Today we’d like to introduce you to Adam Timmerberg.
Adam, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been riding motorcycles most of my life, and when I got into college at UC San Diego, their student parking was very limited (to put things nicely). Over the course of the first year, I realized that it regularly took 45 minutes or more to find a student parking spot on campus with my car, and sometimes I wasn’t able to find a student parking spot before class started (and sometimes ended), so I started commuting to school with my motorcycle. This quickly presented a big problem. How do you travel by motorcycle, wear safe motorcycle gear, and maintain a level of comfort/fun/flexibility that a student enjoys while being in college? Every morning I had to decide whether or not I wanted to be safe on my commute to campus or if I wanted to be comfortable throughout the day. There was no in-between. Motorcycle riders talk to each other a lot, and I kept asking other riders, “Where can I buy some comfortable, safe, and stylish motorcycle gear?” and no one had an answer.
So, I created my own system for safely commuting to campus on my motorcycle, which comprised of renting a locker on campus, and right after getting to campus, I would head straight for the locker to stash my motorcycle gear and swap out my motorcycle boots for normal shoes. This went on for the whole time I was in college. Fast forward to college graduation, and when I graduated, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I was going to start a motorcycle safety company that created gear for those of us who commute by motorcycle. There are a bunch of us who daily ride motorcycles to school and work. My company was going to focus on making the lives of riders who commute better. After graduating, the first thing I did was file patents for new technology that I always dreamed of creating (even before college), established the business, and began making my vision a reality. The good news is that in the past, I had started and ran other companies, and while at UC San Diego, I studied Electrical Engineering, Math, Economics, and Business.
The company is Integrated Tech Apparel, LLC, the brand is ROAME, and the patents were for new technology that made riders more visible while on the road. I knew that I wanted to redefine all motorcycle gear, but I also knew that it is important to focus and do a great job, so I had to choose a starting point. Introducing the ROAME Zeros, which are the first motorcycle shoe specifically designed for riders who commute and/or enjoy traveling by motorcycle, and then walking around after getting to their destination. In motorcycle riding, we always say, “It’s the journey, not the destination,” but after you get to your destination, the journey continues, now on foot. We wanted to make the ROAME Zeros as comfortable as possible while still making them safe. This was the greatest challenge. It is easy to make a safe shoe, a lot of companies are doing it, but you gotta ask yourself, “Are these shoes that I would enjoy walking around in after I get to where I am going?” The ROAME Zeros were created with this in mind. Our shoes are reinforced for impact protection under the surface using the latest high tech materials for impact protection. We have also used abrasion-resistant materials to protect against sliding, but we didn’t stop there.
One of the greatest challenges about commuting by motorcycles is that a lot of people in other vehicles are not paying attention. This is where our patented technology comes into play. When you get on your motorcycle and turn on your ROAME Zeros, our shoes wirelessly mimic the lighting system of your motorcycle. If you hit the brakes on your motorcycle, our shoes become wireless brake lights. When you are changing lanes, our shoes become wireless turn signals (this is very useful in traffic because you can activate your turn signal, stick your foot out, and the sea of cars just part. It is an amazing experience).
If your motorcycle has hazard lights, our shoes will become wireless hazard lights as well. (Also, for those wondering, no, they don’t have a party mode where they blink when you’re walking around, but if that is something you want, there is a different company that starts with “S,” which offers those). If you want to feel even more connected to your motorcycle than you already do, you have to try our shoes. The goal of ROAME is to make riders more visible on their commute, keep them safe, and let them be comfortable when the rider is not on their motorcycle riding. If our ROAME technology saves just one rider’s life, then I’ve done my job. We are planning on coming out with more shoe styles, different colorways that speak to different riding communities, and we fully intend to offer a full range of motorcycle gear including but not limited to jackets, pants, gloves, boots, etc. We are here to change the game!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The easy part about starting a company is filing the necessary documents to become a valid business. The rest is always the challenge of managing resources and staying on target. At ROAME, we decided to build our own wireless network as opposed to using Bluetooth or Wifi. There are many challenges with building a wireless network, including but not limited to designing the computer chips, building the software and firmware, getting the network up and running, and then getting it approved by government agencies such as the FCC and IC. We went with our own priority network because the existing wireless networks are crowded, and we wanted our ROAME technology to “just work” all the time, no matter how many motorcycle riders are riding together with our technology. By building our own network, we were able to be very specific with a motorcycle rider’s needs, such as allowing a rider to pair an unlimited number of ROAME enabled gear to one motorcycle.
If a rider has two pairs of ROAME Zeros, they can pair both to the same motorcycle at the same time. Just wake up, choose a pair of shoes, jump on your motorcycle, and ride. We made the pairing process easy, and ROAME enabled gear can be repaired as many times as you need if you have more than one motorcycle. Each motorcycle-only activates the gear paired to that motorcycle, so you don’t have to worry about hitting your turn signal and affecting your friends ROAME enabled gear. You can also pair a passenger’s set of ROAME Zeros (or future ROAME enabled gear) to your motorcycle if you want both you and your passenger to light up at the same time.
Another challenge of starting a business is managing teams and meeting deadlines. ROAME has many teams all over the world. We currently manufacture in four countries with a 5th country coming on board soon. Making sure everyone on a project is on the same page with open communication and transparency is crucial. If one team misses a deadline, it could easily cause another team to be delayed, and then this continues down the structure of teams like dominos. Being clear about deadlines, setting soft deadlines and hard deadlines, and having an open-door policy is important. This way, if there is a delay that we need to address, we can do it early and plan accordingly.
Managing foreign factories comes with a whole set of challenges, including language barriers and cultural differences. This, combined with making sure the supply chain is set up correctly, so every factory has what they need to produce at the right time is a challenge in the beginning, but once it is set up, it is a beautiful thing. With all of this, we are proud to deliver every pair of ROAME Zeros (and other products in the future) to each of our customers.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about ROAME – what should we know?
ROAME specializes in motorcycle gear designed for riders who commute. We currently offer the ROAME Zeros, which are the most advanced motorcycle shoes on the market with hidden impact protection, strategically placed abrasion resistance, and wireless electronics for increased rider visibility.
As a company, we are most proud of being able to deliver our motorcycle shoes to our customers. What sets ROAME apart is the collective intelligence across all teams, our ability to face challenges and conquer them in a timely manner, and our intellectual property.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Resilience, everything comes down to resilience and staying focused on the goal.
- Pair of ROAME Zero Motorcycle Shoes $149
- ROAME Vehicle Box (required for wireless electronics) $150
- Full ROAME Set (Including ROAME Zero Motorcycle Shoes and ROAME Vehicle Box) $299
- Website: www.ROAME.com
- Instagram: www.Instagram.com/ROAMEgear/
- Facebook: www.Facebook.com/ROAMEgear/
- Twitter: www.Twitter.com/ROAMEgear/
- Other: www.YouTube.com/watch?v=Z0UP73Fjpd8