Skateboards are the all-time coolest thing for every generation of people. And when it comes to electric boards, it becomes even cooler. Didn’t you see Casey Neistat’s ALADDIN MAGIC CARPET PRANK? What a cool prank that was, and nobody could think that carpet was actually run by an electric skateboard. Every person who watched Jesse flying on the streets of New York asked what he was riding.
It was so easy and smooth to ride that people were too curious to know about the brand and wondered why they didn’t know about that. That was none other than Boosted, a company that is well known for its electric skateboards. And with Casey Neistat, many other popular YouTubers like- Marques Brownlee, Sam Sheffer, and Matti Haapoja had also reviewed the Boosted Boards, which eventually created a craze for Boosted in skateboard lovers.
The idea of these electric skateboards was really amazing and well-accepted for those times that Boosted got many investments and backups to become an apple of electric skateboards. And with multi-million capital, they have become a popular brand in the skateboard industry. But unfortunately, these wonderful boosted boards are now going out of business, and people are going to be deprived of these revolutionary skateboards soon. Wondering why? Let’s check out.
Innovation of Electric Skateboard
It all started in the late ’40s, and 50’s when the very first skateboard was invented. Who invented it? No one knows! But it was sure that these “sidewalk surfers” were mostly invented by the California wave riders who were looking for a way to surf on land in slow waves.
And that early sidewalk surfer made with metal roller skates and planks of wood is today’s stylish skateboards that are used as fast personal transport vehicles. Fast because it comes with electric motors nowadays, which increase the personal commute speed to another level.
However, you will be surprised to know that the first motorized skateboards were not powered by rechargeable batteries or electric motors. On the contrary, it was fueled by gasoline, and whoever was interested in motorized skateboards used to make it in their own garage. DIY facts!
But this era of DIY was about to end in 1975 by a man from Berkeley, California. Jim Rugroden! A man who created a two-stroke motor board that runs on urethane wheels and gasoline. However, this prototype of Jim Rugroden caught the eye of Bill Posey, an onlooking entrepreneur, and decided to mass-produce the skateboards under the company MotoBoard International.
For the first time in history, motorized skateboards came on the market for sale. And Motoboard even was the first who switch out the old hard steel skate wheels with polyurethane ones. But their revolutionary start was about to end very fast as the state of California made the decision to ban gasoline-fueled skateboards in 1977. After that, a few skateboard enthusiasts again looked for ways to motorize their skateboards but failed. Finally, in 1999, another skateboard revolution came off. Louis Finkle, also known as Electric Louis, filed a patent in California for his wireless, electric skateboard design, which he created in 1997.
In his design, Louis decided to merge the long-board, motor, and wireless remote into one entity. Those wireless remotes used to work when the rider’s trigger finger came into contact with a metal strip and transferred a low-frequency signal to the feet to the boards’ receiver. With that, the Frikle’s board used to propel and hit speeds up to 22 miles per hour in only 4 seconds. Cool right? But sadly, not everyone got the chance to ride those wireless skates as Frikle charged $995 for each of his boards. But in just a few years, things were about to change. A technology was developed in 2004 where rechargeable batteries could transport an adult rider securely and efficiently.
This was the technology that had written the future of Kickstarter’s two rising companies, Boosted and Marble. Both companies took part in creating the new generation of electric skateboards and got a huge investment from hundreds of backers. But the one name that had taken the hearts of skateboard enthusiasts at that time was Boosted!
Rise of Boosted
The idea of creating Boosted came out of the minds of three Stanford grads, Sanjay Dastoor, Matthew Tran, and John Ulmen. They wanted to create an electric skateboard that would be portable, lightweight, and easy to use.
That was so incredible and well-conceived at that time that they got backed with the Stanford incubator program in 2012. After that, they also announced a Kickstarter campaign for Boosted Boards and set the goal at $100,000. That campaign was a resounding success and reached its goal in just 24 hours, garnering nearly $500,000. And with that, they also graduated from the Y-Combinator program and gathered more investment for their Boosted Skates.
Now, as they had so many investments and admiration for their e-board idea, it was the Stan Grads’ time to stand on the people’s expectations. And without letting anyone down, Boosted launched its first three products, the single, the dual, and the dual+ boards, in 2014. The Dual plus boards were the original models of boosted boards, and the single and dual ones were the upgraded version. Those models had one or two motors under the deck and varied in range, power, and of course, price.
Though the boards were charging near $1000, people still bought boosted and loved the outstanding quality and attention to detail. It was an immediate success for Boosted at the start and got a cult-like status from the riding groups, Reddit threads, and youtube channels. And the one youtube star who was thoroughly obsessed with the boosted boards was Casey Neistat. It’s not the Aladdin prank, almost every video of Neistat, evidence of Boosted boards was always seen. It can be said that most of the Boosted success was pushed by Casey Neistat. Even after that, Aladdin Prank Boosted got 300% increased searches only for Casey Neistat.
And the Boosted Boards became so popular that the startup was getting tired of completing the orders that were pouring in. However, to keep up with the existing orders, Boosted also announced its second generation of Boosted Board in May 2016. The second-generation e-boards had swappable batteries, 80 mm Orangatang wheels, upgraded Bluetooth radio, accessory ports, and a more modular design. But bumps appeared while they were about to garner admiration for their second generation of Boosted boards.
Why Boosted Go Out of Business?
An avid Boosted user, Rick Bross, reported that his board spread out some sort of smoke. The smoke was too intense to block the visibility of his room, and he eventually could smell the chemical lithium and melting plastic there. As he didn’t want to breathe whatever it was on the board smoking, he put on a Gas Mask to block the gas.
Also, Bross had posted to the Boosted Board Reddit page to inform the company and fans about the incident he went through. Seeing that, Boosted immediately contacted Rick Bross and offered him spare parts in exchange for damaged ones. Even the Boosted CEO, Sanjay Dastoor, flew from California to New York to meet Bross and analyze the damaged board. But that didn’t stop there. Another boosted user reported a smoking battery and was forced to issue a recall for their boosted Boards. It told the users to stop using the boards and disconnect the batteries. As Dastoor recognized the problem was occurring from their own quality control standard, he stopped the production from November -December 2016. He hoped to restart the production in January of 2017 with better batteries and firmware. Though they were able to re-release the 2nd generation of Boosted in February 2017 and things didn’t get well for Boosted again. As a result, in mid-2017, CEO Sanjay Dastoor handed over the company to another Stanford grad Jeff Russakow.
At this new era of Jeff Russakow, Boosted could buckle up again and launched their third generation of Boosted Boards, with a mini-board and a high-performance variant called “Stealth”. Interestingly this was Boosteds biggest hit in history and Jeff was able to raise nearly an $80 million investment by the end of 2018 from Khosla Ventures and others. With this money raised, Jeff decided to expand the brand into more than 30 countries. By 2019, Russakow’s efforts to grow the company appeared to be working but Boosted needed more money.
And adding to this crisis, then-President Donald Trump’s trade war with China appeared to be a big problem as Boosted used to outsource manufacturing from China from the start. Even the Russakows interview with the Verge said that the company had the financial ability to eat the tariff on the skateboards. But the Tariffs also turned out as another disaster for Boosted.
And to triple things up, Boosted first-ever electric scooter, Boosted Rev came onto the line in early 2019. This was the startup’s super-rugged and most expensive product costing $1600. But the remaining liquid was enough to face all these problems together. So in May 2019, Boosted quietly took a loan of $18.5 million using its assets as collateral. But for this sinking situation, Boosted eventually lost its biggest investor, Khosla venture, and started laying off its employees to cut off costs. However, no tricks of Jeff worked to make Boosted successful again and failed to pay back the loan.
So in March 2020, Boosted transferred the authority of collateral assets to the Venture debt firm, and some of the assets were acquired by Lime, including five of the company’s core patents. And the remaining inventory of skateboards, scooters, and related parts was acquired by Brian Schwarz, Boosted’s first California dealer. And now running a newly formed Boosted USA company with the remaining goods of revolutionary boards.
Now as the original Boosted has stopped working, it can be said that the eras of revolutionary Boosted boards are about to end. Though Brian Schwarz is working hard to support the remaining Boosted community and run the business as long as possible, that’s not going to revive the company again.
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