I started and exited (sold) what started as a subscription based service, but in a completely different space (energy). Here is some feedback I learned in the 5 years it took me to build and sell my company since I imagine you'll run into a lot of the same problems we had.
1. What is the value prop to the consumer?
2. What is the value prop to the start-ups?
3. How did you arrive at $27?
4. Have you tested the concept of people paying for the service?
My overall feedback:
- It feels like you have two consumer value props:
1. Discovery - Help me discover new gear from up and coming companies
2. Financial - If I buy a lot of outdoor gear I'll make up the subscription cost with the discount on gear.
It is really hard to go to market with two value props. I would talk with customers(what you're doing right now) and really focus on nailing the value prop that resonates with them.
- I think there is a gap here to build the Product Hunt, but for outdoor gear.
- Community will be a big piece of this, you need to let people stoked on early outdoor gear communicate somehow.
- I'm skeptical that a subscription service where consumers pay you is the best business model. I think the friction you'll see from charging people to get discounts later will prove tough. As an angel investor I've seen a few pay first discount later companies struggle with early traction.
- It seems like ski companies would pay you $27 for bringing them a $400-500 sale.
- Read this article about how PH built there community http://cmxhub.com/product-hunt-hooked-community-habit/
- We started as a subscription based company ($30/month) for a $400/month service we were managing, but in the end we switched to a scrape model where we took a portion of the sale we delivered to the company. It may not make sense for you, but you need to test your assumptions. We ended up selling to a public company once we proved the business model worked and we were very profitable at the time which is saying something for a 2012 early stage tech co.
Best of luck and feel free to ask any questions you may have