Andrew Batey: When there’s a problem I think that’s when the real rubber hits the road. It’s like it’s great when it’s great but when it’s bad for somebody, we want to also make that great. I can’t tell you what you value is trust, all I can do I give you a lot of inputs for you to make the decision on if you think this person is trustworthy.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: You’re listening to The Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast, the show for entrepreneurs in the outdoor, bike, snow, endurance, travel and health and wellness markets. This podcast is the production or The Intrepid Entrepreneur, the place to be for passion driven founders. And if that’s you, you’ve found your people. At intrepidentrepreneur.net you’ll discover market fluent resources built just for founders in our markets including content, trainings, networking opportunities, community and coaching.
The Intrepid Entrepreneur also offers the A-game alliance, the world’s first private mentorship and training opportunity that empowers founders to launch and continually level up. For more information, head over to, intrepidentrepreneur.net and click on the A-game alliance icon.
Founders in the outdoor active lifestyle markets are the definition of passion driven and the Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast exists to share their stories.
Hey everyone. Welcome to today’s show on the intrepid entrepreneur podcast. It’s awesome to have you here with me today and thanks for sharing your time. Today is the beginning of season three of the intrepid entrepreneur and I’m kicking it off with a bit of a bang.
Today, I am interviewing the CMO of spinlister.com, that is spin as in I spin my bike and lister as in I’m on a list; spinlister.com, Andrew Batey, joins me.
Andrew is heading up a start up with a team that is in a sharing economy. It actually is also right in the crosshairs of the outdoor active lifestyle markets. A bit of a lightning rod subject, if you will, but let’s face it, the sharing economy is here and instead of fighting it, in this show, we talk about embracing it and moving forward with it. Because, today, if we know one thing other than change being the new normal, it’s that the consumer is driving, Spinlister is here and it is growing.
So Spinlister exist to connect bikes and gear that were sitting idle with the people, just like you and me who want to rent them. You can make some money off you rentals with Spinlister. That’s right; it’s like a VRBO for your gear folks. Anyway, check it out a spinlister.com, but dial in right and listen to Andrew Batey talk about what it’s been like to [inaudible 0:02:49] Spinlister forward today on the Intrepid Entrepreneur.
Andrew Batey, welcome to the Intrepid Entrepreneur podcast. It’s so great to have you here today.
Andrew Batey: Thanks, it’s great to be here. I appreciate you having me.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah, of course, and the way that we met was a little serendipitous. One of Verde’s clients, Kobe – actually, I had my weekly call with him and he basically told me about Spinlister and Andrew is the CMO of Spinlister, which is an amazing company. It’s basically inspired by the sharing economy and specializes and started in making bikes available for rental, private bikes and Andrew is here to talk with us today about what it’s been like to be part of that start up, the sharing economy and just where Spinlister is going next, but I have t tell you I’ve already turned so many friends on to this site and it looks so cool. So just know, I’m so excited to share you with my audience today Andrew.
So if you wouldn’t mind, would you mind telling us a little bit about the back story of spinlister.com?
Andrew Batey: Yeah. So Spinlister – well, first let me say I really appreciate you telling your friends and all your people, because we love being available for people. We want to be the ultimate universal key, to unlocking a bike anywhere in the world. Like that’s our goal, anytime you want a find a bike, you just pull up Spinlister and find one.
So how Spinlister really started was kind of with that vision, like how do we make bikes available for people that are travelling, that want to rent a bike when they travel, because it’s really a lifestyle choice for many reasons. There’s so many different niches, it’s a fragmented somewhat market.
These two kids from USC came up with the idea of people sharing their bikes. They parched it to investors and the investors said, “Okay, here’s $250 thousand as a seed investment. Let’s see what happens” and these kids moved to New York and launched it in Brooklyn. It originally started in Brooklyn, we started getting some traction there. We got a lot of excitement around them, so they ended up on an accelerator in San Francisco and they moved to San Francisco for this accelerator program. After they launched in San Francisco and won audience choice at [inaudible 0:04:57] in 2012.
After that, you know, it’s kind of one of those classic entrepreneur things where you have a million people telling a million different things and the investors wanted them to stick with bikes and kind of build bikes, because the investors are all really huge bike enthusiast, like they saw themselves as the users. They don’t care about renting power tools from your neighbor.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right.
Andrew Batey: But they care about renting a bike that is a high-quality bike or a bike they want, because everyone hates Googling bike shops calling every single one of those shops up, asking what kinds of bikes they have then hoping that bike’s actually there when you show up.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: And usually it’s a beater, because I do this a lot.
Andrew Batey: Yeah, normally, they’re really bad bikes. They really have like the entire handle bar come off because the stem wasn’t even secured. It gets crazy right? And so, people would like to know that they’re renting from someone who cares about their bike, that it’s a potentially a bike enthusiast and the fact that it’s a local and they can get knowledge.
Like when I went Austin, the very first time, I rented a bike and I had this mapped planned out of a bike route and he looks and said, he goes, “Oh, where did you get this map from? They planned on finishing that road, but that road’s actually not done, so you’re going to get 14 miles out and you got to turn around and come back. Like that’s actually all gravel. So you might want to go this way.” I would’ve never known that if the guy didn’t tell me.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right.
Andrew Batey: It’s super interesting and the kids basically, the got [inaudible 0:06:23] the sharing economy of everything, so they change the name to liquid, they got a huge funding around and they decided to try to be the craigslist of sharing and I think that it lasted a couple of weeks and they realized that they should’ve got right when they went left and they came back and the investors said, “You know what, you know, it’s not that big of a deal, it’s like a big deal, but think of all the people that have used it so far. Press is like spikes, right? It goes up and comes back down. You don’t have any growth frameworks in place, so it’s not too late to turn this ship around.”
And the kids, you know, I think, they thought they had a couple of ideas they wanted to pursue. I think they were worried about their reputations or whatever. So the first time I’ve ever seen this app and investors came to the table and said, “Hey, we really believe in this idea and this concept of changing the way the bike enthusiasts interact with each other and making bikes available, because there’s so many bikes in the world that don’t get used, that just sit idle and we’d love to see – we’d love to unlock your garage, and let you have access to these bikes.”
So they doubled down, they decided to buy the company from these two founders and the CEO now, Marcelo, he was the original seed investor [inaudible 0:07:38], he came in as a nonpaid CEO for the last three years. He works here 50 hours a week, nonpaid, putting his time in because he believes in the project that much.
Same with everyone that’s here as part of the company, most of the senior management team here has left jobs and probably makes one-fifth the amount of money that you could make or that we were making, all because we were really passionate about the idea in changing something. And so, it’s really been great. So when they handpicked the team, to kind of re-launch Spinlister as Spinlister to get back into being Spinlister for bikes and outdoor gear, we decided to kind of pick this team and go from there and it’s been really great. It was obviously challenging, but we basically started from ground zero, just like we were brand new, because even though we had this all this great learnings, when the kids tried to switched over to being everything, a lot of our bike users left and nobody really came on that we could use for bikes. Essentially, it was like starting a platform from ground zero again.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Well, [inaudible 0:08:46] there’s a couple of really key takeaways here for my audience and that is the importance of focusing on a niche.
Andrew Batey: 100%
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I mean, what you just described is like textbook, taking your eye off the ball with a really cool concept and almost like going to the grocery store when you’re starving.
Andrew Batey: Exactly. Walking out with everything?
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah. But point being is, you know, your original founders and you, Andrew, are all about focusing and this particular audience – I’m definitely representative of the audience and I serve a lot of them through [inaudible 0:09:20] communications. They are – this end consumer you’re going after is so passionate and so particular…
Andrew Batey: Exactly.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: …you know, they’ll pack everything they need including their pedals and their helmet and the pedal wrench, like everything. So all they have t do is get the bike. They’re so dialed and ready to go. So niching and focusing on their needs, I can see, is the only way to make that work.
Andrew Batey: 100% and they have to have trust that when they get there and I think it’s a long tailed type of trust – you can say trust all day long, but one of the things I argue about on panels all the time is like, what is trust? I can’t tell you that you should trust somebody else because they’ve been trusted on Airbnb or they’ve been – they have reviews on their eBay profile. I can’t tell you what you value is trust, all I can do I give you a lot of inputs for you to make the decision on if you think this person is trustworthy.
It’s the same way when you go – if I asked you if I could barrow your car, you might tell e, “Sure, no problem.” because you trust me and throw me your keys. You can have another friend that says, “Oh can I see your driver’s license, I just need to get a photocopy of it.” and you might have a third person that makes you sign a contract that says, “If you crash, this happens.” so that’s everything’s clear. I probably wouldn’t rent from the third person, because that’s just annoying to me and that’s not the kind of trust level I have personally.
But everyone has their own thresholds of trusts. So instead of trying to be the trust monitor, one of the things we focus on is just adding as much value as possible and providing these assets, for people to trust each other and then long tail, the more positive experiences they have, when they meet people that are like them or they meet bike enthusiasts who are passionate about biking just as much as they are, they tell everybody. And that translates through the community.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s across all of your age demographics, in our call, right before we hit the record button here, you said your core demographic is 35-44, obviously outdoor active lifestyle enthusiasts, right now obviously focusing on cyclists, but are they also sharing reviews – their version of word of mouth is a little different that maybe some of the [inaudible 0:11:25].
Andrew Batey: Their version’s old school, 90% of our – 90% of people who rent a bike on Spinlister tell at least 3.8 people, almost four people about our service that lead to somebody renting – or like signing up. The problem is they don’t – for us in the digital world, they don’t do it on email, they don’t do it on text, they don’t it through phone calls, they do it face to face, like informal meetings, like family gatherings, events where they’re outdoors and everyone’s talking about cools things that they know about.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Board meetings.
Andrew Batey: Yeah, maybe board meetings, [inaudible 0:11:57] you know, it happens very offline and so, that’s hard to track and it’s hard to, I guess, amplify or facilitate like you can in a digital world, which makes it unique maybe to that segment of users of being 35-44, like a lot of us prefer to talk face to face instead of messaging your friend, so you can get $5, $10, $15 off of something. It feels very disingenuous if you’re really passionate about it, you generally tell somebody face to face about it, because you are so excited about that topic or that brand or service.
We tried to really focus on just adding as much value and watching the macro level of those things to make sure that they’re still going and try to build things into our marketing channels that make people want to talk about us, even if it is off line.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right. So I have a feeling that your original investors, because you describe them as kind of bike fanatics really represent your target avatar. So they’re probably like creating the shape and the experience of how your interface with Spinlister on the level they would expect, right?
Andrew Batey: 100% and we have the whole like, we run the board with them. We have one guy that’s a non-biker that’s – he is our CEO and he love uphill mountain biking like I was telling you earlier. He is the guy I hate riding with, because there is no fun of going downhill. It’s like, literally 13 miles up and you just with crazy grades and he’s just brutal, I can’t stand it.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: You need to just put some rocks in his camel back.
Andrew Batey: He crushes everyone. I’ve never seen somebody that’s so fit at his age. So you have that and then we have a really big road-cyclist and we have a really passionate triathlete as part of our mix. And all of them have a different niche within biking, but all passionate about bikes and about biking when they travel and about making that experience as convenient and effortless as possible when you travel. Because we’ve all struggled with trying to ship our bike somewhere and disassembling it and putting it back together, the cost associated with it – then possibly like, so many cool stories where like a grandma rents a bike Austin, to teach her six-year-old grandson how to ride a bike – his first time riding a bike and she rented a kid’s bike. Where you going to rent a kids bike? Like she flew there and rented a kid’s bike from a local that was close to where her grandson lives and taught him to ride the bike for the weekend.
We had a triathlete that got his bike stolen out of his garage in San Francisco a week before Iron Man, and called every single bike shop and could not find a bike to rent, we got him a triathlon bike within like a day in his area, where he could race on it and he actually set a PR, it was a better bike than he had.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s awesome.
Andrew Batey: It was insane. He crushed it and he was so excited about how fast this bike was faster that he’d expect it and how fast he was. And you know, those are the types of stories I think that really make Spinlister unique and amazing. And I think that those are the types – like I’ve seen people extend their trip so they could do a bike tour with the person they are renting from.
This is not the stuff we see all the time and there are just all these amazing stories that come out of Spinlister, which really make our community strong and passionate and was different than I originally thought. I originally thought Spinlister was, when I first came in, I thought money was going to be the play.
I probably spent six to eight months doing a lot of data analysis and product and brand positioning to figure out exactly why people were using our service and while money is a great secondary driver, because everyone likes the security and the added bonus of making money off their expensive items, really, people like helping others and they like meeting other passionate people about the same passion, in this case biking.
The number one driver is community in our case. Unfortunately, the word community has been abused and blasted in every single – every company wants to have a community. So instead of saying we’re a community; we really try to let people discover that on their own and just build the tools and the values associated with a really great community so that they tell each other.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s great. You know I have to go here and whenever my audience hears me say that, they’re like, “Oh God, where is she going?” So where I’m going is, obviously having grown up in the outdoor, bike, snow sports and endurance markets for the past 20 years, I’m literally listening to you talk and I’m seeing the future, I’m seeing a portal, for more people to participate. I’m seeing a gateway drug for maybe cyclists who are doing everything that they can to be enthusiasts but just, you know, for whatever reason, they can’t fit riding in on the level hat they’d like to.
I see so many positives here, but also in the back of my head, I’m hearing the industry and retailers recoil because, “Oh my gosh, this is new and threatening.” Look at what Uber did to the taxi industry etcetera. Are you getting any of that or what I also…
Andrew Batey: Sure, sure.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: …yeah. Talk to us a little bit about that, because I’m also going to sit here in this podcast and loudly and proudly advocate for what you’re doing, because ultimately, it is companies like Spinlister that will grow the participation base in a flat market.
Andrew Batey: 100% it’s not – I try to advocate that all of the time, the problem is they’re in like – most manufacturers or retailer are in kind of a self preservation mode. They are trying to hold on to market share. They’re scared of new entrant like us, because they can’t quite yet determined if we’re a friend or a competitor. The one thing I try to make clear to them, to these manufacturers and these retail organizations is that we in no way want to sell anything. We do not plan on selling anything at all.
In fact, what we had hoped to happen and as you – it’s kind of multilayered, but like a lot of the bike shops for example, they make a lot of their money on ancillary products, not the bikes themselves and they also make a lot of money on service, like a lot of shops are doing well now are service based shops. We don’t know service, we also don’t sell products. So there’s no reason that we can’t have localized partners in each specific area to send out core audience to and say. “Hey, go to [inaudible 0:18:42] in Austin, they’re going to take care of your bike, they’re going to give you a discount because you’re a Spinlister member. They’ll hold your bike if you have a rental and they’ll be kind of a temporary hub if you can’t meet the person right away. They’re going to offer all of these benefits to you. And just because you’re a Spinlister member, and then if they get higher foot traffic, they’re selling shock box and ancillary products, as our bike gets used, it needs tune up, so you come in more frequently for services.”
The people that are renting the bikes will come in, maybe they need a water bottle, they love the shop, they get a t-shirt. There’s a lot of these benefits that kind of go along with the foot traffic and thing we can provide to these stores and if they aren’t scared of us, they’re the ones that are starting to see this benefit from our end.
On a manufacturer’s side, we see so many people who rent bikes, because they’re not sure what they want to buy, so they’ll go and rent six different Specialized bikes or go – I had a friend that rented a Pinarello, a Trek, a Giant, Specialized bike and he went and bought a Pinarello and listed it. and it’s one of those things that are like – it’s crazy, but when you’re making a big purchase like that, you can’t just ride in the indoor track and figure out if that’s the bike that fits you and you like the dynamics of it.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Amen.
Andrew Batey: It’s worth it to spend $60 to rent the bike for the day and go see if this is the bike for me before I drop $5000, $6000, or $8000 on a high-end bike.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right.
Andrew Batey: And so, not that we’re all high-end bikes, I see people do it with beach cruisers, I’ve seen people do it with cargo bikes, they rent before they buy. So what some manufacturers are starting to do is list their bikes on Spinlister through their retail vendors and saying…
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Wow, interesting.
Andrew Batey: …”Hey, rent this bike, because of you like it, the retail vendor will give you %80 of the money back towards the purchase of the bike. So if you like this cargo bike toy can go ahead and buy it. Spinlister takes their fee, but everything outside the fee will go right towards the purchase of your bike. We’ll give you a rebate for that.”
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Genius.
Andrew Batey: So there are ways for retailers and professionals to get involved and again, it goes back to our belief that we just want to be the universal key to unlocking a bike. It doesn’t matter to us who owns it. It doesn’t matter to us where the bike’s located, we just want you to get the exact bike you want anywhere in the world.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: [inaudible 0:20:57] economy. Now there’s one thing I have to go toe to toe with you on from everything you just said and that is, you sad, “Spinlister doesn’t want to sell anything.” And you are selling an intangible. You are selling the lifestyle of the cyclist. You are selling a gateway for that. So you are actually selling and I…
Andrew Batey: I guess.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: …yeah. And you know what, it’s a little nuance. It’s not definitely an old playbook the way wholesale thinks, but think about the – if we think about the old school way of the theatre of the brand being presented in a shop or at trade show or in a magazine, you’re actually creating a very dynamic real time, theatre. If I have those Pinarello, Trek, Specialized and I ended up buying a Pinarello and listing it and then I went and tried like, “All right, I’m going to go through Spinlister and try these three high-end bikes. And I’m going to talk to the owners and I’m going to get a first party testimonial. I’m going to talk to them about their [inaudible 0:21:52] some events they like to do and what type of rider they are.” That brings whole another level that the magazines maybe used to cover, but right now, I’m not seeing a brand and branded content is being consumed that way or trusted that way.
So the sharing economy I think has all kinds of friendly benefits.
Andrew Batey: Because it’s person to person.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Right.
Andrew Batey: Right? So like when I go and I accidentally rent a bike – like someone rented a bike from Luke McKenzie, which is like one of our top triathletes that we have in sponsor, but these guys don’t list their account and they’re not like, “Oh, look at me I’m a professional.” You just show up and then you’re meeting a professional and they’re going, “Hey, this bike is set up this way. this will be great for you, but if you’re looking to buy a bike, looking at your body type, I think this brand might actually be best for you.” because of whatever reasons and the way they fit it. That’s kind of stuff you don’t really get – like you don’t trust it as much when a bike shop sales person is telling you this.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: No.
Andrew Batey: And from my perspective, like, with my bike, I have a Specialized Tarmac and I’ve made all my money back on the bike. So after I bought it, I’ve rented it completely I’m net zero, right? I’m not going to get rich from renting it, but the fact that I’m net zero and I have a really nice bike, that’s great. But I didn’t like sit on the money, what I ended up doing is just, when I was travelling around, I rented a bike with all Dura-Ace 9000 parts and I just loved it, so I went and bought all Dura-Ace parts and I completely rebuilt mu bike, because I wanted those parts.
I would have never done that had I not had the experience of renting those first. And then I went and bought a Cyclocross bike because I thought, who doesn’t need one. I don’t why, I just, you know, and then I rented that out and I bought a single speed, I have eight bikes now and I might – I rent them regularly and for me, it’s great, I meet really cool people, I make the money back on the bike so I don’t feel like I lost anything and I upgrade as I make the money back, just building and adding better parts to my bikes.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I may need to put that on the show notes that right after your title of CMO, and I’ll put “comma, owner of eight bikes” because [inaudible 0:23:56] immediately people will like, “Okay, he’s one of us. We get it.” I also…
Andrew Batey: Have you ever asked yourself like, if I myself wanting the most niched things, like, “Oh I totally need that bike, because, when I need to carry stuff, I need that I need that cargo bike and I need the extra cycle. Like I have no reason for half the stuff, but I just feel like I want it.”
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s because you’re part of the tribe, like wit that and I think ultimately your sharing economy is about that and let’s just remind ourselves and everybody listening, the consumer’s driving. You can’t control where they’re going to access their experience anymore. You just have to make sure it’s available to them. And you know, I like to talk about it as a platform and points of entry, Spinlister, the concept and business model of Spinlister is a super point of entry from the bicycle industry. Period. The end.
And I think that that’s not something – it’s out there, it’s not going to away and I think, it’s just super, super important that people realize like the benefits of it and how it actually can accentuate the other parts of the platform or points of entry. So, I’m just…
Andrew Batey: Yeah, we’re trying to help the industry too so like we have – when you think about what a POS system is or like how people come into a shop and rent something, a lot of this bike shops for example are using old school techniques with like pen and paper, taking out credit cards. I literally see like the old school swipers, the thing where they run over the top of the card and imprint. That’s what – they call those like dinosaurs machines. I don’t even know what they are…
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I think they are called dinosaur machines. And you get them at dinosaurmachines.com.
Andrew Batey: I love it, yeah exactly. So you go in there and you’re just like, how are you guys still on the system? So what we have done just here and what a big focus is for us is to help in start including these guys because they work complementary. A person’s normally working from eight to five and a bike shop’s open. So if someone wants a bike right now, we wanted them to have access to that. So what we’ve done is we’ve gone in and we’re launching an official bike shop partnership program where we pick one shop in every territory so like one in downtown San Francisco, maybe one in North East Portland, one in South East Portland.
What we’ll do is we’ll go in and we basically give them a complete rental kiosk like a self-serve at an airport when you walk up and we’ve built this bike shop kiosk. We don’t charge any fees, we wave the fees up to $50,000 for the first year. We also drive online advertising specifically to their stores. We turn all of their bike shop locations on our map into a – they get their own special icon for kiosks. So if anyone has any insurance claims or like your tire pops and you’re a peer-to-peer renter, you can go to that shop and they’ll charge us directly to get you back on the road because our goal is to not have you sit in a shop for three hours trying to wait for your bike to get fixed that you’re renting.
The goal is to turn around the problem and get you out so you can enjoy what you’re there to do, just ride the bikes. So there’s so many ways we can work together and in order to really get them buying, we say, “You know what? We’re not trying to be a POS system but we easily can be a bike rental manager for you and help you save money, provide the same level of guarantees under bikes.” So if a bike gets damaged like with any person’s bike, we cover it $10,000 if you’re the bike owner, up to $10,000. So we do all those protections and guarantees. We offer those to the shops but we’re only picking one. So we want the best partner we can find.
Somebody that believes in us as much as we’re willing to believe in you because we’re going to spend a significant amount of money advertising your shop, allowing you to jump in on our local activations and sponsorships and things that we do on a local level and utilize the shop as much as possible in exchange for you just being an asset to our users and us having a mutually beneficial relationship. And that’s kind of a totally new business model because people aren’t – especially professionals, aren’t really used to being offered things for free.
But for us, it strengthens our system, it strengthens our network and makes the experience better for our users. So it’s the best use of our money, it’s just not necessarily something that I think the industry was expecting us to kind of come out and say, “You know what? We want to include you, we’re not your competitor. We’ll go as far as to putting our money where our mouth is.”
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s awesome, I really admire that so much and you know obviously there are – it will be a little clunky at first while they get used to it but once they see I think, you know, people start to adapt the service and they start to work with you more and more. I think you as a multi-time entrepreneur, you know that certain industries especially passionate industries are very much built on relationships.
People get really comfortable, they built their businesses in a certain way and they love the industries that they’re in so change can obviously present an obstacle. But once they’re able to kind of get over that fear just like entrepreneurs right?
Like once you get that out of your way and remove the fear and kind of look at the bigger picture, that’s when I think the rubber is going to meet the road on this model within the industry but in the meantime, I’m just grateful that you’re bringing the experience of cycling to more and more people. I personally have like, you know, I travel at time for work, I try and race. I have to shoot my bike all over God’s green earth and…
Andrew Batey: Just to get miles in.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah, and I also sometimes it shows that for racing it’s not in the best shape and I mean I’ve even toyed with like well, maybe I’ll just buy another bike and put it in the bolter office so when I’m up there I have a bike, like I don’t have to do any of that now.
Andrew Batey: Yeah, or you get there and your frame has got…
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Oh that’s…
Andrew Batey: You know like, it’s like what you – I guess some would duct tape it.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Yeah.
Andrew Batey: And see what it can do. You know, like, it’s crazy. But yeah, we’re trying to be a value to as many users as possible and I think that that’s true. I met somebody that had a 12-hour layover. The flight got delayed and they got to get to a different flight in Shanghai and didn’t have anything to do coincidentally we had a bike that was somewhat close to the airport. They rented the bike for the day and just rode around in Shanghai and then return the bike, got to meet the person, had tea with whoever gave them the bike and I met this person in New York. They’re like, “Oh I just used you in China.”
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s awesome.
Andrew Batey: I’m like, you got to be kidding me right? like I didn’t even see that on our system but that’s great, I love hearing these things, it makes me so happy when I see those types of experiences and more importantly when our staff, if they – when there’s a problem, I think that’s when the real rubber hit the road. It’s like it’s great when it’s great but when it’s bad for somebody, we want to also make that great. So trying to when someone has an issue, make sure that they’re taken care of and that it’s not like a fine print, he said, she said, whatever.
And we try to offer the best terms and try to get the problem solved as fast as possible. I’ve had so many users ride in saying, you know, I thought this was going to be a headache. You know Alex or Jess or Gus there’s somebody who did the most amazing job that I can imagine how your customer service is that good. I didn’t even know about the problem half of the time. It just gets done because it’s a part of the company culture and it goes top down and I think that’s just kind of how it works.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s awesome. So I have another big question as we try to head to a wrapping up here. You are trying something that a lot of companies across the markets of bike outdoors known for its endurance and travel, have had a hard time doing which is, you start in bike but you’re very relevant to outdoor. And I have a feeling there’s a historical limiting belief around that that’s based on the old model of retail because if you look at all of our tradeshows are separate, we have a town with a bike shop and an outdoor shop then there’s a water sports shop or you know kayaks, white water, whatever it is and you guys are going to be, you already are but you’re expanding in the outdoor gear.
Andrew Batey: Right.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: So can you talk a little bit about that because I think it’s funny that you just leapfrogging and going for it because so many people on our market is like, oh well, that’s a whole different set of reps or I don’t know how we do that, you know what I mean? So talk about that a little bit because I think it might expand everybody’s awareness of what’s possible.
Andrew Batey: This actually makes me think of, I was talking with you a little bit about Seth Godin a earlier. It make me think of like the term inside the box comes to that normalization bell curve where there’s people in the middle that are quote, “normal” and everyone has to stay – if you want to be a successful brand, you stay in that box because those are the people that are buying and that’s how you mass sell stuff, is by making it kind of okay for as many people as possible.
The people that are really passionate or embracing things or are now because of the internet can be as unique as they want and no longer have to live inside that box, they like things that aren’t just one category. If you ask somebody what they like to do, they’re not going to say, I only bike, they’re going to say, I love biking and in the winter I might ski and snowboard and I love surfing and I love being outdoors and I love these activities. When I looked at possibly opening up different categories, we did a lot of consumer surveys, a lot of market analysis even to our own users and we found there was like a 33% to 35% crossover of people participating in other sports outside of biking. So while we were providing bikes as the main vertical and niche for which we are building and it’s the one with the largest cap. In the United States, there’s 167 million people with bikes. So that’s just the US.
That’s huge, so we have a lot of room to grow in bikes alone but why limit it? if somebody wants to put their surfboard up or put their ski and snowboards up like we want you to have the experience of being able to share that stuff because we see ourselves ultimately as being an action sports or an outdoor sports cheering economy, that’s where we’re going to get while we’re building that through bikes and we’re all bike passionate, we all came from bikes first like that’s kind of where we’re going to grow but it’s a natural progression to add adjacent verticals and we’re going to let people share what they want instead of trying to put them in the box.
We allow it to happen, we encourage these other sports to have listings. Because, we want you to ultimately see us a resource for this stuff. For me, it’s just about providing as much value to the consumers, granted not everyone is going to do it, you’re not going to see us at probably surf tradeshows trying to get surfers, because we’re bike focused. But, you also aren’t just a biker, and we try to allow you to get into this other types of sharing sports gears to represent that.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I just have to say what you just said is so important. What my company fairly does is we have companies across these markets but we’re going after a consumer profile they’ll share. And that’s essentially what I think you’re seeing too, it’s like the people who shop at REI also shop at whole foods, people who ride bikes are also whatever else they can put in, stand up paddle boarding, etcetera. And as we talked about in our pre-call, our garages are only so big I mean, I have friends who literally are like, stand up paddle boarding but I just have no room to buy something like that and you know what? Your service can make them buy it and fall in love with it and figure out a way to keep doing it. That to me is again another – it’s another way that it brings more and more people into the experience through the eyes of an enthusiast.
Andrew Batey: And I now think of it when I buy stuff like I bought three stand up paddle boards that were inflatable because I didn’t have any more room and when I bought them, I thought I could rent this out, I was trying to think of the average amount of money I can make on them. I treated it like a rebate. I was willing to buy more than I expected because I knew the money would come back.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: That’s awesome.
Andrew Batey: It’s crazy but it’s changed the way I purchase also.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: I can’t wait to have this conversation with my husband because literally I’m like looking at the bike that I want to buy from Niner this new cross country mountain bike and I go out in the garage and I’m planning up to sell that one and that one in order for me not to get any S-H-I-T for this decision. And now I can just say, go to the Spinlister site hon and you’ll see my entire model and this will make you feel better. But he has two dirt bikes and that’s my next question is, when are you going to add that because it sure would be nice to free up some space in my garage.
Andrew Batey: No idea.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Okay, well we’ll just keep it within the friend network for now but when you’re ready, let me know.
Andrew Batey: All right.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: This has been a fantastic conversation. I love finding people like you and companies like yours, our industries are so dear to me and I want them to grow and flourish and move forward and we are in the middle of a tough time right now, it’s just the old and the new. And what you’re showing us is an interesting way for the gross participation and enables us to tap in to the consumer’s where they are on their own timeframe with their own agenda, etcetera. And so, you’re really like providing I think a great guiding light of sorts for the people in these markets who have built these markets, loved these markets to move forward as the consumer is changing. So please know, you’re doing something awesome and I’d high five you if I was sitting next to you.
Andrew Batey: Thank you and we just love passionate people and we love everyone that participates in our platform. Like I said, if you don’t believe it, come try it out and you’ll see firsthand how amazing it is.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Cool.
Andrew Batey: It’s awesome and I encourage everyone to get involved.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: And it’s spinlister.com just so everybody knows. Thank you so much, I can’t wait to have you back on the show and literally like you really opened my eyes here today and inspired me and I hope the same is true for my audience.
Andrew Batey: Thank you.
Kristin Carpenter-Ogden: Just a note for my husband who loves to keep count of how many bikes they have and stand up paddle boards in our garage and under our back deck, of course the bikes are not in the back deck, just a note to let you know that I actually can start renting some of these. In the event some of our kid’s bikes that I happen to pick up along the way too, spinlister.com certainly offers a very interesting opportunity doesn’t it? It definitely is another signal that changes here, not coming, it’s already here. And that service that is definitely a sharing economy entrepreneurial startup is in our spaces.
So let’s embrace it, I love how Andrew wove it together with IBDs, Independent Bicycle Dealers across the country and the opportunities it could bring for them and also just love how open-minded he is in terms of, “Hey, let’s give the consumers what they want so that we can get more of them participating in our passion driven industries of outdoor, bike, snow, travel, etcetera.” So, that was a great episode, I hope you enjoyed learning from Andrew as much as I did and head over to spinlister.com to list a bike or a piece of gear that you have. It’s a really cool new service and I hope that you get a lot of enjoyment out of making the gear that you love work for other people who might be visiting your town or wanting to try it out.
Thank you so much again for being part of my audience. If you love this episode, please share it with a friend and please also, give us a rating on iTunes. Nothing helps the visibility of outdoor market founders more than being shown in iTunes on a podcast. So, thank you so much, head over there, leave a positive or star rating, that would help us out so much with our visibility. Until next time everybody, go big.