Alejandro Pons: Making Buying or Selling Pre-loved Bicycles as Easy, Affordable and Safe as Ordering a Pizza

Our mission is to redesign the bicycle industry in order to make buying or selling pre-loved bicycles as easy, affordable and safe as ordering a pizza.

Tell us about yourself?

I am industrial engineer with a entrepreneurship background. At 17 years old I created, a marketplace to exchange products and services with no money transactions, just barter. Obviously I made a lot of mistakes, but we got a pre-seed and seed financing round with some business angels. The project fall down because me and my partner opted to finish our college studies. After that, I joint Demium incubator to re-launch Truequear ending 2014. Then I met Ismael Labrador, mi co-founder on Tuvalum and I closed Truequear to launch Tuvalum.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

We tried to make buying or selling pre-owned and high quality bicycles as easy, affordable and safe as ordering a pizza online. Ending 2014 we noted secondhand market has no changed in last 40 years and most of marketplaces and seconhand mobile apps don’t offer security on payments, nore delivery and nore product condition verification.

Most of them are just a listings repository. On those days in Spain Milanuncios was the main classified marketplace website and Wallapop emerged as the big second-hand marketplace mobile app. We noted both -traditionals and new mobile apps- second-hand marketplaces were a nice solution to purchase a chair or sell a table in your city.

But… What if you want to purchase a carbon-frame-bike with electronic groupset valued more than 2.000 euros? Theese kind of marketplaces websites and mobile app didn’t secure the payments, nore the pick up and delivery and, of course, nore the condition of bike sold. So we decided to create a secure second-hand bicycle marketplace dedicated offering picking, supreme certified inspection and home shipping.

All bikes are inspected by our expert network before shipping to check if it matches the seller’s description and verify its condition. No more scams, no more stolen bikes sold, no more surprises. Tuvalum aims to be the Europe’s largest and most trusted resource for buying and selling quality pre-owned bicycles. We tried to create on bicycle second-hand market the same propose Airbnb did on vacational home rental.

What is your magic sauce?

We are zero surprises. All used bikes from private sellers are verified by our expert mechanics to ensure it is not a stolen bike and verify its condition. From the comfort of your couch with your mobile phone you can purchase the bicycle you really dreamed without the worries of buying used or second hand. 9 out of 10 customers rate our service as 5-star. Real reviews independently verified by Google Reviews.

Where do you see your company going in 5 years time?

Our vision is to create the next digital ecosystem for bicycle industry

What has been your biggest setback so far?

A lot. A couple of years ago we decided to translate our website from Spanish to five european languages because we wanted to grow on international sales. But we did not take into account the marketing and operative costs to scale sales cross-borders. So we decided to cancel that international strategy and focus in develop a new playbook to go ahead country by country. Last year we focused on French market and we got on 12 months the same sales we achieved on Spain in 5 years.

But probably or main setback so far was last year with COVID-19 situation. Spain was closed two months, with all people recluded in house and economy suffered a hugh time of uncertainty. We focused on reduce all cost at maximum in order to avoid staff lay-offs with no plan beyond survive the covid-19 wave. We decided eliminate our sale comission in all products listed by professional stores trying to help them to sell online what could not sell offline. That crisis situation torned a grow opportunity because a lot of bike stores registered on Tuvalum to sell their bikes online with as and we became a kind of Amazon for bicycle stores. We helped more than 600 bike stores to sell their products across Europe.

What is the next big challenge for your business?

Our next big challenge is to become the largets website on certified bicycles in Europe.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We want bikes stores and bicycle manufacturers to start collaborating with us. If you want to join Tuvalum’s marketplace don’t hesitate to email us to [email protected]

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