COCHRANE— Cochrane-based cycling company 4iiii Innovations Inc. has seen a boom during the pandemic.
The company capped of a successful year with the announcement they would be renewing their partnership with international cycling team Israel Start-Up Nation and will be supplying the team with the equipment they need to train effectively.
Israel Start-Up Nation is a 32-man team boasting members from 17 different nations, including four members from Canada.
The team recently acquired British cycling superstar, Chris Froome, which could lead to big possibilities for Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021, including being a serious contender to win the Tour de France.
“They really went all in just to sign some of the best riders in the Tour— They’re definitely serious about being a contender for the tour this year,” said Shane Pegg, the director of brand at 4iiii Innovations Inc. “Last year the expectations weren’t necessarily there to win the Tour, they didn’t have any superstar. But now, bringing Chris Froome on board, these guys are out to bring home some hardware.”
Froome has won seven Grand Tours— Four editions of the Tour de France, one Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España twice.
In 2020, Israel Start-Up Nation member Dan Martin won the third stage of the Vuelta a España and placed fourth overall in the general classification of the tour.
4iiii Innovations Inc. also signed a partnership with Canyon Bicycles and Cervelo Cycles, two prominent bicycle manufacturers.
Pegg said, for the small Cochrane-based company, the partnership with an internationally competitive team validates the hard work they have put into developing their company and products.
“It’s just a good validation for us,” he said. “The fact that we’re partnering with these big OEM partners and on [Israel Start-Up Nation], it just helps with that brand validation.”
The company manufactures and sells gadgets and equipment, like heart rate monitors, power meters, trainers and more, meant to aid an athlete’s training by providing them valuable data about their output.
Pegg said although the pandemic was not without challenges, it has been overall positive for the company.
In a year where so many businesses struggled to stay afloat, 4iiii Innovations Inc. struggled to keep up with demand.
It was characteristic of the industry as a whole, which experienced major growth in the past year leading to service backups and shortages of products.
Pegg said several dealers he has spoken with over the last year reported double and triple sales in some cases.
“Back in March, when COVID started hitting, we could see the world slowing down and we could see our sales started to decline. April hit and we did a couple of tweaks, a couple of promotional tweaks, on our side but it timed perfectly with COVID. Everyone realized ‘oh man, the gyms are shut down, I’m going to go outside biking,’” Pegg said.
When the pandemic hit and restrictions were put into place 4iiii shut down its office space and sent the staff home. Soon after, that empty space found new life.
“It’s been crazy. We sent all of the office staff home and we turned all of our office space into manufacturing space,” he said. “We’re doing as much there as at our Taiwanese factory that we own.”
Pegg said with the second manufacturing space the company multiplied its production by eight times.
Seeing the struggle that others are facing during the pandemic, Pegg said, makes him feel very fortunate about their situation.
“We’ve been very fortunate to be able to continue running, and to be part of the market— It’s thriving right now in the cycling world,” he said.
Being based in Cochrane, with its vibrant cycling community and the plethora of ridable terrain is another big contributor to the company’s success in a number of different ways.
The loyal following and support of the cycling community have been huge, Pegg said, and have given the company ample opportunities to connect with people on various teams and at different bike shops in the area.
Because the employees of the company are enthusiastic cyclists, the connections they formed with the cycling community have been very organic, he said.
“We do our own testing and we get people testing our products for us. It’s easy to get local testers of our power meters because people are out riding,” he said. “There’s no shortage of people to help us out on that side.”
After a successful year as a company, Pegg said the plan is to continue to build that momentum and establish an international presence.
“We’re continuing to take advantage of this huge boom in the cycling market to grow our presence around the world. We’ve got partnerships that we’ve announced with Cervelo and Canyon, and so I’d say stay tuned. We’ve got more announcements continuing to happen,” he said.