Frank Reig MPA-ESP ’13 is the cofounder & CEO of Revel, a startup that is electrifying cities through charging hubs, all-electric rideshare, mopeds, and eBikes.
Reig says the MPA-ESP program helped him realize that “policy matters.”
“How you speak and how you develop and build a relationship with regulators and politicians matters. These are soft things that I think a lot of folks in the startup world don’t give enough attention to. If we did not build those relationships, I don’t know if we would have been that successful.”
“There are 2 million vehicles in a city like New York. 10,000 of them, currently, are electric. There’s no place to charge these vehicles anywhere. There’s no infrastructure because there’s no EVs and there’s no EVs because there’s no infrastructure. No one has garages, nobody has driveways here. Where is this revolution happening? So, when you start to ask yourself that question, that’s where Revel is, basically, putting our entire business. Revel started out as a shared electric moped operator. Over the course of the history of this company, over the last three and a half, four years, we’ve now evolved to a company that’s really just electrifying cities. And we’re doing that through shared electric vehicle fleets and building the electric vehicle infrastructure that cities need. I always get the question of do you have this vision when you’re launching mopeds? Absolutely not. I was trying to put 16 Electric mopeds on the streets of New York, do it legally, get support from the city, make that happen. But once you start living and breathing 24/7 365 a particular industry, you start to realize where the world is going and where the opportunities are. The reason why I went to SIPA was I have a really strong interest in politics. Policy matters, how you speak and how you develop and build a relationship with regulators and politicians matters. These are soft things that I think a lot of folks in the startup world don’t give enough attention to. If we did not build those relationships, I don’t know if we would have been that successful. One of the best things SIPA did was, I worked in government after SIPA. I had a front row seat to how government actually operates on the inside. And that has given me just an education and how to work with regulators and politicians that is crucial. At Revel, we’re not just building charging equipment and hoping somebody shows up to use it. We’re bringing in-house demand and utilization for that infrastructure from our own business. That makes financial sense and now makes a case to build that infrastructure now and stop talking about 2030. And that’s the next step for cities like New York.”