Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Terry McGinnis and Kartik Gurmule are the Co-Founders of Rydable. Terry is an alumni of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oxford University and has immense experience in the fields of fashion, marketing and e-commerce. Kartik is a teenage entrepreneur from India who started KASA. Together, Terry and Kartik have started multiple ventures in the fields of e-commerce, online services and fashion.
Rydable is an online retailer of electric powered skateboards, scooters and hoverboards. We have leaders in electric vehicle brands like Zimo, Taluer and also Rydable branded skateboards. We launched our website in January 2020 and have seen substantial growth in the community and social media.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Kartik and Terry have previous experiences in online space and are experts in private labeling and marketing. We identified the growing markets of electric vehicles and an environmental need towards the same. We believe that by promoting electric vehicles, we are not only profiting but also helping our earth to avoid unnecessary pollution.
We carefully handpicked our collection and design from our designers and expert engineers from Asia. We thought that we should do something extraordinary, so we combined hoverboard features into skateboards, so now our skateboards are body controlled with speeds up to 60 kmph and mileage up to 40km.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
We conceptualized the idea of Rydable in September of 2019. We started identifying engineers and experts who could guide us on the products. Then, we hired a few engineers from Asia who helped us with the design and batteries. At Rydable, we manufacture our own electric vehicles as well as partner with other companies to sell their special products.
Our batteries are designed with close partnership with Samsung technologies, we cannot specify the details but we aim for eco-friendly methods and long-lasting batteries. Our main concern was speed and mileage for which we had to create and test over 20 prototypes and samples before finalizing on one. We contacted select engineers from India and China through networking. Closing several deals, we now have Samsung powered batteries in our eSkateboards and eScooters.
To offer more to our customers, we also partnered with top eVehicles companies in India, Japan, and Taiwan to sell their products on our websites. The development stage is hardest in every business and so was ours. We tackled through all of our problems and passed all regulations to launch our esteem collection into the markets.
Describe the process of launching the business.
We developed our website using Shopify and used several apps to give users the best experience. We identified what our competitors’ websites missed and added those to our website.
People should not invest their own money by borrowing loans but instead raise funds through contacts, because although the risk is high, giving away 40% of a company is always better than failing and being bankrupt.
After launch, we introduced Rydable Community into our website, a community where our Ryders can discuss their vehicles, purchases and solve each other’s problems or queries. As we already had experts in our founding team, we did not have to pay for online presence and website. We financed ourselves with our savings and helped save % of the company to investors.
The biggest lesson we learnt was that electric vehicle business isn’t easy, there are a lot of e-vehicle shipping and selling regulations and engineering needed for a successful start which differs from country to country, we, therefore, focused only on USA, UK, and some parts of Europe for our early start. We took 3 months from concept to launch, including 10-15 hours daily burden of work.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
We identified that since launch, the best thing which worked for us was Instagram and Rydable Community. We saw an increase in our followers from 0 to 150k within just 3 months because of our smart Instagram strategy. One of our founders, Kartik is an expert at Instagram growth. We use our select range of profiles for promoting our Instagram account and use powerlikes as much as we can for the growth. The main region is content and properly marketing it, that’s where the secret lies.
Rydable community has 5,000 active members. We see this as our advantage, we gave our customers a platform to communicate and connect with Ryders having the same interests as them. People talk mostly about their future purchases or have a poll on which product to buy. Conversations and threads are automated and created by our members. Our community is our USP and we promote this heavily across social media websites.
We ran our email marketing through various platforms and have witnessed that our audience loves our collections and news. We ran extensive leads marketing which helped us increase our database. More than 50% of the database are clients or Ryders.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Rydable has been profitable since day 1, we focused more on organic sales (Enhancing SEO and visibility through Press Releases) rather than PPC or Facebook Ads, a sample article for which we were interviewed can be found on Medium. We ran intensive email marketing for a few months but later we focused on passive flows. We see our email database growing towards 5 figures and hundreds of appreciations from our Ryders. We invested in the early start for prototyping and engineering, we achieved break-even within 1 month from our launch.
We see Rydable’s future very bright. We are aiming to reach every resident of USA and Europe for our next 5-year strategy through Google and Facebook. We are witnessing people getting confident about eVehicles. We are planning to expand our collection in cost-efficient bicycles and bikes in 2020 and are aiming towards more extensive branding strategies.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
After doing research and talking to industry-leading experts we understood that easiness of buying and the overall user experience was one of the keys to our success, we built the website to be as seamless and easy to use as possible.
We have also provided our customers and other Rydable, and eSkateboard/eScooter enthusiasts a place to share their stories, post reviews, and get overall community feedback, called "Rydable Community"; our customers and our community are at the core of everything we do. Without them, there would be no Rydable. We custom coded our website with the theme to provide our customers with a more easy interface.
For Email Tools, we tried many services like MailGun and Sendgrid but we had a bad experience with their customer service. Therefore, we now use Pepipost along with our in-house email marketing tool mail.yes.al which provides seamless and fast email tools.
For Social Media Management we use our in-house social media management tool yes.al where I can add all of Rydable’s accounts of Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and post in all of them scheduled and instantly.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The books that helped us stay motivated and knowledgeable throughout were -
- The Lean Startup by Eric Lies
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
- The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
We ** ** believe that one can always grasp the opportunity to start early in life and create a name for themselves even before they turn 30. Sometimes stakes are high, failures can even end careers and bright futures of people, but if we see in a broader perspective, every 36 hours, a person is becoming a billionaire. There are enough sources/methods by which anyone can make money in today’s world. In the end, it’s not about how you make it, but how much you make.
The most important thing I think one should keep in mind before starting any venture in the 2020s is that these are the years when anything ecologically and environmentally friendly can quickly get traction and be a success. People should not invest their own money by borrowing loans but instead raise funds through contacts, because although the risk is high, giving away 40% of a company is always better than failing and being bankrupt.
Where can we go to learn more?
- Kartik’s Linkedin
- Terry’s LinkedIn
- Kartik’s Instagram
- Terry’s Instagram
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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