An entrepreneurial team of siblings believes its emerging skateboard business can gain a foothold on Midwest college campuses and find its way to consumers. Indianapolis-based BlackCraft Boards co-founders Paul and Perry Lierman say their startup sprouted from a high school business project. The Indiana University and Purdue University graduates say crafting longboards from carbon fiber creates a stronger, lighter and waterproof skate deck that offers more design and customizing options than traditional wooden decks. During the INnovators with Dr. K, the Liermans said the technology could eventually branch out beyond skateboards.
Perry says the initial target is recreational riders and longboarding commuters — primarily on college campuses. From there, he says "we’re looking into expanding into new types of boards that can pander to different styles of longboarding such as longboard dancing, downhill boarding, etc. And then even outside of that, there could be different products in totally different industries outside of longboarding altogether that could benefit from carbon fiber construction."
Right now, BlackCraft Boards is focused on fulfilling rewards from a recent Indygogo crowdfunding campaign. Using funds from a capital campaign, Paul says a first mold will be created and the company will set up a "street team" of brand ambassadors to sell the boards on college campuses. "We believe that as soon as people step on our boards, they’re going to understand why our boards are so special," Paul added.
Donald "Dr. K" Kuratko is the Jack M. Gill Chair of Entrepreneurship at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in Bloomington. He provided his "prescription" to help the young business meet their goals. It involves the "Three Ts for an Emerging Venture":
- Transition– Go from the appearance of a hobby into a professional business.
- Team– Build a team that includes industry experience to execute on growth.
- Trajectory– Focus on the variable sources of capital that can move you to a potential growth plan.
You can connect to more about BlackCraft Boards through social media.