Ask anyone who calls themselves a biker and they will tell you, riding is much more than just a passion for them. For several, it is a way of life and this immense interest has led to the formation of thousands of biking clubs all across the world. In fact, globally, bikers spend an average of $2,000 annually on biking activities. And this does not include the cost of the bike.
So when Hyderabad-based Srinivas Adimulam came across a few such bikers in his city, their passion for this activity made him realise that he was staring at a huge business potential. People he came across spent a significant portion of their salaries on biking-related activities.
âThese bikers are also very socially active. Itâs sort of a brotherhood. They do events, buy lots of gear, and merchandise. But what I realised was that there is a need for all these people to connect. Say you are riding to Leh-Ladakh, you need information on fuel, places to eat, stay and any other information. There is a need for collaboration between bikers and between clubs,â Srinivas says.
Identifying this, Srinivas, along with Mangesh Deshpande, Kapil Sangal and Ankit Gandhi, built a social marketplace âThrottleâ for bikers covering a 360-degree view of a biker. It is like a combination of a Facebook, LinkedIn, Flipkart and a news app in one place.
âEvery biker has a profile, they post their stories, network with clubs, learn about what is happening in the biking industry and network with other bikers,â Srinivas adds.
Throttle has several aspects to it. On the social side of it, every biker maintains a profile where he posts his experiences, connects with clubs, networks with other bikers and shares experiences, helps those who need any support.
Throttle also generates a lot of content for bikers, be it news about the biking industry, featuring bikers who have achieved something, and much more.
Besides, Throttle runs several campaigns around social causes to connect with and engage bikers. A lot of focus here is on safety, Srinivas says. Most recently it introduced an SOS option, where the biker can press SOS and bikers in the area are alerted to go help in emergency situations.
Another aspect to Throttle is event ticketing. Be it ride packages, or any biking-related events, bikers can buy and sell tickets on the marketplace.
Finally, there is a lot of buying and selling that happens between sellers. To leverage this, Throttle is also a marketplace where people can buy and sell merchandise, gear, parts and other things related to biking. It also carefully curates products such as gear, helmets, biking fashion, and related products from across the globe and offers them on the platform.
This is also where revenue comes in for the marketplace. A fee is charged for every transaction that take place on the platform. Be it selling of tickets or the selling and buying that takes place on the marketplace.
It also has an association with Air Ambulance, which offers subscription for riders on the platform, and it earns a commission out of this.
Another revenue stream for Throttle is through startups or companies promoting their products on its platform. It is also working with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to promote their products to riders on the platform.
Given the fact that the target audience for OEM players are the members on this marketplace, Srinivas sees a lot of opportunities through this segment.
âEventually, my platform will be a consumer connect platform for companies such as a Bajaj. We are currently in talks with brands where I can bring significant mileage to their bike launches in each city. We can also bring in OEMs when we have enough mass. It could be those like Harley, Triumph or TVS, or even players such as MRF, Shell, etc. Brands need that kind of engagement to bring in customers and engage with them. We have a lot of supplier and partner interest,â he adds.
The next stage of growth for Throttle will be to bring anyone who wants to offer online services, online bookings, take service bookings and other similar offerings onto the platform.
Given that Throttle has over 75,000 members, 2,000 clubs and over 1,000 rides planned on the platform, Srinivas is confident that the reach his platform has will bring significant mileage to brands and companies.
It also wants to eventually expand its presence to other countries. It currently has members from 16 countries but as a platform, the content offered is India-specific. Srinivas wants to take it international and launch in Finland, Indonesia, Kenya and UAE through partners.
But for a company that runs on a commission-based business model, how scalable is the business?
Srinivas says that the India opportunity for biking is $1.2 billion and globally it is a $17 billion opportunity spread across 8.5 million bikers.
âThere is a huge amount of buying and selling that happens in the community. We started revenues this year and we are already seeing a significant amount of money coming in. And to cover a major portion of the market, I donât need every customer on board. Just five countries in Europe give me 5 million bikers, 10 cities in Southeast Asia give me a million riders, US gives me 2 million. I see a huge amount of commerce potential here,â Srinivas says.
And the community is growing as well. Almost every global brand now sells its bikes in India. The 250cc+ motorcycle segment in India clocked a growth of over 31% in FY16.
âClearly, a biker spends a significant amount of his money on biking. So even if I get 25% of his spend on my platform and 25% of the community to guide, it will be more than a 100 million dollar business,â Srinivas says.
In the last eight months, Throttle has clocked a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of $200K and expects this to grow to a little over a million dollars next year. And with international partnerships coming in and an expected growth in its membership, Throttle hopes to clock a GMV of $16 million the year after that.
We are building a brand and the range of our offerings. The goal is to capture a significant portion of the biking community and then capture a significant amount of each bikerâs wallet share, Srinivas says.