If you’re a cyclist you might know Bryan Gardner from his first big Kickstarter campaign, Fly Pedals. For the rest of you, this might be a first introduction. Either way, this Colorado native is on a roll right now and he’s set his sights high, into the clouds so to speak. I had a chance to sit down with Bryan and talk to him about all he’s doing and hopefully, give all you young entrepreneurs out there a glimpse into the life.
Bryan’s background and college education was focused on the accounting and finance side of business. Though he did finish his degree, by his own admission, “[He] never really felt passionate about those fields, it was mostly a security plan.” What he wanted to do was work for himself and gain freedom from being self-employed. As a broke college student, his dreams seemed so far away, until he discovered Kickstarter. The reward-based, crowd-sourced funding platform. It was like a match made in heaven for the young businessman.
It all began with Bryan and his friend Dan Lucchesi. Dan had brought the idea for Fly Pedals to Bryan in 2013 after seeing his success with another campaign he had Kickstarted. The pair hatched a plan to realize Dan’s plan to bring his design to life. Then, the concept took off. On July 5th 2014, they successfully raised of $40,000 dollars donated by over 1,200 backers to start production of their product, a pedal that would allow for cyclists to use street shoes to ride their bicycles with clipless pedal setups.
Now, the two are in the midst of another Kickstarter campaign to create the second iteration of their clipless system dubbed, Fly Pedals V2, which is getting wrapped up next week. Their campaign, not surprisingly, was fully funded on the 20th of July with 11 days left and orders are still coming in.
Though Bryan’s passion is creation, it doesn’t just pull him into the physical realm. While he was working on creating the Fly Pedals business, he realized that the marketing tools that existed for companies in his situation were monstrously inadequate. He realized he needed to shift gears and do something about this lack of support from the business community. What he did was create Coopt. Coopt, Bryan says, “is a tool that turns customers into advocates, and rewards them with instant discounts in the process.” Rumor has it that his user base is growing extremely fast and the feedback has been great.
Ultimately, he wants Coopt to become a household name when it comes to eCommerce. Will it happen? Only time will tell. Luckily, Bryan isn’t resting on his laurels. Every day, he splits time between his two businesses and works tirelessly to hit some pretty ambitious goals. Currently, Fly Pedals does about $20,000 in revenue a month and he’s growing at a breakneck pace (about 10% a month). If you ask him, he’s very humble about it and it’s a bit infuriating, “I have a few businesses under my belt, and of course failed a few times, but I still consider myself an amateur.”