Cycling for people who can’t balance
It is commonly established and medically proven that aerobic exercise such as cycling is important for everyone giving both physiological and psychological benefits.
I set up Triple Tread to provide a cool alternative to the cycle market for people such as myself with Multiple Sclerosis or other neurological conditions, who need a trike to aid balance. I wanted to bridge the gap between walking with a stick and using a car. Trips beyond the capability of aided walking means more short car journeys.
Triple Tread appeals to both young and old because it looks different from the rest.
From engineer to entrepreneur
My roots are in engineering but for the last 20 years I have worked in global sales and marketing management working with cool brands, cool technologies and creative customers in the media and broadcast market.
Market feedback and patent protection
I’m driven by the desire to ride a trike that oozes style without any compromise of function.
We previewed an early prototype of the trike at MS Life, a European information and lifestyle event organised by the MS Society. The event was attended by over 2500 visitors with many seeing the trike and some taking the opportunity to make a short test ride, leaving comments such as “I want one” “That’s cool” “Even I would/ could ride one of those”.
Our patent application has meant protecting the current design but we must still be on track - When I’m out testing it’s great to hear teenagers shout: ‘Wow!’ that trike is sick!” That’s a complement and a complete contrast to their thoughts seeing me when walking and wobbling as a ‘sick’ man.
The need for a new network of contacts
Like most businesses we started by identifying a need and overcoming a problem. Unlike many new businesses we were moving into a new industry and couldn’t utilise skill and resource in our existing network of suppliers, partners and customers.
My old network didn’t necessarily identify with the problem. My old manufacture network didn’t manufacture the type of components we needed. My old supplier network couldn’t help with credit terms and I didn’t have a connected distribution and customer base keen to purchase the product. It has taken a long time building a new network without referrals, learning which businesses can deliver and trust with quality manufacture and supply goods. We were unknown to the suppliers too and without the benefit of credit have had to manage our cash flow.
To help build this network, we have been working with Business Growth Hub and were proud this year to be recognised by them with Most Innovative Start-up Award.
Innovation funding challenge
Funding has also been a challenge. We have spent a lot of time investigating SME funding opportunities, networking with partners to meet the correct criteria and completing applications.
I was very pleased to find the Innovation Voucher scheme was perfect for Micro businesses and delighted to be successful. This award will be used to progress with a patent application. It’s great to think we have created a new patentable technology in an industry that first started 150 years ago.
Building our investor value
Our patent will be added to our other Trademark and Design Registration and intellectual property which will bolster our value to potential investors who will work with us to bring Triple Tread to market.
We want to see more products made for the disabled market, which look COOL. This can encourage positive change in public attitudes to disabilities focussing on the person rather than their particular disability.
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