Don DiCostanzo ’79 (marketing) is the co-founder and CEO of Pedego Electric Bikes, a Fountain Valley-based company that has grown to become the largest manufacturer and distributor of its kind in North America. The Mihaylo alumnus discusses the past, present and future of his enterprise.
With worsening traffic congestion, greater health and fitness awareness, and increased environmental consciousness, bicycle commuting and recreation is rising in popularity throughout the United States.
Globally, electric bicycles sold 35 million units in 2016, according to Navigant Research. By 2025, it is expected to be a $24.4 billion worldwide industry, proving that transportation by bicycle is becoming a more desirable option for many city dwellers and outdoor enthusiasts.
From Small Startup to Industry Leader
Mihaylo alumnus Don DiCostanzo ’79 (marketing) has been working to bring electric bikes to the North American consumer for nearly a decade. In 2008, he launched Pedego Electric Bikes, which produces high-quality, battery-powered bicycles for everyday use by people of all ages.
DiCostanzo launched his business with friend Terry Sherry, who shared his love of bicycling on Orange County’s beachfront. Their first store was a 1,500-square-foot location in Irvine, but the popularity of their business model forced the founders to relocate to a larger facility within a year, followed by additional locations by the start of the present decade.
Currently, the company has 100 independently owned and operated locations worldwide, with at least 20 more planned by the end of this year. By 2020, DiCostanzo hopes to have 1,000 stores, half of which would be in the U.S.
“Pedego is poised for growth by making more successful stores and adding additional storefronts,” he says. “We’re in the business of selling fun first and bicycles second. Our keen focus on building the best brand is accomplished by delighting our customers and ensuring the success of every dealer.”
Pedego’s motto, “Hello, Fun,” is an apt description of this business. For DiCostanzo, entrepreneurship has given him the opportunity to live a passion that he loves.
Honoring an Innovator
DiCostanzo was peer-nominated for the 2017 Innovator of the Year award, sponsored by the Orange County Business Journal. “It is both humbling and gratifying to be nominated as an innovator,” he says. “Interestingly, we were told that our innovations are not about our products but rather our somewhat unique distribution system of independently owned and operated branded stores that are not franchises but rather licensees of the Pedego brand.”
Mihaylo College was well-represented at this year’s Innovator of the Year awards, as DiCostanzo was joined by two other alumni nominees: Joe Randolph ’80 (accounting), CEO of The Innovation Institute, a La Palma-based health-care incubator; and Andrew Bermudez ’04 (marketing), CEO and co-founder of Digsy AI, an intelligent sales technology platform used in the Southern California commercial real estate market.
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