DropGlobal is a sport and lifestyle brand designed to promote action sports such as surfing, skating and snowboarding that continue to gain popularity across the globe.
It’s also a mobile platform for athletes to connect and share information. Utilizing interactive map technology, DropGlobal is committed to fostering a global action sport community and supporting active lifestyles by designing innovative athletic apparel.
Product quality, durability and functionality are important. So is input from a literally active community, and that’s what sets DropGlobal apart. The team are all athletes themselves and actively engage with athletes of similar interests, which is what enables DropGlobal to gauge consumer demand and maintain a contemporary outlook on street fashion. Skilled athletes test the merchandise daily, and make suggestions to enhance both existing and future product lines.
And redefining active wear.
Co-founder (and surfer) Brian Valero (‘12CC) tells us about his company – and the perfect place to catch a wave or find the perfect powder in and around New York.
Tell us about the product.
DropGlobal is a specialized action sport media and apparel brand. Utilizing interactive map technology, DropGlobal is developing an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables registered members to create a profile, locate spots, follow users and share real-time geo-tagged pictures and videos of their action sport experiences.
Complementary to the social network, DropGlobal designs functional apparel for action sports including t-shirts, hats, skateboards, boardshorts and bags.
How is it different?
DropGlobal’s social network is unique in the sense that it is content specialized and combines the various segments of action sports into one all-encompassing interactive map. Our software allows users to build a custom map of geo-tagged media, connect with local businesses, stay current with industry news, and interact with fellow members of the action sport community.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
DropGlobal is targeting the estimated 30+ million U.S. and 80+ million global social network participants who are classified as having an interest in action sports. Our focus is on the Millenials who, collectively, represent close to 60% of U.S. action sport consumers and yield the highest U.S. social network participation rates.
Although DropGlobal emphasizes board sports such as surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding, the platform is designed to attract fans and participants of all adventure sports, including hunting and fishing. With the emergence of GoPro cameras as a popular tool for capturing action footage, DropGlobal aims to be the main media outlet for this type of media.
What inspired the business?
Surfers and boarders are passionate at their craft and view this industry as a lifestyle, which is why action sport brands create such an influential relationship with each of their fans. As constituents of the boarder community ourselves, we wanted to create a mobile platform that makes it easy for people to locate spots, share media and connect with other members of the community. Cultivated in Florida and inspired in New York, DropGlobal was created with the vision of connecting action sport enthusiasts and promoting the hobbies that make us family.
The name DropGlobal pertains to global board sports in the sense that the term “drop” is universally used in surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding to describe the action of “dropping” your board onto a wave, ramp or mountain. Global, of course, represents the geographical positioning of the constituents who make up the action sport world.
What is the business model?
The team seeks to leverage critical mass on its platform to develop a business model consisting of apparel sales, digital display and video advertisements as well as monthly premium app subscriptions.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Upcoming milestones include raising a seed round of capital, completing the development of the mobile application and accelerating brand marketing campaigns.
Tell us about your experience with the Columbia Startup Lab thus far and your decision to apply.
The Columbia Startup Lab has increased our exposure and given us access to some of the most influential members of New York City’s venture community. We are excited about the opportunity to remain part of the Columbia family following graduation. There’s a lot that we can learn from the talented individuals in the work space and the WeWork community as a whole.
The timing was right for us to apply. We feel as if there are many untapped resources and networking opportunities within the Columbia community that can help propel us forward.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the New York community who would it be and why?
We’re interested in meeting with early-stage investors who can provide resources that help scale the business. An ideal investor would be a former entrepreneur who is interested in action sports and has familiarity with the social networking model. Given the niche nature of our market, it is important to align interests with capital.
Why are you launching your business in New York?
Although people typically associate lifestyle brands with California, we feel as if basing DropGlobal in New York is a distinctive characteristic for us. Growing up in Florida and witnessing the growth of the East Coast surf and skate community over the years has inspired us to increase action sport awareness and demonstrate to people that action sports are taking place all over the world.
As recent graduates of Columbia, we felt comfortable with NYC and realize that there are a tremendous amount of business development opportunities within our existing networks.
What are some places where New Yorkers can engage in action sports near the city?
Surfers can head out east to Long Island or South to the New Jersey shore to experience good surf. The fall and winter swells are typically more conducive to surfing, as the waves tend to break bigger. Overcome the temperature barrier and you’ll be rewarded with perfect and consistently un-crowded surf. Both Rockaway Beach and Long Beach are options that are easily commutable by NYC subway.
New York City’s terrain makes skateboarding the friendliest of all sports, in terms of proximity. Skateboarders can skate along the West Side Highway at Chelsea Piers and Tribeca Skate Parks. Popular skate spots along the East Side and Brooklyn include the Lower East Side and Brooklyn Bridge Skate Parks. Not to mention the hundreds of other spots around the five boroughs…
Skiers and snowboarders can make their way out to upstate New York, Vermont, and New Jersey to find powder. Mountain Creek in NJ is probably the shortest commute, which makes for great day trips. Some of the larger, more challenging mountains include Mt. Snow and Mt. Killington in Vermont, as well as the Olympic slopes of Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, NY.