At first, Matt Belcher may look like any other guy on a skateboard, but keep watching and you'll notice he's riding a lot faster than others, and he never pushes off. His skateboard is electric, with a top speed of 20 miles per hour.
"We have an iPhone app that allows you to control and tune the board and the top speed," boasted Belcher, maker of the new Marbel electric skateboard.
Belcher says, at 9 pounds, it's the lightest electric skateboard. He says it has a range of 10 miles on a 90-minute charge.
IT'S FUN, ISN'T IT?
Unlike other skateboards, Belcher says fun isn't his most important goal. He sees his skateboard as a viable form of sustainable urban transportation.
"You can ride it to your favorite restaurant, pick it up and carry it in with you," he offered.
For urban commuters, he sees it as transportation to and from work.
Belcher has a background in engineering and began working on the Marbel skateboard soon after he moved from Indiana to Tampa a couple of years ago.
Marbel recently raised more than $300,000 on the Kickstarter crowdfunding site, quickly surpassing the goal of $90,000. Pre-orders were accepted then for around $1,200 per skateboard.
They plan to begin regular production of the Marbel skateboards this fall in Tampa.
For more information, visit www.ridemarbel.com.
Marbel is part of the growing community of local start-up businesses getting help from Tampa Bay WaVE, an organization helping grow successful tech ventures grow in our area. For more information, visit www.tampabaywave.org.