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Today you’re going to hear the story of FEIKE and Daniel Spiteri.
FEIKE is a business that helps get you home safely, the business has grown from an idea that Daniel had that he hoped would bring some quality of life for his family, to now a growing team, currently 3 team members, and helping to get over 1000 people home safely every year. Daniel’s vision is much larger than this though… We’ll learn about that but for now, let’s go back to day one, where this story begins…
So my name’s Daniel Spiteri, the business is called FEIKE and it’s just a local business where we pick up people who have been taking their car out, had too much to drink, we ride the bike over to them, fold it up, put it in the back of their car and then drive them and their car home.
Hi, I’m Adam Spencer and welcome to day one, the show that goes back to the very beginning, to share the untold stories of incredible regional startups and entrepreneurs.
Today you’re going to hear the story of FEIKE and Daniel Spiteri. FEIKE is a business that helps get you home safely, the business has grown from an idea that Daniel had that he hoped would bring some quality of life for his family, to now a growing team, currently 3 team members, and helping to get over 1000 people home safely every year. Daniel’s vision is much larger than this though… We’ll learn about that but for now, let’s go back to day one, where this story begins…
Oh, no one. I just thought I was gonna work in the mine my whole life. That’s just where I was going, yeah.
The story of FEIKE starts with Daniel being in a less than ideal place and wanting to provide a better quality of life for his family.
It’s a long story, but it goes back to me not liking what I was doing at the start. I’ve been kind of in the same job for 20 years and I had just had enough of it and I was searching for something else to bring back a bit of quality of life for my family so I pretty much went two years without really seeing my daughter. I’d wake up, go to work in the morning, come back at five in the afternoon, bring her back, cook dinner, put her to bed, that was seven o’clock, you know what I mean? And then I’d work half a day on Saturday. And then by the time Saturday lunch came you’re too tired to do anything, you’re at work because you wanna provide your family with stuff but all they wanna do is see you.
I was pretty much drinking a bottle of wine a night getting through work issues thinking that that was quite acceptable, you know?
This is a story of more than just starting a business. This is a story about a guy and his family totally reshaping their lives.
There is a book called Useful Beliefs. Have a listen to that, right at the end of that they say, “What do I have to do in one months time to say this is the best time of my life?” Are the changes you make today. In 12 months time for me to say this has been the best 12 months of my life are the changes you have to make today. And it’s so funny that I can say that now from 12 months ago.
Daniel starts thinking about a project to take on. There were two requirements they wanted the project to fulfil. Firstly, it needed to allow him to spend more time with his family. The second need came from a conversation with his wife…
I’ve got an insane amount of energy was the second one. My wife always says, ” Just get the hell out of the house and go and run or go and do something, you know? So I could work all day and still have all this energy to go all night so it was like, “okay, I need to do something active, what’s something active?”
(sfx wine glasses.)
“Daniel is at a dinner party and he discovers an idea that could fulfil both requirements. Daniel & his wife want to be able to have drinks and still get their car home. Throughout the course of that conversation, someone talks about a business operating in London that provides the exact service Daniel and his wife need in that moment.
One of us would always have to drive because we’d have the babies sitting in the back and they actually said, “Oh a guy actually does it in London.”
The business in London is a little different to what Daniel eventually decides to do. The London business uses a two-man crew, one driving the company car and the other driving the customer’s car. Daniel liked the idea and wanted to bring it to Newcastle, but running a car with two people is expensive, Daniel wanted to bring the price down to make it more affordable for the customer.
So I thought, well how do you bring that cost down? You can bring that cost down by being a one person rider, no car, no fuel, just the bike. Then you can pass that cost onto the consumer and it becomes an affordable product.
Daniel had his idea now, a business that he could potentially build a better lifestyle around. It was time to get started, and first things first…
Bought the bike, tested it out and just did a couple of runs with it and thought, “This is the go.” I did three months of riding around Newcastle, timed everything so I’d ride from here into Honeysuckle, fold the bike up, put it in the car, pretend I was talking to people on the way, drop the car off, pull it out, pay, ride back here, timed everything. Timed every single location and worked out a formula to go into the app so that then became the business.
Before Daniel went all in on the project, he asked around, to get the reaction of family and friends…
Well, it’s funny because a lot of family and close people would just say no, don’t do it. Of course, I thought it was genius, I thought it was unbelievable and then I think I finally… One of my mates finally said, Danny’s Genius, and I think that was the final trigger for me to say I’m gonna give this a crack. I think once I set my mind to it it was gonna happen, yeah.
So yeah, I went all in and had a crack.
Daniel now has the idea, an electric bike, that allows him to ride to the customer’s location. It’s a foldable bike, which allows him to fold it up and place it in the boot of the customer’s vehicle, and then because it’s a one-man crew, he is able to pass the reduced cost onto the customer. He has mapped out a variety of different runs around Newcastle. Timed and measured those runs to build an algorithm for an app. But before the business officially launches, the business needs a name…
It was hard, that was a three-month process to come up with FEIKE, the name.
I had my first name, Daniel, my wife’s name, Jackie and my daughter’s name, Florabella, so it was gonna be DJF. I was playing with initials and I’ve actually got my book in there with all the names I’d come up with and the last one I came up with was… I drew inspiration on a name that sticks out, you know what I mean? So look, Uber, it’s a weird name, no one really knows what it is, what is it? So the question is what is it, well you’ve got somebody engaged right away so that’s what I wanted. I wanted something completely different from the norm. It’s not you drink, we drive, you know what I mean? I wanted it just completely different so that it had its own brand.
So I came up with FIKE, like a foldable bike so that was F I K E, I wanted four letters short sharp, look good on the back of that and my wife came home and she just said, “Nah, Nah I don’t like it,” and she’s like, “You’ve gotta add something into it, it just looks like Nike, it looks too similar to that.” Then I was just like, “Oh, okay.” She’s like, “Why don’t you put F and E in there?” And I was just like foldable, electric, it works. So it’s foldable electric bike but you drop the B and that’s where I came up with FEIKE. A lot of people call it Fike’ey, but it’s FEIKE.
He had the bike, he had the name, he had the app. Now it was time to get the name out there…
Yeah, so it was a process. I did a video with a guy, Dave Pulham and we spent a bit of time on producing this minute and a half video and then I just pushed hard on social media with that around Newcastle.
And then I also did the drop-offs, so I went to every pub in Newcastle with flyers and spoke to every barman and went to all the lawyers, went to accountants, went to real estate agents and just walk the streets with flyers and just walking in and telling people this is a new service.
Selling your idea is hard, it can be a tricky thing. Because you don’t want to just spam people, but Daniel approached it in a very clever way by focusing on how he could help other businesses which helped him get over the awkwardness of giving a sales pitch…
Of course, it’s awkward because why does anyone want to talk to you? Why does anyone want to really help ya? But the people are amazing, the pub owners were so cool because I kind of approached it in a way that your customers can drink more, they don’t have to say, “I’m only having one and going home cause I’ve got my car here,” you can actually promote, ” Well you can have more because we can offer this service that’s gonna get you and your car home.” So you have to help, you can’t just go in there and say, “Oh, do this for me,” because why does anybody want to put time and effort into your business. That was the approach I had with it and they were all amazing.
So, what’s next for FEIKE? Daniel is doubling down on Newcastle, increasing marketing budget, implementing new strategies and studying what is working and what isn’t. The vision is to franchise the business to be able to help as many people get home safely that he and FEIKE can. But one thing is for sure, Daniel’s attitude really inspires me and I have no doubt that FEIKE is in good hands.
So again it goes back to just learning. You can say whatever you want but I’m there to just bog down and have a go. Might be two or three years, you never know but because it’s my first business, I have no idea. I have no data, I collect data every single ride, the time, the place, the age of the person, whether family and all that kind of information so I can actually build on where’s the market going, which direction is it heading. Newcastle’s going well, I’ve set the business up now that I’m ready to go Australia wide. So now the app’s ready to go, I’ve got me rider website.
One of the big takeaways I personally had from speaking with Daniel is his attitude, his mindset. And, mindset is a massive part of any founders story, because it can be really tough. It can be a very lonely journey and sometimes it can get the better of you if you aren’t prepared for the hard times.
I don’t know about give up, but there have been times where… Well, I’m a massive believer in failing. I believe that you shouldn’t just be gifted these things and you get help to do things, you get help to do that, you get help to do that, I believe you should try it, fail at it, learn and then you’ll grow. So you might go backwards 20 steps, not just one step, you might just keep failing, keep failing but when I fail I actually get excited now cause I know I’m gonna learn something and that goes right back to my apprenticeship days and to agents telling me never ever worry about stuffing up because then you learn. If you go through not failing, you haven’t learned anything cause you’re just copying what everyone else is doing or you’re just getting passed on information.
At the start of this episode, we spoke about a guy completely overhauling his life. Daniel has done that.
“Failure doesn’t hurt.” That’s my new mindset, it’s all shifting 18 months ago, 12 months ago, it’s a perspective on life that is completely different.
This isn’t just a story, as I mentioned, of someone starting a business from nothing. This is a story about life, about a man reshaping his life. Where business is just the vehicle to live the life he wants for himself and his family.
I was searching for something else to bring back a bit of quality of life for my family so I pretty much went two years without really seeing my daughter
And Daniel is well on his way to creating that life.
That’s where FEIKE’s going. FEIKE’s going wherever I want it to go. If it fails it’s because of me, if it gets big it’s because of me. You just gotta own whatever path it is, but you do your path that keeps you happy and the work-life balance I’ve got happening at the moment where I go to work at 7 o’clock at night when my daughter’s gone to bed, I can get up in the morning and be with them, I’m with em all day on the weekends and I just work in the evenings to it’s not… I’ve picked up like four extra days with my family during the day so it’s big for me.
Next time on the show Jade Ryan from Cake server… Cake server allows customers to create and modify their cake, and CakeServer creates a 3D model which then goes out to bakers in the local area.
You can be the biggest juiciest plumpest peach and they’ll still be some guy that doesn’t like peaches.
Thank you for listening to the story of FEIKE and Daniel Spiteri. I hope you enjoyed it. Everything that was mentioned in the episode today is on the show notes page on welcometodayone.com.
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And, Thank you so much for giving this episode of Welcome to Day One your attention, I really appreciate it.
This episode was created by me, Adam Spencer and Andy Jones
Interviews conducted by me, Adam Spencer.
A big thank you to Daniel Spiteri for taking the time and being involved.
The script was written by me, Adam Spencer & Andy Jones.
Music by Lee Rosevere, full attribution on our website welcometodayone.com
This episode was produced by me, Adam Spencer and mixed by Andy Jones.
Thank you for listening and see you next time.
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A big thank you to Daniel Spiteri for taking the time to be involved in this episode.
Music by Lee Rosevere.
Title: Let’s Start at the Beginning
Source: Let’s Start at the Beginning
Licence: CC BY 4.0