trends. But as Levi explained, that model isn’t just about profits.
“Lectric is determined to continue to disrupt the bike market, also by setting a high bar for philanthropy. We’re the leader in sales, but we also want to lead the way in giving.”
And he isn’t just waxing poetically, either. The company has put its money where its mouth is. Just this year they’ve given away over US $2 million, including more than US $1 million in e-bike donations and over US $1 million in cash donations.
“Part of the reason we can do this is that we run a good company,” Levi continued. “We didn’t go the venture capital route or blow our money on bad business ideas or on buying growth. We’ve run a good, profitable business from day one. Leadership has continued to make what’s important to us important to the company. That’s the beauty of being the founders. Rob and I get to take our principles and further them through the good of the company.”
The amount of giving has grown as well. Last year, Lectric announced that it would partner with Beast Philanthropy to “adopt” an orphanage, completely renovating it with larger and better-equipped facilities to serve more children. The company told customers that for every e-bike sold on Giving Tuesday 2022, Lectric would donate $250 to the project. However, as the budget for the massive undertaking grew, Lectric ultimately donated 100% of its sales from the day.
Donating to orphanages and supporting foster care systems has become one of several main focuses of the company’s giving. “My relationship to parents was a huge resource to me growing up, they were so important to who I became. I still call them probably five times a week. And so that’s been part of why supporting foster care programs has been so important to me. To give orphans the best chance, the best resources that are often taken for granted.”
This year, they’ve decided right from the start to embrace that strategy of total giving. The company just announced that 100% of proceeds from bike sales today on this year’s Giving Tuesday will go towards Lectric’s next philanthropy project. If you want your entire bike purchase to go towards many of the charities and social projects that Lectric supports, you can find their wide range of e-bike sales here. Personally, this year I also started my own e-bike charitable project called E-bikes For Good, and so I’m going to buy an e-bike to donate, knowing that the money I spend will become a second donation as well.
This year’s Giving Tuesday project will be joining a long list of other far-reaching endeavors already undertaken by Lectric. The e-bike brand has partnered with Beast Philanthropy several times for global projects.
Those projects have included donating over 1,000 cargo e-bikes to be used for water collection in Africa for areas without clean drinking water, donating tens of thousands of shoes and clothing to those in need, installing solar power and internet access in a remote area of Colombia, and more.
Lectric has often provided funds and e-bikes for such projects, but also frequently sends its own staff to help out as well.
In addition to philanthropic projects worldwide, Lectric has also focused on helping those in need closer to home.
Recent activities have included working at and supplying Phoenix food banks, $100,000 in toy donations to a statewide toy drive during the holidays (including the Lectric team personally wrapping them), and partnering with local urban farms that feed food-insecure families.
During the holidays, the company even gave each of its employees a $2,000 stipend to donate to a charity of their choice.
“I’ve always believed in the saying that ‘The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give that gift away,’ Levi explained. It’s one of several quotes that Levi tries to live his life by.
And based on the company’s track record, it seems they’re doing a pretty good job.