It all comes down to Columbus as the five "Gas Tank" finalists will present their business plans to industry leaders, media and influencers at AIMExpo. "Regardless of who takes first place, the real value for each finalist is getting a chance to work closely with some of our industry's smartest leaders, who served as mentors," says Cam Arnold who runs the Motorcycle Industry Council's version of Shark Tank. "I wish to thank all the mentors for generously lending their time and sharing their experience."
Dealernews own Eric Anderson and Scot Harden are among the mentors for this year's finalists and our DIVERSITY+ columnist Alisa Clickenger is a former finalist in the program. This year's contenders are:
Mentor: Eric Anderson, VROOM Network
Atwyld products are built for the modern woman who rides, and crafted with the most trusted quality materials. Atwyld was created to fill a void in the market between street fashion and motorcycle gear. While there are a lot of great products in the top tier of protective technical gear, there was nothing for the more fashion-conscious rider who also values fit, quality and styling as much as technical protection. The goal is to get more women riders to wear protective apparel while still feeling like themselves when they ride. Atwyld was founded by Anya Violet, Jamie Dempsey, and Corinne Lan Franco.
Mentor: Tim Calhoun, Helmet House
Founded by woman rider and entrepreneur Alexis Dudley, Flying Duchess is bringing a fresh approach to women's riding gear. The Santa Fe, New Mexico-based business recently released its first line of women's apparel, and these style-driven and technically constructed pieces are the culmination of years spent designing for, and getting feedback from well-traveled women riders. The results are disruptive in design, refreshing in attitude, and incredible in attention to fit and finish. Flying Duchess jackets conjure the excitement of the 1950s café racer while embracing the fashion and protection expected by the 21st-century woman who rides.
Mentor: Nicole Allen, Akrapovic
Gearhead Zone, based in Los Angeles, is building an innovative launch platform, the Motorcycle Product Incubator, to help inventors develop, design and manufacture unique new tools and powersports products. The mission is to help gearheads who have fantastic product ideas start up and get to market quickly. Gearhead Zone was founded by Roy Nolan.
Mimi and Moto
Mentor: Frank Esposito, Frank Esposito Consulting
Their goal is to become the Dr. Seuss and Walt Disney of the motorcycle world. Unique products are based on the characters of Mimi and Moto: The Motorcycle Monkeys, and consist of children's books, merchandise, and future animation. These characters, combined with their values, offer a new opportunity to expand the entire motorcycle industry and to introduce children to the joys of the motorcycle lifestyle, helping to inspire and create the next generation of riders. Mimi and Moto were inspired by a special little girl and created by the wife and husband team of Nancy Gerloff and Mark Augustyn.
Mentor: Scot Harden, Harden Offroad
Riders Share is the Airbnb of motorcycle experiences, offering the largest choice of motorcycles to rent at competitive prices, with the most locations to choose from. More than 6,000 people have listed their motorcycles on Riders Share since it launched in February 2018, and more than $2 million in booking requests have been made since then. Riders Share was founded by two young bikers, Guillermo Cornejo and Brendon Lamb.