Inventing search engines before Google: Innovating ahead of the curve with Cooler King E-Bikes founder

Episode Description

Paul Myers, the innovative entrepreneur behind Cooler King Electric Bicycles, shares  his incredible journey through entrepreneurship so far.

A man with a remarkable knack for spotting gaps in the market, Paul came up with Europe's first internet search engine pre-Google, ran the first music download service ahead of Spotify, and worked with Universal Pictures on the very first movie downloads.

A self-confessed busies addict, we delve into his fascinating catalogue of endeavours, and talk through his pivot from the tech world to product based business owner.

Join me as I pick his brain to discover how he spots consumer trends ahead of the curve, and get his top tips for spotting new business concepts before others do.  From pioneering an early music subscription service to launching a successful London Tube map app are nothing short of a masterclass in seizing opportunities and understanding market shifts.

We also discuss what it takes to build a cult product based brand and take it global, from the joy of creating a community of avid riders to facing the gritty realities of shipping and distribution, his experiences illustrate what it truly takes to steer a business to success.

Episode Transcript

When Paul Myers, the innovative force behind Cooler King Electric Bikes, decided to turn down a multimillion-euro offer for his tech startup before Google became a household name, he set the stage for a journey that is as inspiring as it is instructive. His story, punctuated by the highs and lows of entrepreneurship, is not just about the road taken, but also the roads not taken.

Rejecting a lucrative deal can seem counterintuitive to many, but for Myers, it was a decision rooted in a belief that his venture was worth much more. This belief underscores the essence of entrepreneurship – the unshakable confidence in one's vision and the unwavering commitment to see it through, even in the face of enticing short-term gains.

The entrepreneurial journey is not for everyone, and Myers' experience serves as a testament to the passion and perseverance required to succeed. His story unfolds, with each venture, from an early music subscription service to a highly successful London Tube map app, contributing as unique marks to his entrepreneurial journey. It's a tale that not only inspires but educates, offering invaluable lessons on seizing opportunities, understanding market shifts, and the art of timing in business exits.

In a candid exchange, Myers opens up about the missteps and missed chances that have shaped his path. His early involvement with a music subscription service, which was a precursor to today's streaming giants, and the subsequent rejection of a buyout offer, highlight the importance of foresight in the tech industry. This episode is not just a reflection on what has been but a masterclass in navigating the ever-evolving terrain of technology.

Perhaps the most relatable and captivating aspect of Myers journey is the accidental birth of Cooler King eBikes. The creation of a unique brand of e-bikes came not from a calculated business plan but a personal dissatisfaction with the existing options. This relatability is key to the success of the brand and speaks to the organic nature of some of the most impactful business ideas.

Myers' hands-on approach to customer engagement, particularly through pop-up shops, and the logistics of the e-bike industry, are further proof that success in business is not just about a great idea. It's about the meticulous attention to the mechanics of running a business – from production to distribution – and the ability to adapt and innovate while staying true to core values.

In sharing his narrative, Myers provides a blueprint for budding entrepreneurs and seasoned business professionals alike. It's a narrative that doesn't shy away from the gritty realities of shipping and distribution or the joy of creating a community of avid riders. It's a story of a business not just built but lived, a testament to the journey of entrepreneurship as much as the destination.

Biro Florin - host of the Misfit Founders podcast, startup founder and angel investor

Biro Florin

Entrepreneur & Podcaster

Biro is a founder, investor and podcast host. He invests and mentors several early stage startups.

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