The Birth of the Stigo — Conversations with the Stigo CEO
We follow our Inokim CEO interview with a chat with Ardo Reinsalu, CEO of Stigo, and one of the founders of the ultra portable lightweight seated electric scooter.
SgScooters: How was the idea of the Stigo conceived?
Ardo: 8 years ago my team and I discussed the revolution of electric vehicles. We saw that with modern battery technologies and small electric motors it is possible to develop smaller and more personalized vehicles. When we analysed further, we saw that it is possible to take personal vehicles with you everywhere you go. You also cannot be dependent on the charging infrastructure because it doesn’t exist yet. So we came up with a small, 2-wheeled electric scooter with a seat integrated that can quickly be folded and carried around by the user.
SgScooters: What were the first 3 years like?
Ardo: First 3 years we were working on the concept and very early prototypes. First of all we involved a very experienced product designer Matti Õunapuu. He had designed products for automotive industry before but had never done any electric vehicle.
Our team familiarized ourselves with user requirements, with battery and motor technologies, and we produced a new conceptual prototype every year. Yes, we did physical prototypes that you could really use!
Some of the first prototypes even had motorized folding mechanisms – user only had to push a button and handlebar folded itself. But… we gave up on all the fancy motorized joints to save cost and weight. All the original team members (designer Matti Õunapuu, founder Rainer Nõlvak and CEO Ardo Reinsalu) are still working in the company today so you can say that we work pretty well together!
SgScooters: As CEO, where do you see Stigo going? What is the roadmap in terms of product development?
Ardo: I’m confident that we are in the brink of urban transportation revolution. We used to drive with one-size-fits-all-5-seater-cars but now we see a load of highly personalized vehicles – each of them with their own unique functionality and user group. It’s clear that with growing urban density we cannot afford to have 1.5 people in one big car. We need to have 1-person vehicles. Also, we our busy lifestyles, we don’t want to be stuck in traffic, walk 3 km to next subway station or wait a bus for 15 minutes to go 4 km distance. All of this should be solved with personalized small vehicles.
In Stigo, we believe that a vehicle should be as small as possible. We believe that you should be able to take your vehicle with you. So our next two products (to be launched in 2017) follow the same principles, and will also be compact and foldable. We are launching a foldable ebike and a non-foldable very compact scooter.
SgScooters: There are many competition from China players who are cheaper and faster in development. How are you going to compete against these players?
Ardo: We believe that we have to stay ahead of competition with constant development. Stigo needs to update our existing products and come out with new products. We need to analyze market and define user needs that competition hasn’t noticed yet. And we must have the best quality. It’s not easy but users will ultimately prefer products that provide convenient solutions, not the cheapest product.
SgScooters: Stigo has an opportunity to set an industry standard for which there is no leader currently. How do you plan to establish market leadership?
Ardo: Just keep innovating! We are also partnering up with e-mobility visionaries and technology evangelists who share the same vision of urban transportation revolution.
SgScooters: Thank you Ardo! We wish Stigo all the best in continuing to push the boundaries of personalized electric vehicles.
Find out more and test drive the amazingly lighweight Stigo today!