The focus of start-ups varies. We know start-ups with products for pets, universal applications, herbs and food, but do you know the XTND team, who set out to develop an electric skateboard that can carry you up to 20 km on a single charge and works with state-of-the-art technologies and artificial intelligence? This is an ideal concept for today’s youth longing for freedom.
What about XTND’s initial successes? The company didn’t have to wait long. Within the first few hours of launching a Kickstarter campaign, XTND not only reached its goal, but collected nearly triple the desired amount.
Please read the following interview with Miroslav Peřina of XTND, one of the Czech start-up entrepreneurs who represented the Czech Republic at TechCrunch in New York and, thanks to CzechInvest and the Consulate General in New York, took part in meetings organised by our colleagues during Czech Start-Up Week.
Q1: Your start-up XTND is exceptional in that your board is the only one of its kind in the world and you use artificial intelligence in it. Can you tell us more about your electric longboard?
At XTND, we strive to push people forward. We do that through clean design and the latest technologies. The company has really advanced in the past half-year. I think a lot of credit for that is due to the several months spent at the ABC Accelerator in Silicon Valley. Be began to focus more on software, which is very hard to copy. We see a tremendous future in machine learning and artificial intelligence, which has put our product streets ahead of the competition. Our XTND Board is literally exceptional in every aspect and boasts several “bests”. It is the smartest, safest and lightest electric skateboard in the world. Our goal is to do everything at a higher level, not just lighter and thinner. Among other things, the XTND Board also excels due to its great design and it is a perfect vehicle for overcrowded cities, where every day you have to deal with traffic jams, a lack of parking spaces or overcrowded public transport. With the XTND board, there aren’t any of those problems that you can’t handle. On the contrary, you can very quickly move about the city, take the board with you everywhere and still have a lot of fun.
Q2: You were at TechCrunch in New York thanks to CzechInvest’s CzechDemo programme, which helps Czech start-ups attend foreign events with financial aid from the EU. Looking back, how do you rate your experience of registering in the programme, succeeding and travelling to New York?
I am glad that there are programmes such as CzechDemo, through which it is possible to attend prestigious global conferences and meet with the world’s best start-ups, foreign journalists and investors. A conference like TCD NY is a great place to get tremendous inspiration and meet very interesting people. We are most grateful for the opportunity to present XTND at such a prestigious conference. It brought us a lot of interesting contacts that will be useful for us in the long term, as we plan to operate primarily on the American market. With respect to financial support, going to the US can be very expensive, especially for a new start-up, so every koruna saved thanks this programme is significant.
Q3: Your Kickstarter goal was met within a few hours (the goal was USD 100,000; a total of USD 346,540 was collected). What now? Do you have any new plans?
The whole campaign was preceded by a long period of preparation and we were surely helped by events such as CES in Las Vegas and the last TCD in New York, which took place a week before the campaign started. A lot of people had expressed very serious interest even before the campaign, but the speed with which our stated goal of USD 100,000 was met took us completely by surprise. It was a very important milestone for us, as it confirmed that there is strong interest in our product and after long years spent on development, we could finally advance to the pre-production and production phases. Within a few days, we will shift to the similar Indiegogo portal, where we want to get additional pre-orders. We will then mostly focus on preparing series production and delivering the first boards to our subscribers from Kickstarter. If everything goes according to plan, the first boards should be available at the end of the year.
Q4: Can you tell us how long it took from your initial concept to the finished product? What was the most important aspect for you?
From the initial concept, nearly four years passed, which we spent on development. That’s a long time, but we always wanted to create something unique and that necessarily meant developing and producing every component without any compromises. I think those years of hard work have paid off in the end. Of course, there is still a long road ahead of us.
Thank you for your time. We wish you much success and only positive responses around the world.