Entrepreneurs

Mark Cuban promises the hoverboards he's launching on Kickstarter won't blow up

The hoverboard craze a couple years ago crashed and burned. Literally: Hoverboards exploded and caught fire. Authorities seized them by the thousands for being unsafe. Airlines banned them from planes.

And that's why billionaire tech investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban is moving in. He says he can meet demand while creating a product that won't spontaneously combust. And, Cuban says, his boards will be made in the U.S.A.

"Everyone else uses Chinese manufacturers," Cuban tells CNBC. "We completely redesigned the boards using our own IP and will make the boards in the States."

He also notes that the hoverboards he is working on are "fully UL compliant," meaning they have been certified by the third-party safety verification company, UL. And his team has improved the battery system. "There is no link to anything the previous boards have done," Cuban says.

Cuban started and funded the Dallas-based hoverboard company Radical Transport with two other co-founders, Nick Fragnito and Evan Williams.

Radical Transport has been working on its hoverboard, Radical MOOV, and will launch the product with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in the spring.

The Radical Transport hoverboard.
Photo courtesy Radical Transport
The Radical Transport hoverboard.

A billionaire three times over doesn't launch a product on Kickstarter because he needs the money. Crowdfunding, for Cuban, "builds a paying customer base that provides feedback," he says.

As platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have grown over the past five years, large companies have looked to crowdfunding as a way to communicate with highly invested consumers.

And, despite the fact that his competitors fizzled, Cuban still sees a lot of potential in hoverboards. "Obviously I think there will be a market; that's why we started the company," he says. "Time will tell how big it can be."

The landing page for the company's website is open about hoverboards' troubled reputation.

"We will not be defined by the past. We are re-architecting the two-wheeled free-ride from the ground up," the homepage says. "Have Fun. Be Safe. Be Radical.

"This is the evolution of electric transport."

(The embedded Instagram posts in this story feature prototypes. The final product is still being designed.)