For our latest Startup Spotlight Series interview, we spoke to Marina Vlasenko and Rahul Pusp, co-founders of GIN X E-bikes. At £999, GIN X E-bikes are the cheapest 250W commuter & mountain fat tire e-bikes in the world today.

 

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Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you better. So, can you tell us a bit of your “backstory” and how you got started?

 

I am originally from Ukraine, and almost 5 years ago, I started a cleaning business with another business partner (bootstrapped). In the first year, we broke even and became market leaders in the 2nd year of operating a business. But due to war, business was down, and I started to look for foreign market business opportunities. This is how I met with Rahul.

 

Rahul is originally from India. He used to bootstrap several businesses in the green economy sector and got specific UK recognitions. And occasionally came up with the idea of creating premium e-bikes at affordable prices.

 

What was the most exciting story that happened to you since you launched your startup?

 

We managed to clock the first sales of 1000£ average bill without any investment into marketing. Only free barter collaborations with bloggers and media reviews (such as New Atlas, Autoevoluition, Ebiketips etc.).

 

No startup founder is immune from making mistakes, and it’s part of the “growing pains” they go through. Can you share one mistake you’ve made with us and the valuable lesson it taught you?

 

Yeah, in the beginning, we used to attract experienced financial advisors with ten years of experience managing funds for fundraising for our startup. For the first several weeks, he used to take part in weekly calls and at least persuade us of the work.

 

Once the first part of our e-bikes arrived, and we had to launch the product and start running the first ads publicly, he suddenly disappeared (quitted our WhatsApp chat without saying anything). Later on, Rahul contacted him at least to ask for an explanation to understand whether we could move on together or not. Hence, this guy said he didn’t want to participate in the project. Yeah, it was a precious lesson for us: since the person doesn’t show his commitment at the beginning, fewer chances are to get him involved later on.

 

There has been much talk about supporting diversity and inclusion among startup investors. This may be obvious to you, but can you share with our readers the reasons why it’s so important for investors to support startups with a diverse and inclusive executive team?

 

We believe diversity is crucial because a diverse team drives company performance, brand awareness, and long-term security. For example, Rahul is from India, which is one reason why he has been involved in green entrepreneurship (because India suffers from pollution, etc.).

 

I am from Ukraine, and it’s quite an innovative country in terms of marketing, product development features and brand exposure. This is how our diversity helped develop the GIN X e-bike in the UK.

 

If you can inspire a movement that would bring a positive change within your community, what would that be and why?

 

It would be a movement towards a green economy and a world with minimum fuel usage. And, of course, a healthy lifestyle.

 

If you had a chance to spend a day with someone and have the liberty to ask anything, who would that person be? What three questions would you ask?

 

Based on our niche (e-bikes), I think the right person to meet is Elon Musk 🙂 I would have asked him:

  1. When is the Tesla e-bike bike going to be launched?
  2. Will you finally buy Twitter? (There were a lot of talks and memes on Elon Musk’s buying on Twitter)
  3. Do you still keep dogecoins? (Also a lot of rumours that Elon stands behind this crypto coin)

 

Can you share your favourite life quote with us and why this is so relevant to you?

 

«Stay hungry, stay foolish» – Steve Jobs

 

He gave a speech at Stanford University and told the students always to keep their heads up and continue on their path.

 

Great! Thanks for that. Now, let’s go to the main focus of this interview. Can you share with us the story behind that “A-ha Moment” you had that led to the idea of creating and launching your startup?

 

Yeah, Rahul has 12 years of manufacturing experience, and I have 5 years of marketing and operations. Rahul thought about which product was in demand on the UK market and, at the same time, which he was capable of making. He did some research and found the e-bike niche a fast-growing one. This is how he started to develop the first e-bike MVP. I met him when MVP was ready, and bikes were about to be shipped to the UK.

 

What do you think makes your startup stand out? Can you share with us examples to show this?

 

Yes, in my opinion, we have substantial competitive advantages as GIN X is the world’s cheapest 250W commuter&mountain fat tire e-bike at just 999 £.

 

Here are the critical points of GIN X:

 

cheapest 250W commuter&mountain fat tire e-bike with premium features equivalent to an industry average e-bike worth £1449 in the UK; bafang brushless motor, Hydraulic brakes, Shimano Altus derailleur, and 615 Wh battery (110 Kms range!) are just a few.

 

We have ensured that the frame suits the riders – daily office goers and weekly mountain hiking.

 

Based on our customers’ feedback, GIN X stands out because it’s a premium e-bike at a very affordable price.

 

What are some “myths” or misconceptions people have when launching a startup that you’ve debunked throughout your journey?

 

I think most young entrepreneurs believe that any startup needs significant initial investment. Well, yes, it’s true, but at the same time, based on our experience, you can even raise first sales with such a high average bill, just only by creating intelligent and win-win marketing ideas.

 

If there’s one significant difference between launching a startup and a small business, what would that be and why?

 

I think the main difference is scale and intention. A startup is intended to fast growth (that’s why it needs funds) and valuation of the company once it starts to generate sales/profits. Small business doesn’t need to interact with venture funds, business angels etc., as they can be bootstrapped.

 

What are the top three traits that entrepreneurs must possess to launch a startup successfully? Can you expound on why you chose these three traits?

 

Creativity

 

When you don’t have money at the beginning, nothing will help you except being creative and devising brilliant ideas.

 

Communication

 

Once you start reaching media/bloggers and want them to review your product for free, you need to negotiate to succeed and interest them.

 

Leadership

 

You have to be strong enough to take responsibility for your product, business and team because, without a good team, it is unlikely to achieve good results.

 

Let’s flip things around: What do you believe are the three things that can cause a startup founder not to become successful, and why?

 

Consistent doubts

 

If the founder hesitates too much, it means he doesn’t have a strong vision for the business. He himself doesn’t believe in it.

 

Impatience

 

Entrepreneurship is an occupation that is never calm. Having opened your own business, you can forget about your existence in your comfort zone. All this requires extreme stress resistance and patience. A person who does not have these qualities may forget to become a successful entrepreneur.

 

Laziness

 

Can become a serious obstacle to the prosperity of the company.

 

As a parting gift to our readers, what are the top three pieces of advice that you can give to them about launching a startup and why? Please share a story for each.

 

Seek clients, not investments

 

A startup should start with sales. If you don’t have an MVP, you can get letters of guarantee from potential customers or simply collect applications for a non-existent product. Only after that does it makes sense to go to accelerators and funds. Because CustDev and a genuine willingness to buy a product are two different things.

 

Make sure that this idea will inspire in the coming years and is worth working for 24/7

 

Ask yourself if the chosen business segment is so interesting that you want to devote the next 3-7 years to it. Do you love the customers for whom you are making a product? If not, it’s best to leave the idea to someone else.

 

Find people who care

 

This advice might sound like “believe in yourself,” but the truth is that you always need someone else: there will be challenging days, and without support, the risks of giving up halfway increase. Every growing startup needs someone at the start of their journey which supports, listens, and motivates them to keep going.

 

Thank you for these fantastic insights and for your time. We truly appreciate it and wish you all the best on your journey.

 

Gin X E-bikes is Raising!

 

Please click below for more information.

 

TS [GIN E-BIKES CTA] 082322

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