Below is our recent interview with Jeff Yoshioka, Senior Marketing Manager at WHILL:
Q: For those who have never heard of it, how would you describe WHILL?
A: WHILL is challenging today’s conventions and empowering people to experience movement in a new, exhilarating way with our Personal EVs–giving people a unique vantage point into the world.
Our award-winning Personal EVs offer best-in-class design and indoor/outdoor versatility through forward-thinking design practices and innovative technology, such as our patented omni-wheels and Bluetooth and mobile data connectivity, that enable everyone to explore their world in comfort, confidence and style.
Q: Why did you build WHILL?
A: It all started with a single user’s voice: “I’ve given up on going to the grocery store just two blocks away.” In 2010, this simple statement from a mutual friend of our Co-Founders was the start of it all. He was a wheelchair user who did not like the negative attention he got while using his wheelchair in public. He also lacked confidence in the capability of his device.
Q: How do people who need it find out about your company?
A: In addition to traditional print and digital advertising, WHILL attends many events around the US to get people into the driver’s seat and experience what makes WHILL Personal EVs so unique compared to other mobility devices in the market. WHILL also has a strong partnership with one of the largest mobility device rental companies in the US who rents our Personal EVs at conferences, fairs and even on cruises. Furthermore, WHILL built a platform called WeDrive that features actual WHILL customers who offer test drives using their WHILL EVs.
Q: You have recently raised $45M, could you tell us more about your recent funding round?
A: This new funding round will drive large growth for our company through global expansion efforts and new technology development, such as autonomous capabilities, as well as developing our MaaS business. To start we will be addressing a major issue in the current PRM (Passengers with Reduced Mobility) service within airports, which is very labor intensive. In collaboration with strategic partners, WHILL is developing self-driving and self-stopping technologies, which provides more independence to passengers and reduces the workload of PRM service agents. Passengers will have the freedom to navigate the airport on their own terms and not be reliant on someone to push them and worry about being stranded because the airline passenger assistant needs to help another passenger.
Q: What can we expect from your team in the next six months?
A: We can’t say exactly what’s coming down the pipeline, but we expect to continue to experience rapid growth through Model Ci sales and new strategic partnerships. It’s a very exciting time for the company and we invite everyone to join us on this amazing ride. We promise you won’t be disappointed.