Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean right now, there is a boat that transports a bunch of electric scooters from China to the United States. But when they arrive, they won't be turned over to Boosted, the electric skateboard startup that designed them, because the company recently closed. Instead, they will head to a warehouse in the San Francisco Bay Area owned by Brian Schwarz, a kite surfing enthusiast who runs skateboard and electric scooter retailer Last Mile SF.
As Boosted's business collapsed earlier this year, Schwarz joined a few investors and was able to negotiate a deal to buy most of the startup's remaining inventory, including its popular electric skateboards, accessories, and the sturdy $ 1,600 Boosted Rev e-scooters, which just started shipping late last year. You've just launched a website called Boosted USA to sell vehicles, parts, and even offer services to Boosted customers. And while it won't be able to handle existing warranty issues, it says it plans to offer its own 60-day warranty on any full board or electronic scooter it sells.
While scooter-sharing giant Lime recently walked away with Boosted's intellectual property and other assets, it did not buy the company's hard goods. (There was also a cut in the deal to allow a retailer like Schwarz to use the brand to sell inventory.) Instead, they remained in the hands of Structural Capital, an investment firm that loaned Boosted an undisclosed amount of money. last year and I ended up in control of the startup's assets when things went south.
After an agreement to sell the business in crisis to Yamaha failed earlier this year, as The edge previously reported, Structural Capital turned to Lime, which attempted to buy Boosted's intellectual property in late 2019. Structural Capital finally sold those assets to Lime in a "foreclosure sale,quot; on March 17 for more than 61 million common shares. from the scooter-sharing company, according to a previously unreported filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
That's just a small part of the billions of shares that Lime has authorized, raising more than $ 700 million in recent years, according to PitchBook data, but it's the equivalent of about $ 15 million based on the price of the action offered in its most recent rounds of funding. That said, Lime has struggled during the pandemic and is reportedly looking to raise new money at a much lower valuation.
In return, Lime received Boosted's patents, trade secrets, source code, and any other inventions (patented or not), which would likely include the sitting scooter / moped that The edge He recently reported that the startup was working. Lime also obtained Boosted's customer lists, and even all the domain names that the start of the electric skateboard recorded.
But Lime didn't buy the inventory, and Schwarz says The edge He spent last week filling his 8,000-square-foot warehouse with electronic scooters, backpacks, helmets and a lot From the startup's electric skateboards: "Boards on Boards,quot; which, unlike e-scooters that come from China, say they accumulated dust in storage facilities or were trapped in distribution centers. In fact, Schwarz says he is concerned that the warehouse is not large enough to hold all the inventory he bought, especially since he says Structural Capital was not even sure how much there is to start with.
"It was a little confusing because they really didn't know what they had. And I kept asking for physical counts, and they said, 'Look, we don't have physical counts, things are everywhere,'" he says. "There are so many things to go through, it's kind of ridiculous. "
The excess appears to come, in part, says Schwarz, from customers who took full advantage of Boosted's friendly 30-day return policy, which the company also enforced retailers. That means many of the boards you bought have been damaged in one way or another, or are missing parts. "Some of the boxes we're opening, (the boards) are like new with the batteries removed and were returned to Best Buy, and the people at Best Buy must have been like, 'yeah, totally, here's your return of money & # 39; ". Schwarz says. He also says he got most of the company's inventory, except for some who are stuck in some other countries where Boosted operated, and that there is enough to sell the new boards and electronic scooters while still using the damaged or incomplete ones. for spare parts and service. .
Schwarz says he was very desperate for Rev e-scooters, despite their high price, as they only hit the market a few months before Boosted sank. “They were so ephemeral, and in my store, every day, people come in and say,‘ Hey, do you have a Rev? Hey, do you have a Rev? "", He says.
With the website, Schwarz joins a movement of Boosted customers and fans who have been helping each other in the weeks since the company announced it was laying off employees and exploring a sale. Following this, drivers quickly spun a Google Drive folder filled with collective sources filled with manuals and technical documents, while the owner of an electric skateboard store began offering engine repairs. A pilot is even trying to create a master list of customers whose boards are still in Boosted's hands.
Knowing how passionate the Boosted customer base is, Schwarz says he is preparing to feel overwhelmed. But he says he is more concerned with customers who sent their boards and electronic scooters to Boosted for service before the company clarified their problems.
Those people are told to send an email to "[email protected],quot;, which is allegedly run by the last remaining Boosted employees. The behind the account recently emailed those customers and told them that their electronic boards and scooters are in a storage facility somewhere, and that they cannot be repaired or returned until the pandemic refugee order is lifted in the place.
"Once we activate that website, I know that my inbox will be flooded with thousands of Boosted customers saying they bought a board and need help with warranty support," says Schwarz. "But we are not going to hang anyone to dry. So I plan to receive those emails and turn around and say, 'Hey, Boosted is gone, your guarantee is done, but the good news is that we have tons of parts and stuff here to keep you active. We can service so many boards, no question in my mind as we need a service that already exists. We can get people back up and running, and we will really fair price. "
Schwarz feels it's appropriate to end up owning the Boosted boards and accessories that remained, as he was the startup's first retailer about six years ago. Back then, he says he had to convince the company to allow him to sell his boards, as it was an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaign and was being sold directly to customers.
"It kind of pissed me off at the Boosted guys, they weren't really working with retailers yet, and he kept saying, 'I want to open an account, I want to open an account,'" he says. an account with you. "
Schwarz initially requested only two boards, and says the startup was "really mad." Before long, however, he was asking Boosted to send him as many as they could. "Everyone wanted one, and then it was built from there."