Not every CEO commutes to work on a unicycle. But then Rose Song Wang is no ordinary CEO. As personal mobility changes from four-wheel cars to all sorts of two or one-wheel vehicles, InMotion USA’s boss is on a mission to transform personal transportation through self-balancing electric mobility. And, as she tells Auto Futures, she likes to practice what she preaches.
Wang’s personal odyssey began in China and transverses the globe to the United States, finally landing in San Diego, California. Born in Hunan province, Wang emigrated to the U.S. at eight-and-a-half years old. She and her parents did not speak English when they landed at the University of Ohio where her father was a postdoctoral researcher.
Her mother, trained as a mechanical engineer and a designer of boats in China, worked at odd jobs to help the family survive. Her third-grade teacher taught Wang how to read and write English using picture books and flashcards. Within a few months, she was fluent.
Entrepreneurial from an early age
Wang says she always had an entrepreneurial spirit. In high school, she discovered in online forums that Asian women wanted makeup for Asian skin tones. She imported Asian cosmetics in bulk and sold them in an online store.
After she graduated from college with a degree in economics she worked as a technology consultant and then as a software engineer in Washington D.C.
While working during the summer of 2017, she decided she hated the hour-and-a-half commute to work and wanted to find a better way. While applying to study for an MBA, she took to the Chinese social media platform WeChat for research.
Wang began texting with one of the founders of InMotion, Bob (Xuekai) Yan. She wanted to find out more about the company’s self-balancing products and how the team of young engineers and technologists created the company’s transportation products. She used Google Translate to converse with Yan then discovered that he spoke English and they talked to each other in English. Then they decided to launch a product together on Kickstarter, Scooterboard – an electric skateboard hybrid that rides like a skateboard with a handle for better control.
Raising funds for launch
“Usually Kickstarter product launchers prepare for six months to a year before they launch,” says Wang. “We launched Scooterboard in a month and funded it with $25,000 within 48 hours.”
Yan and Wang eventually found that they could work together which lead to an exclusive distributorship for InMotion products in the U.S. headed by Wang. She located the InMotion USA offices in San Diego, California near her parents who now work in tech industries.
Wang has an elegant presence and moves like dancer. She recently revealed that she was previously, involved in musical theatre. Her agility helps her in her role as CEO, because she is able to use InMotion self-balancing products, including e-skates called Hovershoes X1 that look like little hoverboards with lights and wheels for each foot. In fact she recently posted a video of herself dancing in Hovershoes on Facebook.
“What’s great about the Hovershoes is that they are very compact and small enough to take on a plane,” says Wang. “With Hovershoes, you don’t fall like you do on with roller skates because you can just step off of them.” The Hovershoes can go as fast as 12 km/h and hold a charge that lasts up to 12 km.
Wang practices what she preaches and commutes to work 5 to 6 times a week on an e-unicycle. She prefers riding on the bike path rather than the sidewalk because the sidewalk has cracks and bumps.
InMotion CEO Rose Wang commuting to work on an e-unicycle.
“It’s about freedom. The body is free to move from the waist up,” says Wang who makes Bluetooth business calls while commuting. She is also hosting groups in San Diego to practice e-unicycling. The company offers several electric self-balancing-wheeled products.
Naysayers often ask Wang, ‘Why don’t you just walk?’ Her response: “It’s not that we don’t like walking. It’s that we’re having way more fun. It’s cool because it’s energy-saving and you can feel the wind.”