A mechanical engineer from Australia “invented” an ordinary cycle called Troppo Bicycle and claimed it will be worth $5B in 2020. Where is he now?
In this world of self-made millionaires and so-called entrepreneurs, there was an Australian mechanical engineer who made a weird bicycle and was hopeful that he would sell so much that his company will be worth $5 billion in 5 years.
He is none other than Richard Ploszaj who came to Shark Tank Australia and asked for $5 million and offered 49% of a stake in his company, claiming their investment would be “risk-free.”
What is Troppo Bicycle?
Richard Ploszaj invented this weird bicycle and called it unique – he said that he has reinvented the whole concept of bicycles and everyone would go nuts when it comes to the market. According to Richard, his version of the bicycle was way more energy efficient and faster than the traditional models.
What’s unique about his Troppo Bicycle was that its pedals were different. Instead of going in a round, circular motion, he invented a pump pedal – you need to pump the pedal with your feet instead of rotating in a circular motion. (which is VERY confusing and can cause injury and muscle imbalance)
“The bicycle has not changed for 200 years and I’ve set myself a challenge believing that it could be made more efficient and enjoyable… I’m happy to say that I did succeed and I have my product approved” said Ploszaj. But approved from whom, Ploszaj did not say.
Richard Ploszaj’s Offer to the Sharks
As soon as Ploszaj was done presenting his troppo bicycle to the sharks, he seeks $5 million dollars offering 49% equity to his business. The best part about his offer was that he told the sharks that the investment was “100% financially secure, risk-free and the projected return is $5 billion by the year 2020.”
Needless to say, the Sharks were stunned to hear the word $5 billion and Richard was so sure of this return
Troppo Bicycle Will Win Tour de France
When the sharks heard about the 5 billion dollars projected return, they were curious how he plans to reach that number. According to Richard, his bikes will be sold and used in Tour de France and win the event which will skyrocket the sale of his unique invention.
The Sharks’ Response
At first, the sharks were stunned by his claims about the ROI and winning the tour de France. When they asked how he plans to achieve this big number, they come to find that he doesn’t even have a proper company and neither a manufacturing plant. He builds these cycles in his garage with absolutely no business plan.
When the sharks gave him a reality check, Richard was having none of it and claimed that he would succeed nonetheless. According to Richard, his bicycle was 100% efficient. Imagine a mechanical engineer claiming to have achieved 100% efficiency in his invention.
Richard Ploszaj’s “Business Plan” and Financial Strategy
In short words, Ploszaj had no actionable business plan at all. He was just relying on the mercy of fate that his product will eventually catch people’s attention and the sales will skyrocket. On the other hand, the mechanical engineer claimed that the sharks’ investment would be 100% risk-free, which is kinda sus.
When the sharks asked him how many bikes he had sold to date, the answer was shocking: 20 troppo bicycles. The funny part is that each bike cost him 2600 dollars and he sold it for the exact amount. No Profits!
The Sharks let him slide with this one too. When the topic came to their financial guarantee, Richard said the that government finances dollar per dollar. He said that the Sharks’ money will sit in the bank while the government will pay for the business. “It’s called FRAUD,” said the Sharks.
Why Was Troppo Bicycle FRAUD?
Richard asked them to explain why his business was a fraud. And boy did he get a response from the billionaire shark.
“Because it’s a dollar-for-dollar co-investment fund. You have to have a guaranteed fund from an investor. A guaranteed fund means that the investor can’t take the money back.”
What Happened to Troppo Bicycle?
After the Shark Tank episode in May 2016, we never saw Troppo Bicycle anywhere. Let alone winning the Tour de France, the bicycle wasn’t even eligible to participate in the event because of its design concerns.
Upon searching the internet and local stores, there is no company that exists by the name of Troppo Bicycles. It is safe to say that Richard was just a delusional mechanical engineer who was claiming to have reinvented the bicycle industry but in reality, his bicycle was just weird and cost a lot of money.
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