29 minutes | Oct 26, 2020

Riding the Startup Wave with James Crook of Forty1 Kitesurfing

A lot of people dream about “one day” starting a business, but many of these dreamers find it hard to carve out the time to actually get the wheels turning. Whether it’s a demanding job, family obligations, a lack of capital, often all of the above, taking that first step isn’t easy. Making the decision to finally move on your startup plan requires drive and dedication, and it imposes a certain amount of risk. When do you know the time has finally come to take the leap?A common origin story theme for many startups is that the definitive decision to go for it is often made during times of transition. My guest today made the call to take his big leap after the company he was working for relocated overseas. He knew it was finally time to do something about that long-held dream. Today, we’re talking to James Crook, the Founder and Managing Director at Forty1 Kitesurfing. Crook comes from a mechanical engineering background and spent most of his free time on the water. He was a kitesurfer based in the UK who was looking for a way to make a lighter board that allowed the rider to surf out into shallow waters, which would decrease the learning curve for those who were giving it a try for the first time. By employing his engineering background, he was able to look at the particular mechanics of kite board design and come up with something completely new and innovative. In this episode, we’ll talk about how kitesurfing works and how Forty1 Kitesurfing got its start. We’ll also learn about the challenges that Crook faced in the early days of the business, and what he’s learned since its inception. Today’s episode will inspire anyone currently on their startup journey, and it’ll probably make you want to catch a few waves too! Some Questions I Ask:Where did the name Forty1 Kitesurfing come from? (1:27)Where did the idea for the product come from? (5:53)What was your design and validation process like? (6:44)How can entrepreneurs start to connect with universities? (13:15)How did you earn your award for design? (14:36)What investments did you make into hardware and software? (15:51)What advice do you have for entrepreneurs, based on your experiences? (25:51)What You’ll Learn in This Episode:A breakdown of how kitesurfing actually works (2:31)The problem that Forty1 Kitesurfing is solving for customers (3:02)Why focusing on a niche market is better than casting too wide of a net (4:26)How Crook made the leap from engineering to founding a startup (8:14)The biggest challenge from an engineer’s perspective (9:18)How to start growing your business and gain traction (11:47)Lessons learned through the experiences of customers (19:20)How COVID-19 has affected the industry (22:39)Connect with James Crook:FacebookInstagramWebsiteConnect with John Fox: LinkedInTwitter See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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