'Smart' skateboard speeds up the daily commute

Marbel Power Pitch

Traffic jams, parking nightmarestraveling in a city can be a pain. Florida resident Matt Belcher says he has the answer to make trips around town easier and more fun with his "smart" skateboard.

Marbel Power Pitch
Marbel Power Pitch   

"The Marbel electric skateboard is a lightweight, fast and easy-to-use form of transportation. It is the lightest electric vehicle in the world weighing at only 9 pounds," he said.

CNBC gave the founder 60 seconds to pitch to a panel of experts—and viewers—that his company will ride to success.

The panel included Andrew Mitchell, founder and managing partner of Brand Foundry; Greg Selkoe, CEO of Karmaloop; and Don Brown, a world champion skateboarder and chief brand strategist at Sole Technology. CNBC anchor Mandy Drury hosted the segment.

Will they get on board? Watch the video to find out!

Making Marbel

When Belcher and his wife moved to Tampa, it was the couple's first urban living experience. Most of their favorite spots were within a few miles, but driving and parking became a hassle. Belcher always had a passion for sustainability and began experimenting. Utilizing his engineering degree from Purdue University, two years later Marbel was born.

The Marbel board weighs 9.9 lbs.
Source: Marbel
The Marbel board weighs 9.9 lbs.

The Marbel board weighs in at 9.9 pounds, including the battery.

"It has enough power to go 25 miles per hour, will take you over 10 miles on a single charge, and everything's integrated directly inside the deck, making the board completely weatherproof," Belcher said.

Users can customize top speed and acceleration through Marbel's smartphone app, which will be available for iOS and Android devices. The app allows riders to locate destinations within battery range, as well as the ability to lock the skateboard. The app also alerts users when the battery is dying. Recharging takes 90 minutes.

Belcher has filed two provisional patents on the design as well as the drive system. He currently manufactures the board's electronics in Arizona and assembles the final product in Tampa.

Selkoe said he had concerns about the $1,299 price and asked Belcher how the product can be made more accessible to consumers. Selkoe even suggested skateboard sharing.

"Skateboard sharing and rentals are great ideas," Belcher responded. "Our price point right now is $1,299. That will go down as we get things into full production and start selling more of the boards."

Brown asked Belcher about his target customer.

"There are 65 million Americans everyday that take a commute less than 10 miles. So we're trying to reach as many of those people as possible," Belcher said. "The electric skateboard that we built so far is our first step, and really our proving ground for where we want to go."


Carving out the competition

Marbel is not the only electric skateboard on the market. Companies like Z Board and Boosted Boards are already in the game. California-based Z Board offers three electric skateboard models that weigh between 25-33 pounds. The pricing ranges from $649 to $1199. Boosted Boards, also from California, sells a 15-pound board with a six-mile range per charge for $1,995.

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Meanwhile, Mitchell asked how Belcher stands out from the competition.

"Our board is significantly lighter … faster, interacts with your phone, so you can control all the settings ... from your smartphone, making it more of a complete package versus something that you just ride with a remote," Belcher said.

The company raised $365,000 via a Kickstarter campaign that ended in June, blowing past its $90,000 goal. The company is now taking pre-orders on its website, and Belcher said over 400 boards already have been sold.

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While the company hasn't raised any venture capital, Belcher told CNBC it has benefited from the advice and resources from the Tampa Bay Wave Accelerator.

Watch the above video to see Matt Belcher pitch his start-up Marbel to CNBC's "Power Pitch."

—By CNBC's Erin Barry

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