RIDERS the world´s largest community for action sports such as BMX, Skateboard, Surf, Snowboard, Ski and many more visited Innsbruck in early March to attend Skinnovation, Europe´s first startup event on ski. We met the winners of the final Igloo pitch for an interview where they shared their story with us. 

Please shortly describe your startup!

RIDERS app helps you to improve your skills in skiing, mountain biking or any other kind of action sports, giving you an access to the largest tutorials database in the whole world. It knows your riding level and recommends you what to try next.

How did you come up with the idea?

We are riders ourselves. Several years ago, we wanted to learn new tricks, we found out that there are only 3 options: to have a friend who can teach you, to hire someone (it wasn’t even possible) or to find the how-to video on YouTube. In most cases the quality of how-to videos was not any good, so we decided to shoot our own. Our tutorials became popular, we invested some of our own money and launched the alpha version of what has become RIDERS app.

How and when did it start? What were the first steps?

It all began with a website called “RIDE”. We were posting manually selected photos and videos from different action sports disciplines. There were some visitors, but the growth was slower thaen we wanted it to be. Then we decided to add a “Trick tips” section and posted a list of BMX and Mountain biking tricks with step-by-step instructions and short videos, shot by our friends. The “Trick tips” category became five times more popular than the homepage itself, that’s when we set our focus to tricks and tutorials. Launch of a mobile app that tracks your progress and recommends you what to learn next was the only right thing to do. That’s how RIDERS app began.

Did you receive any funding?

We invested thirty thousands of U.S. dollars by ourselves (before RIDERS we started a web development agency), than a private VC invested several hundreds of thousands as a seed round.

What is your business model? How do you generate money?

We experimented with product placement in how-to videos, it works pretty well. Now we are going to introduce a subscription model. We’ll add a number of advanced features that you can buy, but it will be optional, all the content will remain free.

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is focus. As I have mentioned beforewritten, we had a web development agency that still works, and then launched a second startup Uploadcare. It’s really easy to lose your concentration when jumping from a task to task in different businesses.  The recipe is simple, don’t start second business while you still need to invest your time in first one.

Where do your users come from?

35% from United States, 30% from Europe, 35% from the rest of the World.

How big is your team?

We are a team of six people, we’re small and flexible. The plus of having a web development agency that we founded is that’s when we need additional resources, it’s not a problem at all.

Originally you had your own film team to shoot the videos. Recently you started a new category where everyone can upload his tricks. How do you ensure quality of the videos?

The RIDERS community is very motivated, so in most cases a quality of trick tips that users submit is very good. We also developed a system where user can vote if a trick tip was helpful or not, like with reviews on IMDB. Then we sort tips by a helpfulness, as simple as that.

Who are your biggest competitors?

Nike SB has a good app, but it’s made for skateboarders who are ok with Nike brand. There are some other apps, but we don’t count them as competitors. The main competitor is YouTube, but we have advantages it can’t cope with.

How do you differ from other video platforms such as YouTube?

RIDERS is a training platform, not a catalogue of videos. The app tracks your skill level and recommends you what to learn next. It’s a big thing. RIDERS is a community of half of a million fellow RIDERS who share their experience and helping each other.

Why did you participate in Skinnovation?

Organizers sent us an invitation, so it was just a happy coincidence! It was an instant decision for us to go there. We like skiing and entrepreneurship and Skinnovation is a one hundred percent match.

What comes next?

Work, work, work and work. We have so much awesome stuff in our roadmap, we can not wait to release it! See you in Alps in the next season, we’ll have more stories to tell!