STRIDER SPORTS INTERNATIONAL “At Strider,we build bikes that teach kids to ride,”explained founder Ryan McFarland, who built his first balance bike for his two-year old son. With a passion for motor sports and teaching young kids to ride, McFarland turned his creation into a business in 2007. His pedal- less strider bikes are designed to fit children between 2 and 5 years of age and to teach them the fundamentals of riding on two wheels. McFarland explained that the simple, focused approach of balancing before pedaling lets kids progress at a much faster pace, typically enabling them to ride a two-wheeler 2 years earlier than with tricycles and training wheels. Strider Sports is headquartered in McFarland’s hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota. With distributors in 25 countries around the world and manufacturing based in Asia, the small business has an extensive international presence. International customers account for over 50 percent of Strider Sports annual sales. “Without the internet, our business would not exist,” said McFarland. He said that, were it not for the opportunity to reach the rest of the world through websites and social media channels, he would not have considered turning his hobby into an actual business. The internet allows the Rapid City based company to sell products, share documents, communicate with partners and customers, and receive payment from countries around the globe. Social media, what McFarland calls “modern word-of-mouth,” and mobile-friendly websites are imperative for the company’s marketing efforts. The company hired dedicated staff in their headquarters in South Dakota to work on outreach and content via online channels including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr. The company has used other technology-based tools to handle shipping and logistics, including platforms from FedEx and UPS. “These companies have some freight financing programs that can be helpful when moving large amounts of product by ocean carrier,” said McFarland. SPORTING GOODS | 42 EMPLOYEES | FOUNDED IN 2007 32 Global Innovation Forum