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  1. #1
    washed-up moto guy
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    Help Our Moto/MTB Startup Win a $100k Grant!

    Hey Fellow MTBrs,

    My name is Jonathan Lee and I am co-founder of Hotlap.co, a Reno/Tahoe based tech startup that revolutionizes the sport of motocross and MTB. I hope I am not stepping on any toes by posting this here, but we could really use some more help from the MTB community to win a startup competition.

    My co-founder Nic Vandermade and I spent our adolescence on the track and love the sport of motocross. These days, however, we find ourselves on the pedals with our lifelong bud Paul Basagiotia far more than on the throttle (It’s a little easier on the wallet when you are poor college students/entrepreneurs living off of PB&J) We have built an app/web-service that is going to revolutionize the way people ride, train and race and we need you help!



    For those of you who are MTBrs, you will recognize the base concept from Garmin Connect, mapmyride, and especially Strava. We are long time users of those services and we absolutely love them, but we feel that there is room for competition and improvement; especially for the All Mountain/Enduro/DH crowd.

    The fact is, none of those services appreciate the physicality, technique, and dynamic nature of gravity oriented riding. Having spent our lives in that arena, we understand the difficulty and work required in order to be a good all around rider and not just a climber. By developing unique metrics and providing more competitive opportunities for the all around rider, Hotlap.co will be an invaluable tool.

    We are 1 of 12 finalists in a business competition with the chance at winning a $100k grant that will allow us to bring this service to all of you guys. The winner is chosen by popular vote, and we are currently neck and neck with 1 other entrant for the lead. WE NEED YOUR VOTES!

    Voting is simple, takes 1 click, and requires no personal information or social integration. Simply click this link (or go to hotlap.co > Click ‘Go and Vote’), then click on ‘Hotlap.co’ in the blue rectangle on the right of your screen.

    The voting closes on June 21st, and your vote counts once per device, so it is CRUCIAL that you vote on all devices at your disposal and get as many people as possible to do the same.

    PLEASE vote on all the devices you have and get everybody else to vote too! If we win, we will be able to get this service out to all of you and change the way we ride forever.

    Thanks guys!
    Like us on Facebook http://facebook.com/hotlapdotco
    Follow us on twitter http://twitter.com/hotlapdotco

  2. #2
    washed-up moto guy
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    Thanks Chikelusmith! Not sure why the links aren't working for you. If you are talking about the voting link when clicking on 'Hotlap.co' in the blue rectangle, sometimes it takes a bit. Unfortunately the contest organizer's website is a little rough to say the least.

    Thanks again for the support!

  3. #3
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    Done...voted on three separate devices that I have in person...will vote again later after work at home. Good luck!

  4. #4
    007
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    Alright . . . so I've watched the video and scoured the website. Here's some (uninvited) feedback.

    The good:

    Well produced video. Good videography and editing.
    Website is well laid out and coherent.
    Screenshots of the app look aesthetically pleasing.

    The bad (and I'm not going to lie, its pretty bad):

    Despite the aforementioned positives, I have NO idea what it is that your app offers above and beyond existing apps. None. It basically looks like a mechanism to map/track my rides. I have several options for that already. What does your app do that the current apps don't?

    Secondly, its pretty apparent to me how you intend to monetize this, and if I'm correct in my assumption it is absolutely enough to make me not want to use it. I do NOT want ad's popping up on or after my rides telling me "its time to lube your chain! Buy CrapLube!" If you're going to charge me money for the app itself, than you'd better address point A above, and it better be good because there's some pretty good options out there already that don't cost me anything.

    You make repeated references to improving your training, comparing performance (possibly in real-time?), etc. but its not clear to me how you're doing that or why I should care. Strava does this for me already and does a pretty good job of it. They also have competitions/challenges, etc. that I can participate in. The difference seems that you're offering prizes. Lots of problems with that, for example how do you plan to deal with cheating? See: DigitalEPO.com

    . . . . none of those services appreciate the physicality, technique, and dynamic nature of gravity oriented riding. Having spent our lives in that arena, we understand the difficulty and work required in order to be a good all around rider and not just a climber. By developing unique metrics . . .
    How does your product accomplish this? What are the "unique metrics" that you've developed? It seems to me that the existing products track more than just the climbs, no? They also provide a pretty comprehensive suite of performance data, so I'm curious what else you guys intend to measure . . . .

    Sorry for the uninvited criticism, and I wish you luck but (IMO) you've got a long way to go in a narrow market . . . .
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  5. #5
    washed-up moto guy
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    007,

    Thank you for the feedback! We do have a long ways to go and feedback like yours will only help us improve the service. The video and all information that is currently available is intended to introduce the idea rather than explain it in detail, as our main objective right now is to gain votes from a general audience (We can't wait for this campaigning politician life to be over and to get back to building!)

    With that being said, I'll do my best to adress your concerns/questions:

    1. Monetization - This business is built to be sustainable, so yes, it does have a monetization plan in place. While our 'Virtual Garage' system will be a source of revenue, we place our user experience as priority #1. To use your situation as an example, brands will not be able to pay for push notifications to your phone. The objective is to track the attrition of your equipment and predict when it needs to be replaced. What we aim to do is to connect you with the brands you like and would purchase from and foster a good experience (ie, discounts for you, our users). We will be constantly iterating to remove all irritation and intrusion so that this is a favorable experience, and there will be no banner ads/traditional online advertisement. We hate the current trends in online advertising and believe there is a better way for not only our partners, but for our users as well.

    Regarding pricing of the app, it will be free to download, with a premium subscription for $4.99/mo providing competitive users comparative analytics and more. We don't want to charge the casual weekend warrior for tracking his rides, and we hope $4.99/mo won't break the bank if you get the competitive urge.

    2. Competitions/Prizes/Cheating - Much like Strava, we plan to give our users more competitive opportunities, and yes, we plan on rewarding you for your efforts. Concerning the topic of cheating we, just as all GPS tracking services, will do our best in addition to algorithmic filtering, to remove all cheating. It is also important to know that we don't plan on giving away $10k prizes or anything of that scale that would cause people to sacrifice their integrity. We know that integrity is of low value for some, but we will do our best with our users' feedback to strike a good balance.

    3. Metrics/Improving Perfromance - I don't want to go into too much detail here due to IP concerns (not a fan of IP and its surrounding battle, but unfortunately you have to play that game), but we feel that the down portion of your rides are currently measured by speed and speed only. Seeing as how you are in the all-mountain forum and know what you are talking about, I assume that you can appreciate the technicality and ability needed to be a good descender.

    Overall, to MTB riders, this isn't an entirely new idea, we simply aim to improve on what else is out there and believe there is more than enough room for competition. With that said, our primary market is the motorcycle market, and that market is underserved when it comes to this type of service.

    The majority of our users will use MTB as cross training or as an equal and separate hobby, so our goal is to provide data to our users for the sports they love.

    Unfortunately I can't give you concrete answers to all of your concerns/questions, but I hope this helps resolve at least a portion. Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    I'm sorry, but I still have no idea what this actually does that other existing apps (Strava, mapmyride, etc) don't. There is already at least one other app that keeps track of how many hours are on your equipment (something I believe is of very little value). How does yours differ from these? How does it track this? Do you need to have the app running every time you ride your bike?

    I like the idea of measuring "technicallity" but what is your concept/theory behind actually doing that?
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  7. #7
    washed-up moto guy
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    Kapusta,

    Thanks for the reply! Let me see if I can clarify on those points without stepping on any toes. We are still very early stage, so providing details as to the core functionality of the service can be somewhat tricky at this point.

    1. Vehicle Maintenance Tracking - You're spot on with assuming that you would have to have the app running every time you ride. If on the off chance you forget to ride, or if you would rather not track your activity, you will be able to manually add time. If our users feel the same way that you do regarding its utility, they will be able to turn off that portion of the service. Our goal is to make equipment maintenance, a serious pain, especially for motorcyclists, not such a dreadful experience.

    2. Metrics/Technicality - While I once again can't go into specifics, our goal is to work with our users to develop reliable metrics to quantify your performance in great detail in various areas, including line choice, corner entrance/exit speed, braking, acceleration, and more. This is new territory, and it will hurt our brains to make it all work, but it is absolutely possible and proven by the highest levels of performance motorsports.

    Once again, while we may not be reinventing the wheel for the mtb industry, we feel that there is room for improvement and more competition. We will be able to provide more detailed information in the coming months and hopefully that helps solve any concerns that haven't been addressed.

  8. #8
    007
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    I applaud your efforts, because you've clearly gotten much further than I have in the app development world . . . that said, you're getting some invaluable feedback from at least two very experienced riders, neither of whom have a clear insight into what you're working on based on your marketing materials thus far. Granted this is only two people, but I can say with certainty that if people on this forum can't follow you - arguably the most active community of mountain bikers in the world - you've got a serious problem. So far your only reply has been "I can't tell you more because its IP . . ." If you know how IP works, and if you're that concerned about it, you (should) already have filed for your patents and its a moot point. You can't market a product on the premise of vagaries that purports to do something unique and different, without say what that is.

    Based on what you've said so far I may have an idea of what you're trying to do . . . to quantify corner exit/entrance speed, acceleration, braking, line performance etc. is likely an attempt to integrate the internal accelerometer data with GPS data. Clever . . . but unless you utilized an absurdly high refresh rate (killing the battery in any sort of ride over 3 hrs) though I don't know that you'd be able to get the pinpoint resolution necessary to really generate anything useful. And I don't know how you'd use the Garmin either, so maybe I'm way off.
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  9. #9
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    being a dirt bike rider and mountain bike rider, i can see this app being useful for motorcycles in general, road course, motocross tracks, desert trails, dirt grand prix courses, even for auto road courses, with a "segment" database similar to that of strava.
    as for the whole idea of maintenance tracking... most enthusiasts, or even hardcore weekend warriors, at least that ive come across, stay on top of there equipment. its cheaper to keep things maintained than deal with repairs due to poor maintenance. i doubt that feature will get all that much use really. UNLESS we had the option to input the supplies/parts that we used on a regular basis and the notification included a link the the cheapest price found, or a particular useful coupon, which in the end could possible make up for the cost of the service.
    dont know how you are going to track metrics, or really how relevant they are. in downhill racing its all about the fastest time down the course, mx/sx its first to take the checkered flag, lap times are used for qualifying and that is whats used in training to compare against.
    i really think the biggest plus side of this app would be for the moto world. i feel the bicycle world has what they need, and strava even has some sorta new "live" feature that is in beta at the moment.

    i did vote, and good luck to you guys, hope it all works out well.
    Juice

  10. #10
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    I voted hope it goes well.
    Ellsworth Epiphany - 27.5/650b conversion
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  11. #11
    Dropshot Champ!
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    I'm glad I wasn't the only one who didn't understand WTF they were promoting in the video. I was like, awesome video....but what does the app do?

    it's like another mapmyride/strava from the sound of it?

    neat.

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