UBCO Bikes: getting the job done since 2015
We recently caught up with Kat Sutherland, Marketing Manager, and Sophie Calder, Director of People Experience, at UBCO Bikes in Mount Maunganui to learn about the business, what its mission is, and why people love to work for them. Check out their story below.
Can you tell us about UBCO?
UBCO is a utility electric vehicle company operating out of Mount Maunganui. We’re taking on the world and trying to convert people to electric mobility. And we really focus on that word mobility – our products are all about being easy to use and fit-for-purpose. We want to help people get their jobs done in an easy and versatile way. Whether it’s out the back on the farm in the mud, or in town delivering pizzas, UBCO offers work-focused vehicles with an adventurous heart. It’s all about getting out there and having fun while you’re riding.
What is UBCO’s mission?
Our tagline is ‘Power your purpose’ – we aim to enable people to do the stuff they need to do for work, or for the things they love doing. At the same time, we want to encourage people to work in an environmentally sustainable way using electric technology.
How did UBCO start?
We’ve got off-road roots. UBCO was born in 2015 as a solution for on the farm, which is why our vehicles are so robust and built with farmers in mind. They’re designed to be workhorses. We’ve evolved over time and our vehicles have many applications across a range of sectors from adventure riding through to commuting.
What industry recognition have you received?
We’ve recently been awarded an Australian Good Design Award for product design and in 2020 we won a Best Award in three categories: Sustainable Product Design, Value of Design Award and Non-Consumer.
We’re in the middle of a real growth period at the moment, so there are a lot of moving parts. At the last count, there were 52 staff members globally, with about 35 of those based at our Mount Maunganui HQ.
Can you tell us about the variety of types of roles in your business?
At the heart of it, we are an electric bike company with a technology spin. All of the product development is done from our Mount Maunganui office, which supports operations around the world. So, in Tauranga, we employ engineers, software developers, industrial designers, technicians, marketing, customer service, sales, finance – and everything in between!
What’s the most important skill you look for?
We’re looking for talented people who have the skills for the roles we need to fill. The key thing is finding people who will be the right fit for UBCO; those who love a fast-paced and fun working environment. Everyone here is passionate about the products and just creating cool stuff.
What kind of people are you looking for?
As we said, we’re in a massive growth stage at the moment, so we’re always on the lookout for skilled people to join the team (especially in the engineering, software development and industrial design space!).
Why is UBCO based in Tauranga?
One of the founders of the company had their previous business based here and UBCO was a spin-off from that. Fortuitously, Tauranga is a great place to be with the Port of Tauranga on our doorstep; it makes importing and exporting a lot easier. And it’s just a fantastic place to live!
What’s the best thing about living in the region?
So many things! The weather, the beaches, the laidback lifestyle, and now there are some awesome businesses (like us!) employing super talented people. You get the feeling of living in a big city and everything that comes with that, but the best beaches in New Zealand are on your doorstep.
Why do people love working for UBCO?
The common theme among people who work here is that you’re surrounded by a group of super-passionate people dedicated to the UBCO mission. We’re striving to make the best product and make a difference at the same time. It’s not just about coming to work and clipping the ticket. The forward momentum that we’re experiencing is also super exciting to be part of; there’s plenty of opportunities for growth and development. Because we are small enough and still mostly considered a start-up, staff members feel like they’re an active part of contributing to the growth.
What is the working environment like at UBCO?
People are encouraged to be innovative and bring all their ideas to the table, which is a cool space to work in. Because we’re a global business, we have a super flexible work environment to fit in with busy lives. There is loads of collaboration across our internal teams all around the world and, while it’s super busy, we make time to come together as a team for monthly lunches and regular get togethers.
We actually can’t make enough product at the moment to meet demand!
To what do you attribute UBCO’s success?
We’re leading in an area that is gaining traction and popularity worldwide. Our products speak to people – they can see and value the practical use. And, of course, our team drives our success; our people are designing products that people want to buy. Simple.
Where do you see UBCO in 10 years?
Given how we’re growing so fast now, that’s hard to envisage. But hopefully, we’ll be leading the utility electric vehicle space globally. And even better, we’ll be a vehicle brand that everyone knows about.
If you’re interested in finding out what roles are available at UBCO,
please reach out to Sophie Calder, Director of People Experience