Jun 19, 2023
Meet The Young Entrepreneur Riding High In The Motocross Business
Ryan Amoils Every generation has had its share of successful young entrepreneurs; now, it's the turn of Gen Z, launching innovative startups from their bedrooms and transitioning to the boardroom.
Every generation has had its share of successful young entrepreneurs; now, it's the turn of Gen Z, launching innovative startups from their bedrooms and transitioning to the boardroom.
Buying and selling is something that Ryan Amoils has been doing since high school. His passion for dirt bike riding goes back even further, to the tender age of four. Combining the two sparked the idea for MX Locker, the P2P marketplace for buying and selling motocross riding gear, bike parts, and dirt bikes that he launched straight out of college.
Amoils says: “I was always fascinated by buying and selling, especially e-commerce, and being able to reach customers worldwide. At school, I sold everything from sneakers to snapback hats; I was always at the post office shipping out boxes. That ended when my parents stopped me selling sneakers almost full time and made me focus on getting into college.”
He went on to study marketing at the University of Florida but never gave up on his entrepreneurial ambitions. Still a serious dirt bike rider, he knew from personal experience how expensive the gear and equipment could be, so he decided to apply what he had learned from selling sneakers and apply it to the dirt bike industry.
He says: “My dad would never buy me the top pair of bike boots, so I made it my goal to get one. I knew that companies sponsored many top athletes in this industry, who got to keep their gear at the end of the season, and would then sell it. As I did with sneakers, I would scour eBay for opportunities to buy in bulk and sell two or three sets for a profit, which covered the cost of keeping a set for myself. It made me realize there was a large market for this, and the idea for MX Locker was born.”
On graduating from college in 2020, Amoils’ parents gave him a year to make his fledgling business work or find a job. He teamed up with his college friend and computer science graduate Andrew Samole and, together, built a new e-commerce platform. The following year they launched MX Locker.
The biggest challenge in their startup journey, says Amoils, was hacking supply and demand. “Sellers aren't going to sell on your platform if you don’t have enough traffic, and buyers aren't going to find your platform if you don’t have enough sellers,” he says. “What helped was that we had our own supply, albeit a pretty small one of around 200 items.”
They knew their business had traction when it started earning $100,000 a month. Samole joined the business full-time, and within two years, MX Locker’s user numbers had grown from 7,000 to the current 160,000. Registration for sellers is free, and revenue is generated by taking 11% from each sale.
A lack of experience in running a marketplace was another challenge. “All I had was a basic knowledge of how money should flow between users, how a checkout process should work, and how the selling process should work as a seller,” says Amoils. “Perfecting the model has involved a lot of learnings this past couple of years. Fundamentally it’s about listening to our customers, getting their feedback, and then building tools that enable them to create their own mini website within our platform to succeed online.”
The business was entirely bootstrapped until last year when Amoils raised a pre-seed round of $750,000 with the help of family, friends and business angels. He has his sights set on venture capital for their next funding round.
With the global off-road motorcycle market valued at $103.53 billion in 2022 and expected to reach $151.80 billion by 2030, MX Locker is moving into a new growth phase. The business has a team of six and an increasingly global community, with users in the U.S., Europe and the Far East. New projects include shipments of dirt bikes sold via the marketplace and expansion into crossover markets.
“Our users aren't just into their bike riding; they're into many other sports,” says Amoils. “Given the marketplace, we have created, it makes sense for us to expand into some of these crossover industries.”
In as much as Amoils’ entrepreneurial success has been very self-driven, he has rallied support from a legend of the bike riding business, Jeff Emig. One of the top AMA Motocross and Supercross riders of the 1990s, Emig has partnered with the industry’s top brands for decades as a racer, ambassador and influencer, making him an ideal mentor and advisor for Amoils.
Emig says: “MX Locker fills a massive void in the circular chain of motocross products. For decades, people have had limited options for selling goods, used apparel, parts and motorcycles. Far too many have their shops and garages full of good stuff that other consumers want, only for it to end up collecting dust. MX Locker is a cutting-edge online marketplace created and run by MX riders who know the space inside and out. I have no doubt that under Ryan’s leadership, MX Locker will become one of the most important consumer retail businesses in the motocross industry around the globe.”
Meanwhile, Amoils’ best advice to other youngsters with ambitions to launch a successful business is to be bold and unafraid of taking risks. He says: “It's tough, but you must be prepared to take the risk. When you have a clear vision, you have to focus on it, but first, you have to put something out there to consumers and the world to ensure it will work.”