The financial structure of BEAT Cycling Club

Edwin Gulickx

In the coming weeks, founders Geert Broekhuizen and Edwin Gulickx will further explain the goals of BEAT Cycling Club. Why does the sport of cycling need such a club? What are our goals? What is the added value for you as a cyclist or a fan? But important issues such as the financial and legal structure will also be dealt with. In this blog post, we will provide some more explanation about the financial structure of BEAT Cycling Club.

Curiously, we’ve had hardly any questions from pioneers about our finances. On the one hand, that makes us happy; it seems we have earned our pioneers’ trust. On the other hand, it’s striking to us, because a cycling club can’t exist without a well-thought-out financial structure. Or maybe finances are just a boring subject? That’s why we’re taking the lead and giving you a little insight into our financial structure, how we paid for the start-up of BEAT Cycling Club and how we plan on paying future bills.

To begin, BEAT Cycling Club is an authentic club with the aim of permanently changing the sport of cycling. We are doing so by not choosing a traditional sponsorship model but instead setting up a club structure from which we are creating a professional team. Thanks to this sustainable approach to the sport of cycling, we can offer our fans, cyclists, partners and professional cycling teams more value.

BEAT Cycling Club’s founders are Geert Broekhuizen, Theo Maucher, Bobbie Traksel and RebelGroup, the company I work for. The start-up was financed by us; we provided both money and commitment. In addition, we have a number of valuable partners who took the risk of investing time in us. This can be seen as the first phase of our club, during which money, means, and a lot of our own and our partners’ working hours were necessary. Without those partners, whom we can’t pay yet but who work with us because they believe in BEAT Cycling Club, we couldn’t have started.

What do we spend our money on? In this first phase there are a number of up-front costs, including the legal founding of the club, trademark filing and communication costs. Things like printing, but also attending events such as Velofolies and six-day races. Then there’s the cost of organizing BEAT rides, the monthly brainstorm sessions and the procurement of BEAT jerseys, etc. We also have two people who receive a salary from us: Piotr Havik, our first contracted rider, and Sam Vinck, who is responsible for organizing the club, projects and events.

Right now, we’re leaving the first phase and entering the second. We’re growing fast and have launched our first webshop, although we still lack the critical mass to fully finance the club with that income. To finance this phase we are talking to a number of partners. We are convinced of the value of our idea and are working to make the added value clear to our partners. We are aiming to conclude the first deals with our partners before the summer.

What do we need money for? First, we have a number of projects waiting, such as our online “Cycling DNA” platform, which will help our members improve their cycling skills. A platform like this costs a lot of money, so we need investors. Then there are current expenses for communication, club events and salaries. As we previously outlined, the founders and partners invested a lot of time during the first phase without getting paid. We’re slowly moving on and making agreements on how we’ll continue and what compensation we can provide.

You may be wondering how our professional teams will be financed. Their finances are completely separate from those of the club. As we explained in our previous blog post, we can’t completely work without sponsors, but we don’t want to rely on just one major sponsor. We see many great advantages for sponsors to start a professional team with us in 2018. In our growth model we’d like to have partnerships with sponsors that don’t just want to invest in brand awareness but fit BEAT’s philosophy, and with whom we can develop new propositions that offer more value to both the members of the club and the partners.

Our ambition is to be able to support a sustainable professional team with one-third of our income from memberships, one-third from other sources (such as merchandising and events) and one-third from sponsors. In the current phase this is still a challenge, but we’re convinced we’re on the right track.

If you’re curious to know more about this subject, send me an email at edwin@beatcycling.club.