Alumnus redesigns skateboard backpack
Students at college campuses have been faced with the predicament of making it to class on time while carrying laptops, books and other supplies.
Alexei Novitzky, a USF graduate and co-founder and inventor of Looshes Labs Skate, LLC, has found a way to make getting to class a little easier for students.
In November 2009, Novitzky said he set out to revolutionize the modern-day skateboard experience with an invention he called the Skatecase.
After four years of tweaking his invention, earning the endorsement of Tony Hawk, winning Innovation of the Year from the Tampa Bay Business Journal and securing a patent, the product will finally hit shelves for public consumption next month.
Novitzky’s initial idea was to build a functional skateboard with a storage area for books, laptops, and office supplies. Since then, Looshes Labs has expanded its sales and is on the verge of introducing new, sleeker models with 28 veneer plys.
The new model includes a one-inch thick compartment with shock-absorbent material similar to a guitar case, Novitzky said. He is working on one with swappable interiors.
“I have made about 20 different models since (2009), because I made them custom made to the consumer,” Novitzky said.
Hand-making all the skateboards prevented Novitzky from mass-producing them and was not cost-effective with each skateboard costing about $350.
However, after a bus trip with entrepreneurs, Novitzky found his current business partners. With its workspace in Lakeland, Fla., the company is able to produce the skateboards at a cost of roughly $100 in six to eight hours. This allows them to sell the boards at just over half of the original cost.
Novitzky and his business partners have stopped production momentarily and are using the fundraising website, Kickstarter, to raise $25,000.
“The money that we will raise will be used by us to invest in machinery, which will allow us to mass-produce the skateboards at a lower cost,” Novitzky said. “The revenue that we generate from the sales will be used to get the business going through marketing.”
Though the concept of having a skateboard with storage capacity seems like an efficient idea, not all students are quite yet convinced.
John Kim, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, said he is weary of the new skateboard because of the very few people who have used it.
“The concept is novel, and it will definitely be an efficient way of carrying books and skating at the same time,” Kim said. “However, before I go and buy one, I would wait till it is mass-produced so that more consumers can give reviews about the product.”
Kim said he is unsure of the safety of his laptop and tablet in the storage compartment, as well as issues such as rain or an accidental crash.
Novitzky wants to upgrade wood production for the next generation of the skateboards, but said he plans to eventually move to production using plastic, which will be the most cost-effective material.