BEND, OR (BRAIN)—Thebicycleindustry.com, an interactive Web site that aims to bring the complete industry supply chain together into one comprehensive database, launched today.
“It’s basically LinkedIn, Facebook and the Yellow Pages pushed together and for bike specifically,” said Beverly Lucas, who began building the online database with 800 of her personal contacts collected over 15 years in the industry.
As vice president of global sales and marketing at Edge Composites, Lucas saw the need for a one-stop shop to find international contacts and communicate easily with them. But the idea had been in the back of her mind since she started at Felt Bicycle eight years ago.
“Back in the day when Felt was just a few of us running around the office and doing everything, I would be trying to find a tire manufacturer. I would think, ‘For crying out loud, wouldn’t it be great if I could just flick a Web site and find someone,’” she said.
The concept only came to fruition six months ago, after it became clear that the retail shop she and her husband had sunk their entire savings into wouldn’t survive the recession. Waking up in a moment of panic one morning, Lucas sat down and started writing a business plan for the site.
Working with Web site developer Dan Ellmore, Lucas spent nights populating the site while holding down her day job at Edge and trying to pay off debt from Bend Bike n Sport, which closed in March.
“I thought, I know there’s a market out there if I can find a way to make this Web site so amazing that people will be prepared to pay for it—like an Interbike but 24-7 online,” Lucas said.
The site (click on link) launched with 4,000 contacts. Companies can submit their basic information to be included in a free directory or pay $299 a year for an active, enhanced listing.
The information on the open-forum site is accessible to anyone, but users pay $99 per month to have interactive capabilities like on LinkedIn or Facebook.