If you think most smart apps are created by faceless Silicon Valley tech giants and IT geeks, think again. Wolf Pack app, an application that combines route planning, navigation, and group ride organizing was founded by Jonathan Chashper, an Israeli, now East Coast native who is an avid motorcyclist and traveler. Having moved to the US fourteen years ago, Jonathan finally realized his lifelong dream of getting his motorcycle license and started riding on a Kawasaki Vulcan 900.
“I remember going to a Harley dealership and asking for an 800-900 CC bike. The sales guy just looked at me and asked, “why are you looking for a girl’s bike?”. I found it funny at the time – back in Israel, anything above 500cc is considered a big bike, whereas here in the US, anything below 1000cc is “small”. I loved the Vulcan, though – it felt like that bike was simply built for me”, Jonathan remembers.
Eventually, he swapped the Vulcan for an Indian Chief Vintage (1800cc) and started taking longer rides. “I don’t commute on a bike because, in our area, lane-splitting isn’t allowed, so it doesn’t really make much sense. I love my weekend rides and road trips, though – I’ve ridden Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Parkway, Tail of the Dragon, Sturgis, Central Texas Rally (and many others) and I was hoping to attend a lot more rallies and motorcycle events this year”, Jonathan shared.
The Birth of Wolf Pack
During one of those rides with friends, Jonathan got separated from the group. “We were going on a group ride together, but not everyone had downloaded the route and not everyone knew exactly where we were going, and at some point, I got lost. It took a while to find my group and it was really frustrating because the ride had become chaotic, and as I was riding home afterward, I was thinking that surely in this day and age, there’s got to be a solution for organizing group rides and keeping everyone together. There wasn’t. That’s when I came up with the idea of Wolf Pack”, Jonathan explained.
Wolf Pack is an app that allows you to create a “pack” – a group of motorcyclists you ride with, and then, once the pack is created, you can easily design routes and share them with every rider in the pack with just one tap. The true magic of Wolf Pack is the ride itself, however: as a rider in the pack, you can see all other riders in your pack right on your screen radar.
This way, everyone always knows where everyone is in real-time; and to top it off, there’s an easy four-message communication system you can access with a tap on the screen and let everyone know you want to pull over, fuel up, or take a break.
“I came up with the idea in 2012, and it took a while to work out what I was trying to achieve and to get the funds to start the project. In 2016, we released the first version of Wolf Pack, improved it a lot in 2018, and finally this year, we’ve got the final version full of useful features such as recording your tracks, an in-app messenger to communicate easily within the pack, and Wolf Pack Central that’s aimed at tour organizers and club riding where you can have complete trip itineraries, routes, and waypoints that can be easily shared with everyone”, Jonathan said.
Challenges and Rewards of Creating Moto-Tech
“The hardest part when you’re developing a product is building the right product for the right market. Some people just want to ride solo, others prefer finding riding buddies and ride in groups. So we made the users and Wolf Packs invisible to others, but if you prefer riding together, you can be discovered and you can find other Wolf Pack users. The really cool thing for me was to meet other motorcycle riders, and I don’t need to tell you we’re not like Wild Hogs or Sons of Anarchy – we’re neither, we’re a global club of riders. Whenever I meet riders, doesn’t matter where, which state, or what they’re riding, everyone’s helpful and friendly and that’s why I’m so excited to be building this community”.
What’s the most rewarding part of my job? Going to motorcycle shows. It’s funny how Wolf Pack combines my biggest passions: technology and riding. When you’re at an event like Sturgis, it’s not just the cool riding, awesome people, and great atmosphere, but you can also see them excited about new tech, it’s amazing to see people having a lightbulb moment when they see our radar feature, and this is really awesome. Every motorcycle rider thinks they’re unique, but it’s really funny how similar we actually are”.
According to Jonathan, Wolf Pack can be used on any bike and any phone, and the connectivity between devices is really easy. However, developing Wolf Pack wasn’t a straight trajectory, and there were some challenges along the way.
“I guess my advice to someone who is hoping to be the next tech entrepreneur is this: if you wake up one morning and have this great idea and think, I’ll go build it, make sure that people actually want it. Before you put the time, the money, and the energy in it, ask people ( not your mom or your friend, who will be biased) who understand the market, whether the idea is good. Do your research, because although the idea sounds great to you, it doesn’t mean people will think the same.
We’ve invested three-quarters of a million into Wolf Pack, and it’s a commitment. If you’re willing to make this commitment, make sure there is a market for it, otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure”, Jonathan shared.
Interested in Wolf Pack? Take a look at their app, and for ADV Rider inmates, Jonathan is offering a free wolf Pack bandanna to be shipped anywhere in the US: