Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:
In 2005, Larry Andreini approached two entertainment producers about a possible television show, but their meeting didn’t lead to a TV hit. Instead, the pair gave Andreini the concept that would become his next business: Ridemakerz, a do-it-yourself custom model car retailer.
At the time, the pair, Gillian MacKenzie and Jane Startz, had been hammering out an idea for a business, dubbing it Construct-A-Car. And although they thought it was a potential blockbuster, they needed help to execute a business plan, raise money, and recruit a team to translate the concept into a business. “The minute I saw it, I thought what a great idea,” recalls Andreini. “My immediate reaction was that I couldn’t believe someone hadn’t thought of this before.”
Actually, someone had. That someone was Maxine Clark, the founder and chief executive of the wildly successful Build-A-Bear Workshop, the St. Louis-based chain of customized-teddy-bear stores. Clark had come up with a similar toy auto concept in 2002, internally called “Build-A-Car” but had put the plans away to focus on running the company, which was experiencing double-digit growth.
Boys do not shop like girls. There was a real void in the market. Following a meeting with Clark, Ridemakerz went from 0 to 60 fairly quickly. Andreini and his investors raised about $5 million in seed money—including $700,000 from Build-A-Bear—and set about figuring out how to manufacture parts for the customizable model cars.
Photo by Ridemakerz.