Interview With Guillermo Cornejo
Describe your product or service:
“Airbnb for motorcycles.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“We make powersports affordable by sharing them.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“$3.5 million mostly from venture funding.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“I looked into renting a motorcycle because I could not afford to buy one, and when I had one, I didn't use it that often. I found out renting one costs $200 a day, with limited locations and choices of brands.
At the time, I worked in pricing subprime loans, and I knew I could use similar techniques to manage the risk of motorcycle accidents. In combination with the sharing economy model, I figured I could cut the cost of renting a motorcycle by 75% and make it a viable alternative to ownership.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“I had many better names, but the domain for this one was available for $5, and I was a 23-year-old broke kid.”
Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?
“Many. It was nearly impossible to find a good technical cofounder. Eventually, I met Brendon on Reddit after posting in the /r/motorcycles thread. It was also very difficult to find insurance carriers willing to take a risk on peer-to-peer motorcycle rentals. It took dozens of tries and perseverance.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“My target market is people that have a motorcycle license and want to ride a motorcycle but don't have one. It mostly consists of travelers and people wanting to test ride different bikes. In the long run, we want to be more affordable than owning a motorcycle. I realized the market was large enough thanks to the presence of an incumbent generating over $100 million per year with a very bad product, and I figured I could create a bigger market and also expand abroad.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“Press, content, SEO, SEM, and paid social media.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“I emailed the top media publications in the motorcycle industry to get the free publicity.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“Accident/claim rate, supply, bookings, gross merchandise value (GMV)”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“‘The Lean Startup’ by Eric Fries is a must-read. For marketplaces, ‘The Platform Revolution.’”
What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?
“I work quietly.”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“I love Google Data Studio and Google Bigquery for data reporting, [they are] very easy to use.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“Everything. Running even a small business is incredibly more complex than it seems from the outside. I now have the utmost respect for any business owner and really appreciate the work when I walk into a restaurant. There are so many details, decisions, regulations, and things like chargebacks that as a consumer you don't see.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“I am very intentional about optimizing my time. I live near grocery stores and the gym. Our company works from home. I make instant coffee to save time and don't waste time on making the bed, for example. There are many social norms that are wasteful. I automate anything that can be automated, and I delegate as soon as I can.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“Be healthy, sleep well, keep your eyes on the price … I don't have anything to offer here other than the standard”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“How do you define success? I think having many strong relationships (family, friends, and romance) is success. Emotional intelligence takes practice, pain, and years of trying and failing. It also helps run a business well!”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“I was a factory worker in Peru. After two weeks, my hands were bloodied from using a heavy hammer to break down chemicals. My wage was enough to pay for food at a restaurant. Ok, maybe I don't want to pursue music as a career.”