"A fork in the road"

Dreamer: Ethan Davidson

Business: Rüster Sports

Location: Des Moines, IA

Industry Contest: Manufacturing/Bioscience/IT

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Manufacturing/Bioscience/IT Current Rank
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Rüster Sports was founded in 2009 by professional triathlete and industrial engineer TJ Tolalkson. We produce two staple products, a bicycle travel bag the meets the airlines’ dimensional requirement for checked baggage avoiding bike fees and the world’s fastest wind-tunnel tested triathlon bicycle.
Business Description:
We are unique because we produce and sell the world’s most aerodynamic triathlon bicycle frame. The differentiation between Dimond and current top brands is the frame construction that omits components that would otherwise create a significant amount of aerodynamic drag. The style of frame is referred to as a beam bike and is visually different from a more traditional double-diamond frame construction. We make money by selling direct to consumers at premium prices for a technologically superior product that out performs the competition.

The bicycle industry is a 6 billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone, with a vast majority of the major players operating overseas. Our direct competitors manufacture overseas in an attempt to keep manufacturing costs down, while we manufacture in the Iowa to keep innovation high and development fast.

The sport of triathlon itself has seen continuous growth since its introduction. In 2012 for example, adult participation increased 9.4% from 2011 to 113,579 and overall participation increased 12% from 2011. The 2012 USA Triathlon Report documents participation surpassed 550,000 members in 2012[1]. In the year 2011, 1.9 million people completed at least 1 triathlon event.
Reason for Entering:
We are applying for the Dream Big Grow Here contest because we want to align our marketing efforts with the level of product we manufacture. To date, all of our growth within the industry has happened organically. In 2014 we grew from four employees to ten employees, starting as a speck on the map in the triathlon industry and ending the year as a top quartile best-represented bike brand at the IRONMAN World Championships. Our products regularly attract attention in featured articles on industry websites and exposure in the largest circulating triathlon magazine. It is time we invest some money in marketing to grow the reach of our brand message and create a contagious brand with which people want to be associated. A grant from the Dream Big Grow Here contest would afford us a marketing budget to explode our budding industry presence.

Over the past eight months we have been working tirelessly to finalize a product that is key in furthering our aerodynamic dominance in the triathlon industry. Our engineers have developed a front fork to complete our triathlon frame set that performs and looks like no bicycle fork before it. We believe the correct execution of a product launch is critical in order to capitalize fully on the work that has gone into our new fork. This fork is the final "missing piece" to create a irresistible and compelling story to drive sales. Athletes have been anticipating the launch of this fork for half of a year and it is imperative that we exceed their expectations.
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