Louis is a 4th year student at Trinity college studying Materials Science and he has founded a start up called OxBikes: a bicycle trading market place for Oxford with the help of Francesca Stott and Florine Lips (both language students at Trinity).
OxBikes creates a circular economy, reducing waste and making bicycles more affordable which in turn promotes green transport in the city as people can buy and sell their old bikes with ease, reducing the demand for imported bikes.They donate a significant proportion of earnings to world cycle relief, a charity that funds bicycles to those most in need.
What is your background? What made you decide to get involved in supporting entrepreneurs?
I have never studied business, but I am constantly thinking of ideas, most of which are not feasible! I have previously repaired iPhone screens for a cheap price, undercutting iSmash and Apple in 2018 so I received a lot of business then. Other than that I do not really have much of a background.
What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
I think it is the creativity associated with your idea. There are so many businesses and services, so it is carving out your niche by being creative.
How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?
When I looked online to find the cheapest bicycle, and worked out how hard it was to:
1. Find a bicycle under £100 where I could just pay online without having to message someone
2. Be able to compare different bicycles without spending at least half an hour navigating through multiple sites such as gumtree, Facebook marketplace, other small bike shops in Oxford
3. Trying to workout where the bicycle is based and how feasible it would be for me to collect it/drop it off.
What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
1. Confidence – you have to have trust in your idea in order to make it work.
2. Creativity – carve out your niche
3. Marketing experience – know how to promote your idea
What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
Sense of fulfilment, seeing what you have built from the ground and seeing it in action, being able to choose the direction of your start-up’s growth.
What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?
Hyperloop – I love that it is creating green travel which is more efficient than anything thought of before.
If you had 5 minutes with the above individual/ company/organization, what would you want to ask or discuss?
Really all of it! the science side of it, the business, the marketing strategies and the costs and revenues.
What has been your most satisfying or successful moment in business?
When we hit 1k views on google in our first week on google.
What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?
Spending too much too soon on marketing. It is important to use natural growth strategies first.
How have you funded your ideas?
Myself – It was a small investment required to pay for our website. As soon as we sold our first few bikes we made it back.
Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?
What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
It is great – it is like an enormous town shoved into a few central roads, meaning that all of the business will happen within a square km. This business would fail in London unless it had grown the size of London.