The founders of a 5-year-old local grease-powered car service have stepped away from the business and found a new CEO to take the wheel.
Jeff and Joey Anderson, the brothers who launched BioRide in 2010, have turned the company over to longtime friend and confidant Jesse Mobley as they move on to new ventures.
Mobley, 25, took an ownership stake in November and stepped into the role of chief executive in March. He’s tasked with steering the company and its fleet of seven vehicles, all of which are powered by biodiesel derived from used cooking oil.
He’s working on a plan that includes growing the fleet, the services the company offers and, ultimately, the bottom line.
“They tossed the keys on over to me, and we’ve been blowing the office up and redoing a lot of the ways we do things here,” said Mobley, who previously worked at McKesson and Anderson’s Neck Oyster Co.
The succession plan began to take shape last year as the brothers started to look beyond BioRide.
They launched the company in 2010 as BioTaxi with a single black Mercedes sedan. Their competitive advantage was a focus on environmental friendliness – using vehicles with diesel engines and fueling them with cooking oil that they gathered from restaurants around Richmond and processed themselves.
A year later they tweaked the brand to BioRide and became more of a for-hire car service with a focus on corporate transportation. It further evolved by striking a deal to start purchasing fuel from a Shockoe Bottom biodiesel maker.
The pair pushed the company into profitability after the fourth year, Jeff Anderson said. But they both eventually realized they had other goals in mind.
“Joey and I had a discussion on each of our personal goals and where the business aligns with that,” he said. “We each have our own individual interest. Music to him is most important. For me, it’s being entrepreneurial and just continuing to create things.”
Joey, 25, left the company in November to focus on his music career. He’s the bass player in the Richmond band Night Idea.
Jeff, 27, has dived back into the Anderson family business, which owns and operates 11 Wendy’s restaurants around Newport News and Williamsburg.
Their fast-food business is what sparked the idea for BioRide.
“I was in Wendy’s flipping burgers,” Jeff said. “That’s what started conversations with grease and biodiesel.”
That’s also when Mobley first got involved with the brothers’ business.
Mobley grew up with the Andersons on the Southside and was roommates with Joey at VCU when the brothers began plotting out what would become BioRide.
“Jesse was in on the conversation with Joey and I when we were incubating the idea,” Jeff said.
Mobley continued to help consult the brothers on the business as it grew, while moving on to other jobs in the meantime. When they began thinking about letting someone else take over, Mobley seemed the right choice.
“He has some of the best insight of what we want BioRide to be and why the business was started,” Jeff said. “He’s a very hard worker and has a get-it-done attitude.
“He has the heart that we’re looking for and he’s very numbers- and data-driven.”
Mobley is hitting the ground running with big ideas for BioRide’s growth.
He wants to grow the fleet, currently made up of three biodiesel-powered Volkswagen Passats, two Mercedes sedans and two Mercedes Sprinters, in order to branch off into offering transportation packages for brewery tours, winery tours and trips to oyster farms around the area. He also sees weddings as an untapped revenue stream.
He’s considering taking on $200,000 to $300,000 in capital to expand the fleet, which he would like to double by next year, particularly to add two more Sprinters.
“We’re a profitable, growing company,” Mobley said. “Now it’s time to throw some gas on the fire with a little capital.”
That’s while maintaining and growing the company’s bread-and-butter corporate transportation business, which consists mostly of shuttling businesspeople to and from airports, offices and hotels.
That segment makes up about 70 percent of the company’s revenue, which Mobley said he hopes will hit $500,000 this year.
“Corporate transportation is what keeps the lights on, and these other things are what will grow the business,” Mobley said.
While having moved on to other enterprises, the Anderson brothers remain part owners of BioRide and Jeff said they take with them the lessons learned from the entrepreneurial crash course of the last five years.
“It was an incredible journey,” Jeff said. “It’s an experience that I couldn’t get in college. From me having to learn how to fix cars, to getting in the vehicle and driving, having to interview and fire people two to three times my age.
“If there was a school to learn how to be an entrepreneur, this was it.”