Ready to Roll
Wang is a diminutive 27-year-old with big ideas. As founder and CEO of EUCO (Electric Unicycle Collective), a multimillion-dollar startup in San Diego, she’s redefining personal transportation with a focus on not four wheels, or two, but one.
Her company got its start less than two years ago by selling electric scooters, and now it’s focused on self-balancing, electric unicycles. These are no toys. The InMotion V10 can cruise at 25 m.p.h. with a range of nearly 50 miles. The website GearPriest.com calls it “by far one of the best in the market today.”
Wang’s commuting nightmares convinced her that transportation needs a makeover. “On Google Maps, it would always be a huge red streak,” she says of her former commute in Washington, D.C. She became convinced that micromobility—the use of ultra-lightweight, powered vehicles for one person—could be transformative. “Micromobility is here to stay,” she declares. “These products are changing lives, enabling people to have a more flexible lifestyle and allowing them to step out of their cars and enjoy the outdoors.”
Selling unicycles has its challenges. Some countries have banned them out of what the econ major feels are misplaced safety concerns. “You discover this thing that is so amazing and magical, and it is taken away because people don’t understand,” says Wang, who is working with state and municipal legislators to make sure her unicycles stay legal in the United States.
Born in China’s Hunan Province, Wang came to the United States at age 8. Her entrepreneurial spirit emerged as a high school sophomore, when she discovered none of the major cosmetics brands had colors that matched her skin tone—and she figured other Asian Americans must have the same problem. With the money she earned making smoothies at Jamba Juice, she imported cosmetics from Korea and sold them online. But then she hit a roadblock: her parents. “They told me, ‘You have to go to college and get a regular job,’ ”
she says, laughing. “My parents squashed my entrepreneurial spirit.” But only for a while. Wang decided to go into law and snagged an internship in a government office after her freshman year at Dartmouth.
“I hated it,” Wang laughs. “I thought, ‘Crap, what do I do now?’ ” After graduation she worked in software engineering, but she wanted to get an M.B.A. or start a company. The lure of the startup won out. Using the popular Chinese app WeChat, she searched for a business in China in need of a U.S. partner. Eventually she connected with a company called InMotion, which wanted to import its line of high-end electric scooters and other micromobility products to the United States. Now she’s developing new partnerships in China to bring a variety of powered unicycles to the U.S. market. InMotion is just one of several brands she works with. The entrepreneur and her handful of employees at their California office do more than sell—the team is hands-on with product development, and Wang tests each item before it hits the market.
“Things are moving fast for us these days,” she says. EUCO is rolling out a membership-based community that Wang hopes will allow members to purchase products at cost and “eliminate any negative impacts caused by the tariffs.” She hopes a steady income stream from membership fees will enable her to focus on advocating for a one-wheel future.
“It’s not really about the money,” she says. “It is about what changes we can bring to the status quo.”
Rick Beyer is an author and filmmaker.