Last week I attended a brunch at the celebrated chef Niklas‘ restaurant. The event was organised by the Skateboard Company ProSk8, and in attendance was Jason Diakité aka Timbuktu, one of Sweden’s most loved and respected rap and reggae artists. Jason signed all the boards that were bought on the day, and for every board sold, one board was donated to the NGO Skateistan Cambodia. Half of the proceeds from the brunch was also donated to Skateistan by Niklas Ekstedt.
I managed to talk to Lisa Thorén, co founder of ProSk8. Lisa is the daughter of the founder of BabyBjörn, and right out of University started to work at her father’s company. Lisa was Communications Manager there for 10 years, seeing the company go from 20MSEK to 320MSEK. On the look out for a new business to invest in, she found Becket Colón, who was developing sustainable products for skateboards. Going in as a Business Angel, Lisa quickly became the CEO and co founder of ProSk8.
With your family background in baby products , what attracted you to get involved in a company dealing with skateboarding technology?
It was all about my experience being part of the BabyBjörn success story. Because of that experience of building a brand on products that had much higher quality and better functionality I decided in 2007 to invest my time and money in something similar, but for kids from age 5 and above. So it is not a coincidence that I finally found Performance Sk8 and decided to join Becket. We came up with the brand name PROSK8 2010 and are now disrupting the skateboard industry with technologies and affordable replacement parts. The skaters (and the parents who pay) now are tired of the wear and tear culture and ready for better performing quality products.
TIP technology was founded and patented by your company, what is TIP?
Yes TIP technology is one of our patented innovations (in 21 countries) that we are now introducing to the global skate scene. We have already sold ten thousand skateboards with TIP technology and are ready to scale up launching an eCommerce portal 1st of June 2015, which is going to be great. TIP technology is a performance enhancing replacement part so you always can get back the performance of a new board. Without TIP technology, on an old fashion skateboard with wooden edges (tail and nose) you can just imagine how easy the skaters wear and tear when they push wood into the rough concrete over and over again to do tricks. I think in the future TIP technology will be an industry standard. It solves so many problems for the riders, it makes it affordable to skate and more fun. The kids love it!
What is the main objective of ProSk8 and what would you like to achieve?
Our mission is to make skateboarding more fun for kids. We want to give them a better skateboarding experience. They should afford to be their best – the skateboard deck should not limit them. Performance Sk8 is the Skateboard Technology Company and we are there for the skaters, whatever problems they have we shall solve. Ask kids who don’t have rich parents what a huge problem it is for them to get money to buy skateboard equipment, and if they can’t skate, they are not happy. There are so many things we can do as a product development company – so much we can give back to the skateboard community.
Could you tell me a little about the designs on the boards?
This company is all about giving the customer what they want and the best way to succeed with that is to offer the option for everyone to upload their own graphic design. The young skaters have a lot of opinions about the graphics of the board. Therefor PROSK8 is offering customized decks, and from summer 2015 the skaters will be able to upload their own graphics.
Already today you can order customized TIP technology decks with your own brand and graphics, PROSK8 does collaborations and have done decks both for smaller skate teams and companies, for example this nice deck for the British Mt. Dew “Undiscovered Skate tour” – discovering skate talents. So if someone wants for example 100 decks printed for their team, employees or customers we can print the graphics On Demand.
Is it official that Skateboarding has been included as an Olympic Sport?
Skateboarding will be part of the Olympic Games 2020, so if the pros riding for PROSK8 want to participate, this will of course be a great way to reach a broad audience with the Performance Sk8 innovations. But skaters hate organized sports so we let our Team Riders decide, they are the ones building the PROSK8 brand.
Please tell me more about the non profit organisation Skateistan and what is your collaboration with them?
We love what Skateistan is doing, they encourage kids to skate and by challenging themselves and their bodies, the kids get stronger self-esteem. A lot of the kids who join the Skateistan organization start with skateboarding and end up wanting to go to school. I love it.
The founder of the company, Becket seems to be spending a lot of time in Brazil, what is ProSk8 doing in Brazil?
There are 6 million skaters in Brazil, together with USA, it is the world’s biggest skateboard market. We decided it would be great if Becket, together with his wife and his two youngest children were to move there, so he is now building the Performance Sk8 company there. We have Becket Colón covering South America, our new CEO Glenn Brumage taking care of North America, and I’m here in Sweden meeting the growing demand in Europe. We are ready to scale, and 2015 is going to be a great year.