Kevin Lestrade already has two appearances at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). But between his two stays at the fair in Las Vegas, 2019 and 2022, the founder of Bythewave made a radical change of course.
Focused on the general public when he started working in 2017, the former top surfer is now focused on professionals. With this goal in mind, Kevin Lestrade went to the Consumer Electric Show (CES) from January 5 to 7, 2022, to present a new “connected board” model whose on-board electronics are used to improve surfer performance monitoring. .
Become credible in the US market
As part of this new BtoB orientation, “the American show brings the credibility of our innovation and visibility with potential partners, ”explains a former biomechanics and robotics researcher from Arts et Métiers ParisTech.
The costs of the stand (around 5,000 euros) were paid equally by the Nouvelle Aquitaine region and Business France. The founder, who came with an associate, remained responsible for travel, accommodation and preparation costs, for a total of 15,000 euros. Discussions continued for three days with U.S. wave pool operators looking for high-performance boards. The first contracts should fall in the second quarter of 2022.
In the long run, licensing agreements could be entered into with international surfing brands to integrate sensors into equipment or provide electronic devices directly to those same companies. While the global surfing market is showing good prospects for growth, the start-up has set itself this goal: to achieve at least 50% of sales with American or ocean players.
Production and testing for other brands
From 2020, the young tricolor shoot has a 250 m² production workshop installed in Moliets (Landes), which produces about 300 connected panels per year, which is 160,000 euros turnover. To launch the first series, the Nouvelle Aquitaine region subsidized a local surf league that then ordered Bythewave boards.
“Mikrofabrika” also produces boards of Australian Giga Surfboards for the territory of France. An additional source of steady income for start-ups. To ensure the company’s sustainability, the installation is accompanied by an exhibition space and a surfing school. The young edition also acts as a “test lab” for international brands looking to gather accurate data on the performance of their equipment. The result, in two years,business balance Kevin Lestrade who hires 4 employees full-time work would be provided.
The original dream of designing a consumer product has passed. Five years ago, a surfer-entrepreneur designed an electronic box to attach to the front of a board. Thanks to the light signal, the device allowed the beginner to find out the ideal moment to get up. Alas, despite 250,000 euros from regional funds and business angels, profitability has never been in sight. Made in France, the case rested on a chain of several industrial tricolors. When these subcontractors were paid, the margins were insufficient to cover all fixed costs, starting with salaries. Bythewave could learn from this.