For years I have been building a toolkit of experience and skills. Through it all, I have felt like something was missing. The Japanese have a word “Ikigai”, it is where a person’s mission, passion, profession and vocation intersect. Most are fortunate if 2-3 overlap. I am aiming for more and I have found that with Go Electric. Our first product the e-bike DYU-D2.
For the past 18 months I have been exploring 30-50 different ideas, I would spend hours scrolling through Angel List and other similar sites in my spare time, looking at what was getting traction in places like the US and UK, that I could potentially deploy in South Africa.
The first test I have is to share the idea with an electrical engineering mate of mine who has carefully cultivated, through a growth mindset, his ability to think creatively. I would send him an idea and gauge his response, if it was flat, I’d move on.
He absolutely lit up on this one.
I then used the James Altucher (or was it Seth Godin?) test, tell some mates, don’t see how they respond (they are nice), see if they tell other people. All this came back positive.
Importing quality products in the electric transport market, direct from the global supplier to the consumer. Bulk orders help keep the costs down, kind of like a Co-op.
It is self-funded and I am using an adaptation of the Kickstarter model, in that I am taking pre-orders to fund the importing. By doing this, I can keep overheads low. With tight margins, I realise there is a risk to me financially, but I have confidence in the product, the market and the need. having seen a lot of traction globally with this focused approach.
It would have meant more risk to the consumer, even if rewarded with a significantly lower price (around 50%) , so I have transferred this risk to myself with a risk reversal in place by offering a return option, allowing the customer to simply take 10% off the price for every month they have it. 3 months after purchase, they can return it for a 70% refund.
This space looks poised for growth. My concern is that it is too early, but if I wait until the market is ready, it will be too late.
I initially planned just to launch in Cape Town, but with an online model, it is only slightly more expensive to distribute countrywide, so I am focusing my marketing on Cape Town. The product is an ideal solution for someone living in the City Bowl, a student in a university town like Stellenbosch (have you seen the congestion there lately?) or even Grahamstown. Another option would be for those working in Sandton, simply hop on the Gautrain with their bike, it’s light enough and small enough to even leave it next to their desk.
Once I have established traction and a market, I will be looking to expand into other products. The ethos being to limit to 1-2 great options given quality and price. The DYU D2 Plus with an unassisted range of 35-45km and priced at about R10k definitely meets the sweet spot.
The delivery time is unfortunately quite long. In New Zealand it is quite common to order something on Aliexpress and wait 8-12 weeks. In fact I ordered this laptop (Xiaomi Air 12) I’m typing on, through Gearbest while in the UK. It took 3 weeks to arrive, something unheard of in a world of next day delivery through Amazon Prime. The price was great and the specs exactly what I wanted, so I was prepared to wait. The quality and price point of products coming out of China is fantastic.
The current challenge is getting the South African risk adverse public comfortable with my business model. I am expecting the price point and risk reversal to be sufficient enticement, ultimately though I am reliant on a few early adopters.
Here are some independent reviews of the older model (without the shock absorber and half the range):