Angel investment helps REALRIDER rev up for launch

October 29, 2012

AN online forum for the UK’s motorcyclists is revved up and ready to go after netting a £285,000 investment.

Realrider has been launched by Newcastle-based management team Andrew Richardson and Zoe Farrington and aims to attract 500,000 bikers over the next three years.

Both Richardson and Farrington are currently taking their motorbike tests so they can hit the road next summer but it is their experience in publicising road safety issues which led them to launch the business.

The platform, which will create an exclusive web and mobile network where riders can meet, explore new routes and share experiences through videos, photos and chat, has been in development for around seven years.

Farrington said: “There are various websites for bloggers but they are in the main quite antiquated.

“We aspire to be the new online home for motorcyclists, bringing it all together in one place.

“We had the idea probably back in about 2005. The reason we didn’t act on it then was that we were waiting for the technology to catch up with our aspirations.”

She has worked with Richardson for around a decade creating award-winning road safety, education, training and publicity work for clients in and around the motorcycle industry.

Their contacts in the sector mean they have already been able to win support from organisations including the British Motorcycle Federation, Motorcycle Industry Association and the Highways Agency.

Realrider, which includes both a free and a premium app, is set to go live by Christmas and will allow users to instantly share issues such as potential road hazards or traffic conditions on their favourite routes.

It aims to sign up around 500,000 of the UK’s 1.5 million motorbike riders in the next three years. The platform will not be subscription-based but will earn its keep via advertising and marketing, commission sales, the premium app sales and also by providing ‘data insights’ to the likes of insurance firms.

Richardson said: “We carried out more than 18 months’ research within the biker community before starting to look for outside investment to ensure the concept would live up to what riders said they were looking for.”

The duo worked with Stephen Slater, director at RMT accountants and business advisers, to put together the business plan and they have now completed a £285,000 angel-led seed investment round with the support of Rivers Capital Partners, which manages the £7.5m Finance For Business North East Angel Fund.

Realrider is one of the first in the UK to win finance via the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), which aims to help small, early-stage companies raise equity finance by offering a range of tax reliefs to investors who purchase new shares in the business.

Slater said: “Realrider’s management team showed significant foresight in getting involved with the SEIS at the earliest possible opportunity, and they’re now set fair to make this exciting concept a commercial success.”

Natalia Blagburn, investment executive at Rivers Capital Partners, says: “What really made them stand out is that they got out there and did their absolute best to understand their customers, fine-tuning their business model at the same time as pitching to business angels and investment funds.”

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