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The Sport Tech Start-Up That Faced a Global Pandemic Right After Launching their Product and Survived

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Andrea Manas Powering Offroad

We talked to Andrea Mañas, CEO at Powering Offroad, about the application mature riders are using to work out  from home and this is what she said about it.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?

Andrea Mañas: Luckily all my family members have been able to avoid the virus or pass it without further inconveniences. Hope it stays the same. Unfortunately, this is at the expense of not being able to see each other for a very long time, but health comes before anything else and we are all enduring the situation with a stoic mind.

Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Powering Offroad.

Andrea Mañas: POWERING OFFROAD is my second entrepreneurship project in the fitness industry. I come from a juridic background so I’ve had to learn everything from scratch regarding how to set up a start-up, how to deal with wanting to do so many things with only a few resources. Plus I am a woman leading a project in a very traditionally male world which is the motorbike sector, so as you can imagine the challenges are behind every corner. Still, I consider my analytical skills to be very developed and three years ago I was able to see an opportunity that no one else had seen. Three years after I lead a Start-up, we’ve developed a mobile app and our products have an international reach. I think it’s fair to say so far, so good.

How does Powering Offroad innovate?

Andrea Mañas: My company has disrupted the off-roading niche with the 8RiderSkills system, a training method that develops all the physical skills needed to ride a dirt bike safely and with enjoyment, combining the experience of coaches from the dirt bike world, the training plans used by pro riders, and the knowledge of how fitness works, and we’ve made it all accessible to amateur riders through this method. We apply this method both in personal training services for amateur riders and in our Training App in which an algorithm applies this method and customizes it to each user’s needs. And no other company in the world had done anything like this before in this niche.

How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business and how are you coping?

Andrea Mañas: The Coronavirus pandemic has been quite devastating for our niche because everything revolves around races and championships. Both pro and amateur riders around the world look forward to the arrival of the racing season from March to November, in which they can test their skills, challenge themselves and meet up with the community of riders they value so much. Fortunately, keeping up with the physical training has proven to be one of the best ways to deal with lockdowns, frustration, places being closed down, and so on. So the users in the POWERING App for example have not reduced but kept growing during this year. Also, we’ve added the working out from home option in the app and we have implemented live online training sessions to keep our riders working out and motivated. Even if they can’t ride or challenge themselves in races as much as before, at least we can help them keep their fitness and morals up, so when general bans are lifted, they can just jump on their motorbikes and ride as fun and safe as before.

Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?

Andrea Mañas: One month before the pandemic exploded and lockdowns around the world started, we had just released the training app we had been working so hard on for one year. Imagine what that is to a CEO. All the effort, all the resources, all the plans… And now you have to keep the boat on a float but from home. Thankfully, if you are very analytical, if you plan for the best and the worst scenarios, and if you are surrounded by a team of people that are just as adaptable and willing to make this work as much as you, well, you have a chance to make it work. That’s the day by day of a start-up, I think.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Andrea Mañas: We have depurated a lot of our internal processes and protocols to be very organized working. We check our priorities for the day every single day to avoid spending time on anything that is not urgent and not relevant. We also meet up with the whole team a minimum of two times a week, one to align the week of tasks and another one at the end of the week to just chat and keep up with our lives as we will do in the office’s kitchen in the coffee pause if we still worked physically together. We use tools like Asana and Slack to keep super organized with work and of course, all the Google suite is quite a core in all our processes.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Andrea Mañas: Every other training app, personal trainer, and gym is our competitor! The thing is that we offer a lot of value to our audience even before they make a purchase: we are giving them something no one else is, amateurs are the center of our focus and we really design each of our products and services with the aim of helping them. This results in a mass of brand lovers (not just followers) that really help spread our brand through the word of mouth, and that you can not fake or buy, it’s an asset the company has built that is priceless and that guarantees that when the rider is ready to buy, they think of us first.

Your final thoughts?

Andrea Mañas: The two-wheel sector will continue to grow in the coming years, and the eruption of electric motors will bring a new paradigm of sustainable practice that will further enhance the new model of amateur rider that we at POWERING OFFROAD are already empowering. This new rider model prioritizes safer, sportier, and more fitness-oriented riding. This will create more interesting competitions and will facilitate the incorporation of new users who will join the unstoppable traction of the Adventure, Rally, and Extreme Enduro modalities.

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I'm a passionate full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for startups. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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