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Bike Friday is looking for investors

Old 08-11-17, 09:23 AM
  #1  
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Bike Friday is looking for investors

https://www.startengine.com/startup/...256d20a600033d

I'm reading through the 37 page offering.
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Old 08-11-17, 09:41 AM
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American investors only.
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Old 08-11-17, 10:25 AM
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-200k in the income is actually positive income, with the negative sign being an accounting convention, right?
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Old 08-11-17, 11:00 AM
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I can't find anything that indicates whether investors get a dividend or other remuneration....
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Old 08-11-17, 11:07 AM
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interesting!
i also see something called geoorbital, a new e-assist system (by way of replacing the front wheel)
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Old 08-11-17, 11:20 AM
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It looks like you are getting non-voting stock. At the $1000 investment and higher, you get a future discount on all BF products, from 5% to 15%. But how many Bike Fridays are you going to purchase for your own use in a lifetime? Most folks would be happy with one or two. I have close to a dozen, but the vast majority of those were purchased used, no way could I have afforded to purchase those new.

It sounds like the company is cash poor, and looking for investors to beef up their product offerings, expand the dealer network, etc. The fact that the PakIt and the HaulADay were Kickstarter offerings tells you the company didn't have enough working capital to build these models outside a crowdfunding environment.

They're in a tough situation. Too small to penetrate the mainstream market, and not enough capital to really expand where they want to. I've visited the factory in Eugene, and I can't imagine large-scale production going on there. If they started offering ready-built bikes in other markets, they risk diluting their brand centerpiece of a custom build for every person. I know they employ lean production technique like Toyota, so even having enough parts stock on hand is probably a challenge. It'll be interesting to see where this goes.
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Old 08-11-17, 11:49 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
It looks like you are getting non-voting stock. At the $1000 investment and higher, you get a future discount on all BF products, from 5% to 15%. But how many Bike Fridays are you going to purchase for your own use in a lifetime? Most folks would be happy with one or two. I have close to a dozen, but the vast majority of those were purchased used, no way could I have afforded to purchase those new.

It sounds like the company is cash poor, and looking for investors to beef up their product offerings, expand the dealer network, etc. The fact that the PakIt and the HaulADay were Kickstarter offerings tells you the company didn't have enough working capital to build these models outside a crowdfunding environment.

They're in a tough situation. Too small to penetrate the mainstream market, and not enough capital to really expand where they want to. I've visited the factory in Eugene, and I can't imagine large-scale production going on there. If they started offering ready-built bikes in other markets, they risk diluting their brand centerpiece of a custom build for every person. I know they employ lean production technique like Toyota, so even having enough parts stock on hand is probably a challenge. It'll be interesting to see where this goes.
My BF is one of their more mass produced models, when they offered Small, Med, and Large frames stock. I think that would work for an awful lot of people who do not need to be dialed in so much (pretty much anything but a Pocket Rocket since they could still offer the stem fit on the swan necks). And they could be in stock in bike shops for purchase. My local Brompton dealer says he sells 3 or 4 stock models for every one that a customer special orders. People want their stuff right away. I stlll think they would have a unique place in the market as there are not many folders that ride as well as BF with the same part standardization.
I think the Kickstarters were needed to pay for the retooling setup for each of the new bikes. But even Dahon has done a kickstarter for a new bike, and they clearly have more capital than they need. So, I think it also is just a way of advertising and getting pre-orders now, not specifically to raise funding.
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Old 08-11-17, 06:33 PM
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Crowdfunding the hauladay and other bike is a great idea for getting momentum in both sales and mfg and getting free capital to start the project.

Bike friday is in a tough position. Building bikes with employees that make 15-20 dollars an hour and trying to compete with companies in Asia payint 10-15 dollars a day for employees.

They do not have enough volume to get big discounts on parts.

Selling through bike shops they lose 30-40% which puts their price down even lower.

Most bike shops are not into folding bikes and so they compare the BF custom bike to a off the shelf bike with way nicer components for the same money.

They are balancing on the buy direct model or sell through dealers model.

Penetrating the dealer market from their point is tough---I was a dealer for 30+ years.

When you go to most custom frame builders you will pay 2 to 3k just for the frame....
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Old 08-11-17, 06:37 PM
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Their bikes hold their value much better than almost any other bike... I've been looking for one cheap and I have not been able to find one...
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Old 08-11-17, 07:10 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
...

Bike friday is in a tough position. Building bikes with employees that make 15-20 dollars an hour and trying to compete with companies in Asia payint 10-15 dollars a day for employees.

....
As I've said before, ride the Asian tiger, or risk getting trampled on. Sorry, no sympathy from me. They and their fan-base insist smugly on Made-in-the-USA, you pay the price. Literally, and figuratively. If they are in a tough position, it's because the model is not working. Time to wake up, and smell the soy sauce. Their cult-like following has lulled them into compladency, snd away from evolving and innvovating towards tapping into the great workshop of the world. Americans often think that they are immune from arithmetic and basic economics. The chickens are coming to roost.

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Old 08-11-17, 07:28 PM
  #11  
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BF is a small company, and likely to stay that way. It's just not a business model that leads to growth. Handbuilt frames in low quantities sold mostly direct doesn't exactly scale up in any significant way.

I suppose if they invested a few million into robotic production and a large factory, it might be workable, but unlikely to turn a profit for quite some time, and where would that investment come from if they're already trying to raise $100K in stock offerings? And when you scale up production, all kinds of issues can occur in the supply chain, distribution network, and warranties/returns/recalls.

I like their product and wish them the best, but it's hard to compete with Bromptons and Dahons with what is essentially a handcrafted niche product produced in small numbers. I agree with Abu in one regard - the folding market seems to be exploding in Asia, and the more those products become available in the US, the less market share BF sees.
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Old 08-11-17, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
Their bikes hold their value much better than almost any other bike... I've been looking for one cheap and I have not been able to find one...
I posted one today in the Craigslist forum - go check it out.

Well....nevermind. He sold it already. Not even listed a full day.
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Old 08-11-17, 07:46 PM
  #13  
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This is really bad news. Why don't they just produce the Tikit? It is the best bike they ever made IMHO.

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Old 08-11-17, 07:56 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
Their bikes hold their value much better than almost any other bike... I've been looking for one cheap and I have not been able to find one...
I have two stories about finding them cheap. But this takes a fair amount of searching and the ability to travel on a moment's notice.

Roughly seven years ago, I was perusing Chicago CL on a Sunday afternoon when I saw a NWT pop up for $100. No lie. It was a guy who was selling one that originally belonged to his father. I shot off an email telling him I'd pay $150 if he'd hold it until I got there, about an hour and a half away. He said he would and gave me the address. I rushed down there through Chicago traffic and landed on his doorstep. Nice guy who lived in a working-class neighborhood, had a wife and family.

I start asking him details so I can confirm I'm not buying into stolen property, and he tells me the whole story. Dad had got the NWT custom made for him, but then had succumbed to diabetes later in life and put it away folded in its suitcase, pretty much untouched since then. The seller told me he got a boatload of offers, but something about my email struck him and he held the bike for me. Had the original case, instructions, the whole shebang. He tells me, I don't want $150 from you, I'll be happy to take $100. I tell him, with his wife and kids playing in the backyard, please at least accept $120 so you can take the wife and kids out for a fast dinner someday. He says sure and I go home with the NWT.

Story #2 involves a little more travel. Three years ago, I was scouring nationwide for a Tikit, as I always wanted to try what was then BF's alternative to the Brompton. Found one in a remote corner of Kansas (I'm from Wisconsin). Owner was an 80 year old lady and wasn't interested in shipping, cash deal in person only. So I set up a time to meet with her at her daughter's real estate office so that her daughter could oversee the transaction. I go down there, meet with her and her daughter, check out the Tikit, and hand her the asking price of $350. I remember that as I was folding the Tikit to put it in my vehicle, I hear a male voice from way down the street yelling, "Hey! HEY YOU WITH THE BIKE!" and yelling increasingly louder as he approaches. I thought to myself, nothing good comes from someone yelling at me that way - he probably wanted to take a test ride and never come back - so I just ignored him and pulled out of the parking lot just as he got there. Overhauled the Tikit (it had not been maintained well), swapped the flat bars and twist shifter for drop bars and brifters, and still ride it to this day.
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Old 08-11-17, 08:09 PM
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Are you trying to say that they don't hold their value???

I'm joking.

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Old 08-12-17, 10:02 AM
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few of their bikes can be stocked in a dealer, because of their JIT made to customer order , as it comes up in the queue, customization..

haul a day and another , is made so toptube length is adjustable..


Because its not paying quarterly dividends on profits, these crowd funding schemes won't help your retirement portfolio..




...

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Old 08-12-17, 11:40 AM
  #17  
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why does 'made-to-order' have to be done in the United States? Has BF and their 'fan base' not boxed themselves in with this fetish? You've made your bed...

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
few of their bikes can be stocked in a dealer, because of their JIT made to customer order , as it comes up in the queue, customization..

haul a day and another , is made so toptube length is adjustable..


Because its not paying quarterly dividends on profits, these crowd funding schemes won't help your retirement portfolio..




...
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Old 08-12-17, 12:05 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
I can't find anything that indicates whether investors get a dividend or other remuneration....
There are a lot of details in the "offering" document. Expect no dividends.

Originally Posted by Flimbs View Post
American investors only.
I'm not familiar with the legal restrictions. But I gather that's the hurdle.

Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
It looks like you are getting non-voting stock. At the $1000 investment and higher, you get a future discount on all BF products, from 5% to 15%. But how many Bike Fridays are you going to purchase for your own use in a lifetime? Most folks would be happy with one or two. I have close to a dozen, but the vast majority of those were purchased used, no way could I have afforded to purchase those new.

It sounds like the company is cash poor, and looking for investors to beef up their product offerings, expand the dealer network, etc. The fact that the PakIt and the HaulADay were Kickstarter offerings tells you the company didn't have enough working capital to build these models outside a crowdfunding environment.

They're in a tough situation. Too small to penetrate the mainstream market, and not enough capital to really expand where they want to. I've visited the factory in Eugene, and I can't imagine large-scale production going on there. If they started offering ready-built bikes in other markets, they risk diluting their brand centerpiece of a custom build for every person. I know they employ lean production technique like Toyota, so even having enough parts stock on hand is probably a challenge. It'll be interesting to see where this goes.
I agree with a lot of your comment.

What I recall from the offering is that they're producing at 25% capacity on an annual basis. They want more capital to produce more during the winter and sell the built up stock during the year. They explicitly say that there are sales that they lose due to capacity constraints and the delay in delivery date. They also expect meaningful returns to scale from increasing output.
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Old 08-12-17, 12:43 PM
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Many of the points in the thread are addressed in the offering details. From a pecuniary standpoint, I think an investor is really hoping that a bigger entity decides to buy the operation.

https://d19j0qt0x55bap.cloudfront.ne...cument__1_.pdf

Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
why does 'made-to-order' have to be done in the United States? Has BF and their 'fan base' not boxed themselves in with this fetish? You've made your bed...
Why indeed! It's a question I've asked myself that a few times. It's particularly unclear since there are some entities that do this for full-sized bikes. Some of the firms escape my memory at the moment. But I looked at Habenro Cycles for a while where -- according to the model -- you'll pay about $1600 for custom geometry frame. Say a $1000 for a stock frame.

I noticed this place some time ago too ...

Waltly - Makers of custom high-end titanium bicycle frames, forks and small parts

... although I don't know much about it at all.

Anyway, it's unclear how much one will save moving production overseas for a semi-custom bike. Moreover, if we believe the offering and sales are lost due to long periods for delivery dates, then moving production overseas might be counter productive. In the end I don't know the answer. I think it's easy to speculate on some reasons. For instance, maybe there are service advantages to having production in the US as well. But in a scenario where production is say ramped up 10-fold, I would be surprised if it stayed in the US.

Typically, most surveys reveal that folks are willing to pay a small premium -- 5% comes to mind but I don't have the paper in front of me -- for a made-in-the-usa product. But not a large one where there is a reasonable alternative. A reasonable question you might ask yourself give the thread below is that if the premium for Bike Friday bikes is so large, why hasn't anyone else entered the market and produced semi-custom built-to-order bikes?

My guess is that the big premium simply isn't there at the present scale or the projected market size. But I don't really know the bike industry.
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Old 08-12-17, 12:59 PM
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most of you clearly didn't read the proposal...
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Old 08-12-17, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
...

Why indeed! It's a question I've asked myself that a few times. It's particularly unclear since there are some entities that do this for full-sized bikes. Some of the firms escape my memory at the moment. But I looked at Habenro Cycles for a while where -- according to the model -- you'll pay about $1600 for custom geometry frame. Say a $1000 for a stock frame.

I noticed this place some time ago too ...

Waltly - Makers of custom high-end titanium bicycle frames, forks and small parts

... although I don't know much about it at all.

Anyway, it's unclear how much one will save moving production overseas for a semi-custom bike. Moreover, if we believe the offering and sales are lost due to long periods for delivery dates, then moving production overseas might be counter productive. In the end I don't know the answer. I think it's easy to speculate on some reasons. For instance, maybe there are service advantages to having production in the US as well. But in a scenario where production is say ramped up 10-fold, I would be surprised if it stayed in the US.

Typically, most surveys reveal that folks are willing to pay a small premium -- 5% comes to mind but I don't have the paper in front of me -- for a made-in-the-usa product. But not a large one where there is a reasonable alternative. A reasonable question you might ask yourself give the thread below is that if the premium for Bike Friday bikes is so large, why hasn't anyone else entered the market and produced semi-custom built-to-order bikes?

My guess is that the big premium simply isn't there at the present scale or the projected market size. But I don't really know the bike industry.

* The largest market for most everything is Asia. China, 1 billion +. India, 1 billion+. Indonesia, 250 million. Japan, 150 million. Begs the question, wth is BF doing in wrinky-dink Eugene? Manufacturing in Asia would be a boon. Manufacturing in a industrial heartland of the world, and in the world's biggest market.
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Old 08-12-17, 03:21 PM
  #22  
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My favorite part:

The Company might incur Irregular Use of Proceeds that may include but are not limited to the following over $10,000: Vendor payments and salary made to one's self, a friend or relative; Any expense labeled "Administration Expenses" that is not strictly for administrative purposes; Any expense labeled "Travel and Entertainment"; Any expense that is for the purposes of inter-company debt or back payments.

Many of the points in the thread are addressed in the offering details. From a pecuniary standpoint, I think an investor is really hoping that a bigger entity decides to buy the operation.
So a bigger fish buys BF at some point in the future. It's a privately held company and I didn't see in the prospectus any independent evaluation of the company (sorry if I missed it). How much of the company does one own with their $300 Go Fund Me pledge a.k.a. stock purchase? 0.00001%? 0.000000001%? I didn't see that in the prospectus.

So a bigger fish buys BF at some point in the future. The company - the physical property, the intellectual property, the branding, the estimated future profit generation - will be valued at some amount. There will also be liabilities. After the expense of paying out the Scholz family members' golden parachutes, how much will today's investments in BF be worth? Well, like they say in the fine print:

A crowdfunding investment involves risk. You should not invest any funds in this offering unless you can afford to lose your entire investment. In making an investment decision, investors must rely on their own examination of the issuer and the terms of the offering, including the merits and risks involved.

The largest market for most everything is Asia.
Fun facts:

Brompton has one company store, the 'Brompton Junction', in the UK. Dahon has 150+ company stores in China.

Dahon claims to be producing 1,000,000 bikes/year.
Brompton claims to be producing 50,000 bikes/year. That makes Brompton about 5% the size of Dahon*.
BikeFriday says they've produced 35,000 bikes in 25 years. Don't know how many of those were produced last year, but let's estimate BF is about 5% the size of Brompton*.


*in units produced/year

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Old 08-12-17, 05:18 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
...

Typically, most surveys reveal that folks are willing to pay a small premium -- 5% comes to mind but I don't have the paper in front of me -- for a made-in-the-usa product. But not a large one where there is a reasonable alternative. ...
Right. The bite is only about 5%, but the bark is a lot more than that. Not long ago on this channel a BF die-hard said that she supported Made-in-the-USA (MUSA) and was willing to pay the BF premium. Yet shortly thereafter when she was looking for a wheelset and i suggested a Velocity MUSA job, she went ballustic when i held her to her own pronouncements. i think she went with a Chinese job in the end. lots of talk, though.
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Old 08-12-17, 05:44 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
Right. The bite is only about 5%, but the bark is a lot more than that. Not long ago on this channel a BF die-hard said that she supported Made-in-the-USA (MUSA) and was willing to pay the BF premium. Yet shortly thereafter when she was looking for a wheelset and i suggested a Velocity MUSA job, she went ballustic when i held her to her own pronouncements. i think she went with a Chinese job in the end. lots of talk, though.
If you are talking about me, I went with a handbuilt set from the guy who works for Rivendell in Walnut creek, not something from China. He used velocity rims. Probably wasn't me, though, since I've had you muted for the last 6 months so wouldn't have seen your posts. I only unmuted you today to see if you were still banging your Chinese drum. Lol.

Last edited by linberl; 08-12-17 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 08-13-17, 11:50 AM
  #25  
invisiblehand
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
* The largest market for most everything is Asia. China, 1 billion +. India, 1 billion+. Indonesia, 250 million. Japan, 150 million. Begs the question, wth is BF doing in wrinky-dink Eugene? Manufacturing in Asia would be a boon. Manufacturing in a industrial heartland of the world, and in the world's biggest market.
Certainly folks are considering Asian markets more today than 20 years ago. If it makes sense to use cars as an example, you'll find manufacturers separating themselves into different segments of the market and presumably they're all trying to maximize their returns.
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