Bicycle Academy turns to future punters to secure setting-up cash; popularity surpasses expectation to be 80% funded in 48hrs

Crowd funding comes to the cycle industry

The bicycle trade has seen the foundation of its first crowd-funded business – the Bicycle Academy.

Teaching frame building skills to students, the Bicycle Academy started with no funds of its own and turned to crowd funding site where it sought contributions from members of the public.

In return, contributors received ‘rewards’ including a place on one of the courses, which will be led by Brian Curtis, when it opens its doors in February.

While it is still accepting pledges, the Bicycle Academy has already hit its funding target, at a speed that exceeded expectation.

“We were 80 per cent funded in the within 48 hours,” founder Andrew Denham told BikeBiz.

“­As far as I know, we are the first crowd-funded bicycle business in the UK.

“The pledges all get a valuable return. They are not a donation – there’s a tangible outcome.”

Contributors pledging £500 pre-bought a place on one of the first courses before they became available to anyone else. Smaller pledges from £20 will also see rewards.

Each of the frames built at the course, which is aimed at hobbyists, will be donated to the Recycle charity, which takes bicycles to locations in Africa, where bikes provide essential and relatively quick transport to food, water, work or education.

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