By EWN • 18 April 2022 • 16:55
Today’s business partners Ivan Kroshnyi and Igor Kucheryavenko, the founder of Kucher ECO are going to share their recipe for a successful partnership. Ivan’s mentorship program helped take the sustainable transport business from the regular OLX platform to a whole new level and succeed internationally under the Kucher ECO brand name.
Hello Ivan! Could you please tell us how long you have been investing? What was your investment journey like and why did you eventually decide to invest in an eco-friendly transportation startup?
Good day! From a young age, I came to realize that to have a stable and secure life, I had to invest money in promising projects that allow maximizing capital and generating passive income. This is why I started investing when I was 16 years old and got the taste of the first real money I earned selling computer equipment.
Initially, I invested in the stock and forex markets. Gradually, I built up both my investment and asset portfolio, slowly expanding the list of these assets. Aside from the stock market, I founded an investment fund which we are currently growing with our partners in the Czech Republic. We are investing in projects linked to real estate development. That’s something I’ve been doing for over 3 years now.
On top of that, we have investments in the UAE. Acting an investor, I’ve been developing a restaurant chain jointly with my partner after I moved to Dubai.
There are many reasons why I picked an electric bicycle niche. For starters, this is a very dynamic market with giant growth potential. There are loads of gas-powered bikes in the world. This segment will, however, switch to electric engines over time as this is an environmentally reasonable and economically feasible decision for consumers. This niche is highly promising since the world is trying to move away from harmful emissions and switch to safer and more eco-friendly means of transportation.
How did you and Igor meet? What was the situation with the green transport business at the time? How much money was needed and what for?
Igor joined my mentorship program. The business was already up and running at the time. There was a small production and sales. He needed the money to expand the product line, scale up the business and win new markets. There was also a need to increase production volumes since the product was already in demand. The company needed money for the operating capital and to set up logistics between the manufacturer and end consumers.
Overall investment totaled a little over one million dollars for 1 year. So, $1,200,000 was the first scaling stage.
Why did Kucher ECO catch your investor’s eye? Have you given other projects from this industry a thought, too?
Igor was very specific and serious as far as the figures and his project plans were concerned. That’s how I’ve realized that it appeals to me from a mentorship perspective. Before making a final decision to invest, I obviously checked out other market players that are operating within the same niche. That’s when I knew that Igor had obvious advantages. His eco bikes and electric bicycles had a very well-made battery charging system. Thanks to a high power reserve and excellent speed performance which play a major role when it comes to electric vehicles, Igor’s products stood out among other similar models. Besides, Igor had a great product line ranging from bicycles to elaborate electric motorcycles.
Igor, we have a question for you. Could you tell us more about the way your business evolved, your search for investors, and your eventual decision to seek Ivan Kroshnyi’s mentorship?
I used to resell ready-made electric bicycles using the OLX platform. I brought products from Kazakhstan and Moscow, being able to sell about 70 pieces a month.
Seeing the growing demand for green vehicles, including eco bikes, I went to China to explore and get the feel of the existing market. However, I quickly figured that the models available in the market demonstrated a very low power reserve and low speed. That’s how I decided to design a more powerful electric bike of my own.
I picked several suitable models and rebuilt them by refining the engine and replacing the battery with a more powerful one. Thanks to these new improved features, I was able to sell the products within the first month upon my return to Ukraine.
Aside from that, I was working on my electric bike business. I noticed that there was a huge traffic potential in terms of alloy-wheeled models. But then again there was an issue with it. There were no high-quality products made to last. I knew that they would also need refining before we could hit the market with a new high-quality competitive product. That’s when I knew that I needed an investor.
I raised my first investments using regular message boards. I managed to get $100,000 that went into launching a bicycle production. That being said, the entire electric vehicle turnover was sold out before the product reached Ukraine. Investments were insufficient. That’s when I met Ivan Kroshnyi.
To me, the most important thing at the time was not just to get the money but also to gain relevant experience in the business world and improve my critical business thinking. That’s why, I needed a mentor and a more seasoned partner who would bring in his expertise that I, myself, lacked. Ivan was exactly that kind of person.
Ivan admitted that the niche and products were indeed very promising and had solid growth potential in the coming decades. Even though we partnered up only six months later, Ivan was mentoring me the whole time. With his valuable advice and insights, I was able to get lots of helpful investment attraction tools and started feeling more confident when interacting with potential investors in person.
To put things into perspective for you, before getting to know Ivan, I held about 200 meetings with prospective investors, yet I wasn’t happy with the outcome at all. After completing the mentorship program, I was able to get the needed investment and start a full-fledged project scaling after only 4 meetings.
How is Kucher ECO doing right now? How did you use the investment and what are you planning to do next?
Ivan and I have been cooperating for six months now. We started a company in Dubai, and Ivan registered the Kucher ECO trademark. We also launched a store with a brand-new line of top-quality products in Indonesia.
A total of 30 stores, including 25 partner stores offering eco-friendly vehicles are now open. We continue exploring various options for cooperation with entrepreneurs who wish to operate in the same niche alongside us.
We are already planning to open a store in Dubai, build a factory for the production of our eco-friendly bikes in Indonesia and achieve $10 million in turnover in 2022.
To sum things up, we would like to hear Ivan’s opinion. A lot of people believe that this type of partnership, especially with an investor involved, is less profitable as they are afraid to let go of control over the company. As someone who has extensive experience in both partnerships and investment, how do you personally feel about it? Do you have any piece of advice for novice entrepreneurs?
The way I see it, the partnership is not about losing control. It’s quite the opposite. This is a chance for you to have a strong like-minded ally by your side. Someone who will be willing to grow the business with you, invest their resources, ideas, and connections into it. So, I believe the partnership is rather a way to enhance business and create synergy.
I, for one, run practically all of my businesses in partnership. This makes me stronger while ensuring faster business evolvement. However, you should be extra careful when picking the right partners. Their values and principles, along with capabilities must be in line with yours for the joint business to prosper. So, as an investor, I make sure to contribute more than just the money to every project I invest in. I use all available connections, team management experience, and ideas for business development.
When attracting partners or finding investors for your project, you should be on the lookout for strong experienced mentors who can help you develop a successful business model and address issues falling within their competence at each stage of business scaling. A person who will be able to properly guide you while giving you and your business a necessary boost. Someone who will help you reach your goals much faster with no major mishaps on the way.
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