Ryno closes in on funding, production of one-wheeled EV

Chris Hoffman's Ryno Motors has generated plenty of buzz, but now the company is finally getting some cash beyond the chatter.
Peter Rubens

Ryno Motors has generated plenty of buzz, but now the company is finally getting some cash beyond the chatter. 

It has attracted jokes from Jimmy Fallon, appeared on Portlandia and hit the Discovery Channel. Jay Leno inquired about it and it's been invited to The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It won an award in the 2012 car awards given out by GQ magazine in the United Kingdom — and it’s not even a car.

Yet the best news lately for Portland-based Ryno Motors and its trendy, buzz-generating “microcycle” is not the attention it’s been getting, it’s the money.

The Oregon Angel Fund committed $800,000 into the bike’s ramp-up to production six weeks ago, a $1.3-million effort aimed at putting the first round of bikes on the road, contingent on contributions from other investors that are already rolling in. Ryno also received $50,000 from Drive Oregon, along with several other private investments. The company is now within $200,000 of its target with six more investors circling.

CEO Chris Hoffmann, with partners Tony Humpage and Byron McCann, has come a long way in the five years since his then-14-year-old daughter suggested he build the bike, inspired by a videogame. Now, he’s long out of the garage. With a new red color, upgraded suspension, better removable battery and a bigger seat, the bike — tested by both celebrities and the Portland Police Bureau — is headed to a limited number of buyers soon.

Hoffman said he's just completed the hire of a sales executive from Segway, though he's not disclosing the name just yet. He's also brought on Portland-based Zirna Consulting to manage its supply chain. The former CEO of Yakima Bike Racks, Jerry Heinlen, has joined Ryno’s advisory council, bringing big market experience with brand management.

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