Startup of the month: Dropracks

Excellent engineering, a well-orchestrated business plan, and the ability to meet consumer needs resulted in Dropracks to be appointed as the startup of the month of May 2018.

May the hurdle light the way

— Dropracks is an invention that is different from other car racks. It allows the consumer to hoist down equipment from the roof of the vehicle to a reachable level, CEO and founder Helge Dimmen tells us.

He is a student at NTNU, and a former ski-enthusiast, who experienced obstacles on his ski-trips attempting to get his gear out of the roof of his vehicle. This resulted in a new invention which makes it easier to collect gear from the top of the car.

— It’s mechanics, really. Mechanical parts rotating and gliding serving as a unique construction which result in a much easier way to collect gear from the top of your car. This allows you to spend more time doing your activities instead of fiddling on the roof of your vehicle. Says Helge Dimmen, CEO, and founder of Dropracks.

Demonstrating the racks

Shortly after Dimmen has greeted me welcome at FAKTRY startup incubator, I get invited outside to see what Dropracks is capable of. With great enthusiasm, Dimmen explains how Dropracks can be used not only for ski-enthusiasts.

— It has been tested to withstand 150 kg. This allows people with other hobbies like for example kayaking or biking to use it, Dimmen says.

He continues to explain how it’s important to treat your sports equipment with care, especially if you actually care about your gear. For bikers, Dropracks does not only suit as proper for transportation. It also protects the bikes from high turbulence which you may experience when attaching the bikes on the back of the car.

Here is a video demonstrating how Dropracks works: 

Future business plans

Although Dropracks hasn’t made a lot of sales, Dimmen seem confident and optimistic about the future. They continuously develop the product and are planning to attend the world’s largest car equipment trade fair, Automechanika in Frankfurt. With a new, improved version of the rack, they hope to meet new clients.

Furthermore, Dimmen divides the market, in which they want to make their entry, into three main parts.

— The main market will at the beginning be a robust Droprack for commercial vans. From there we hope to make an entry to passenger automobiles, such as SUVs and station wagons, Dimmen explains.  

The third market segment will be overlanding vehicles, such as pickup trucks and off-road campers. This market is not so big in Norway, but large in the US and Australia.

Dropracks are going for licensing their patents and products to already existing market actors, so they self will determine where the product will be sold. But Dimmen believe that they will be sold at new car dealerships, and selected specialty stores. Dropracks is a premium roof rack. The new car dealerships are most suitable to sell such products, often as a part of a package together with a new car.

What is the slogan for Dropracks?

Mr. Dimmen has not found a slogan yet, but he playfully answers the question «Gear Up!».

— We have not found a proper slogan yet, but it will come soon.

For now, we get Dropracks key sales pitch: “Spend more time enjoying outdoor activities, and less time and hassle loading your equipment.”

Dimmen has had a lot of experience in starting up Dropracks. He says himself willing to share some key guidelines from the lessons he has learned on the way.

  1. Always try to recruit people who are smarter than yourself.
    It is crucial for the growth, production and, development of the startup business to have smart people on your team. You will never be the single smartest person in a business because great minds fulfill each other.
  2. Be extra careful with your IP-strategy.
    If you have a hardware startup, I strongly recommend spending some time and money on IPR strategists. Having the correct IPR Strategies are so much more than a yes/no answer to whether you should apply for a patent or not, and it pays off in the end.
  3. One should not be too dependent on consultants.
    Even though consultants are experts and a very important piece to puzzle up the business, they cost a lot of money and time. Therefore entrepreneurs should be aware of what the consultants are doing and how they are working. By doing so, the entrepreneur will be more in control of the project in terms of financials, production, and development.