There are many start-ups and strong ideas, but it takes a lot more to be successful.
There are many paths to success. And it may be different for each start-up. Nevertheless, they all have something in common.
When we founded 41 Publishing in 2011 with just € 6,000 in startup capital from our Grandma Schmitt, we had a clear vision and ambitious goals, but honestly had no idea of how many surprises and challenges were heading our way. Today we are one of the most influential and innovative publishers in the bike sector, with our international magazines ENDURO, GRAN FONDO, DOWNTOWN and E-MOUNTAINBIKE regularly setting trends and providing important impulses in their respective segments. Furthermore, they actively help shape the future of the scene and the industry with their comprehensive comparison tests, real world buyer’s guides and opinion articles.
The same goes for the Oscars of the bike world, the Design & Innovation Award, which we created in 2012 and has since been separating the wheat from the chaff among thousands of submissions to identify and award the most exciting, innovative and outstanding products of the season.
Embarking on such an ambitious entrepreneurial journey and creating several brands from the ground up was a daunting task but at the same time a fun, exciting experience. We devoted a lot of thought, heart and passion into achieving our goals, working hard and taking risks, but we were fortunate to have had the support of some great mentors and pioneers to help us along the way. Today, with four internationally established magazines and an industry-leading award under our belts, we are still far from perfect, but we have gathered a huge wealth of experience in risks and opportunities, company development and structure, HR, product testing, sales and marketing. As a central interface of the bike world, we’ve seen countless companies come and go, examined mistakes and success stories and learned from them. Long story short: we really know what matters. And that’s great, but what’s even greater is that we are now passing on our experience and helping others the same way others helped us.
It doesn't matter whether Mahatma Gandhi actually said it, but "Be the change you want to see in the world" is a great mantra and we’re always trying to implement it in our work. And that’s exactly where the Cycling Innovation Accelerator enters the picture: we want to invest in ideas and people who develop, improve and do the things we want to see in the (bike) world.
Every great product, success story and business venture starts with a small idea. In the early stages of a new entrepreneurial initiative, very few founders really know what fate has in store for them. And for those who think they know, a brutal reality check often lies in wait just around the corner. However, after the first shaky steps usually comes a boost of confidence and self-assurance. At the heart of every great venture lies a problem we want to solve or, better still, a gap we want to fill. For Ferry Porsche, it was the car of his dreams that didn't exist – so he set about building it himself. For Markus Flossmann, founder of YT Industries, it was a cheap DJ bike that the kids at the local dirt jump spot could actually afford. For pro racer Iago Garay, it was the struggle to find a frame protector with a cool design, so he founded DYEDBro, adding a splash of colour to countless bikes while at the same time reducing wear and increasing their value. For Ruben Torenbeek, bike engineer and founder of RAAW, it was the urge to create his own brand and build a bike that was more robust and durable than many bikes available on the market. For Sven Erger, founder of Rebike Mobility, it was the lack of a platform for used e-bikes. The list of exciting stories is virtually endless and all the people we’ve mentioned have one thing in common: it wasn’t an easy journey but all of them approached it one step at a time and were supported by mentors in the process, sometimes progressing faster, sometimes slower. Some got the wrong support and had to overcome obstacles along the way, others found the right partners straight away.
If you know our magazines, you also know that we don’t like to just publish and repost press releases or YouTube videos. The main objective of our work isn’t just to be there, but to actively shape the scene and industry. Whether it’s through our comparison tests, compelling stories, strong opinion pieces, purchase advice or the Design & Innovation Award, it is our aim to give clear recommendations and feedback, both positive and negative. The leitmotif of 41 Publishing company is "We set trends and shape the cycling world", so the Cycling Innovation Accelerator feels like the next logical step forward.
How can I apply?
Do you run a start-up, a small business or simply have an idea for a product or service with a business plan and are looking for support?
The next application period begins on October 11, 2023!