In the run up to Pitchfest 2018, we have caught up with Alex Murray of Hinton Bikes, a Cambridge start-up developing a lightweight and very compact folding e-bike, and the finalist of the 2017 Pitchfest edition delivered by Enterprise Europe Network in partnership with The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and held at St John’s Innovation Centre.
Tell us about your company, latest developments and achievements.
Hinton Bikes is a start-up based in Cambridge that is focusing on developing a lightweight and very compact folding electric bike for urban commuters. We've been working on this project for about a year and a half and have achieved a few key milestones in the last 6 months: first complete prototype bike frame, first investment, and first international sourcing trip. Our initial designs were based off of electric scooters with seats and then we turned to bike designs since we thought larger wheels can give the ride versatility. Recently we have won funding from a few different sources including a grant from the Design Council, and third place in the London round of the Shenzhen Innovation & Entrepreneurship International Competition.
What was the impact of Pitchfest on your venture?
Pitchfest was great for helping us to define our message and gave us the confidence to get in front of people early on. Even though we were a little premature in pitching for funding at the time, the experience of going through Pitchfest helped to iron out some of the knots in our messaging early on. This kind of preparation, and a willingness to accept critical feedback, was invaluable to us.
How would you define a life as an entrepreneur?
It's pretty full on but very rewarding. For me, this project perfectly combines my interests in new technology, public policy, and cycling. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.
Pitch perfect: What’s the best advice you’ve received while shaping your pitch deck?
The two rules of thumb that I always keep in mind when pitching are to keep words on slides to a minimum, and to only memorize the first and last lines for each slide. These two tips help to make presentations much more interactive and less like you're just reading a bunch of information from slides that are sitting on the screen at the front of the room. It's important to develop some sort of rapport with your audience, whoever they happen to be.
What’s next for Hinton Bikes?
We're really focused on launching our ebike this year. As the saying goes, hardware is hard, so the lead times are quite long. Nevertheless, we're confident that we can get our ebike out there before winter kicks in.
To find out more about Hinton Bikes, please visit www.hintonbikes.com
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