RideTo: James Beddows
The new online platform that makes it easier for wannabe motorcyclists to get on the road...
Name: James Beddows
Company Name: RideTo
Twitter handle: @_RideTo
Tell us what your business does:
We make it easy for new motorcyclists to get on the road by providing a platform featuring some of the best local training schools – along with great content, advice, and support for new riders.
Our mission is to get more people on two wheels and experience the unique freedom only a motorbike can provide. We also believe it can solve a lot of the UK’s current congestion, transport and pollution challenges.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
From my own personal experience. Living in London for the past four years, I had always planned to get a Vespa scooter to get around town on. Eventually I became so tired of turning up to business meetings on my bicycle, either hot and sweaty or wearing Lycra, that I decided to do something about it!
However, as a motorbike novice I found the whole process of getting on two wheels far more confusing, expensive, and time consuming than I had ever expected. It frustrated me so much how hard it was that I decided to do something about it! And so, RideTo was born.
Currently there are five different types of motorcycle licences and any number of ways to get one based on your age and experience. Finding a simple route to the best one is very hard.
How did you know there was a market for it?
I still try to speak to a new motorcyclist every day during my commute (when parked!) to understand their experience of getting on the road and how we could make it better for more people. Also spending a lot of time talking with training schools on how we can help them to run and grow their businesses.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was the commercial manager for a private members club for entrepreneurs called The Supper Club. It gave me an amazing insight into what it takes to start and scale a successful business.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, I started my first business aged nine. It was growing fruit and veg and delivering them (like Ocado!) to local houses. Since then I've had various businesses ever since, with the first ‘proper' one at university – a ‘Boris Bikes for students' service which we ran, scaled and exited after three years.
How did you raise the money?
Put in a few hundred each and reinvested every penny back into the business to grow. For RideTo, I've also put in my own savings to get things going.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
RideTo is a marketplace business. Like JustEat, Uber and AirBnB, we take a small fee from the sales we make on our platform.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Balancing supplier and customer acquisition. Knowing what product features to prioritise. Finding and building a great team. The answer so far has been there is no easy answers, just persevering and thinking outside the box.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Recognizing how many other people faced the same headaches I had experienced and that there was a market for our product.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Just do it. The only way to really know if it will work is to try it. What's the worst that can happen?! As Steve Jobs said ‘You can't connect the dots looking forward, only looking back. So you need to trust your own intuition”
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
For RideTo to be the largest community of new motorcyclists in the UK having put 100,000 safer new riders on the road.