ABHI ESWARAPPA, 28
Bike-urious, a Culver City online marketplace and review site for motorbikes
What led you to start your own business?
First, my father. He started a filter manufacturing company, so I grew up with the idea that having your own business was a possibility. Also, I love motorcycles and wanted a way to get more involved with the industry. This seemed like a low-risk way to do so.
Where did you get the startup money?
My operating costs are minimal, so I self-funded with income from my day job as chief operating officer of a medical documentation startup.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Time management. I’m trying to juggle a full-time job at a software startup, a part-time M.B.A. at UCLA and Bike-urious.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
Always take an opportunity to meet someone new, because you never know what may come of it. Last June, I joined a group of strangers for a ride out in the Santa Monica Mountains. That led to a chance encounter with Jay Leno, which has evolved into some great opportunities: Next month, I’ll be filming a segment for “Jay Leno’s Garage.”
How many hours a day do you put in?
Usually between two and five.
You’re younger than many peers in your industry. Is that a challenge?
If anything, it’s been helpful. Lots of industry experts feel that motorcycling is losing popularity with younger generations, so they’re very generous with their time and expertise when I seek advice.
Would you start another company?
Absolutely, but hopefully not for a while. I’d like to see the current ones through for the foreseeable future.
Could you ever work for someone else?
Yes, as long as I was inspired by that person and I loved what I was doing. Some of my best lessons have come from former bosses who have become mentors.
What do you do to unwind?
Take long trips on motorcycles. In the past, I’ve ridden to the southern tip of Baja and to the northern tip of Alaska. A few years ago, I rode from Canada to Mexico in less than 24 hours, just to see if I could.
– Howard Fine
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