Boosted Boards $73 million in funding, layoffs, says it was tariffs, will pursue strategic options under new ownership @BoostedBoards


A Message to the Boosted Community From Our CEO, Jeff Russakow, and CTO and Co-Founder, John Ulmen – Boosted Boards.

“…unfortunately, developing, manufacturing, and maintaining electric vehicles is highly capital-intensive, and over the last year-and-a-half our business has faced an additional unplanned challenge with the high expense of the US-China tariff war. The Boosted brand will continue to pursue strategic options under new ownership.”

Looks like Boosted Boards $73 million in funding, laying off a “significant portion” of its 130 employees acording to the articles on The Verge and TechCrunch.

Some interesting notes from the articles…

“The company’s financial position also took a big hit after Trump started a trade war with China. Boosted has had its boards manufactured in China since 2016, and so they got slammed by the 25 percent tariffs imposed by the president. Boosted actually applied for and was granted exclusions from the tariffs in late 2019, but the company has not yet been reimbursed.”

“Boosted’s not the only one in the broader “micromobility” space to have struggled to survive. Fellow electric skateboard startup Inboard laid off all of its employees late last year. Los Angeles-based e-bike startup Wheels laid off a bunch of employees just last week despite taking in $100 million in funding.”

(Since we’ll probably get asked)… Adafruit applied for tariff exemptions and were denied any tariff exemptions. Adafruit has no loans, no VC, we do not have any tax breaks or benefits at all in any way for being a USA manufacturer, and/or a woman-owned company. We did get hit with all the tariff just like everyone else (well, besides Apple, etc.) however, so far we’ve managed to navigate it well and it has not significantly impacted the overall business.

And on a related note, we were asked if COVID-19 impacted our supply chain. Short answer, not really, at least not yet. Adafruit has an excellent predictive inventory system and super-purchasing-planners that expect Chinese New Year to cause delays if we’re not 100% on top of it, so while a few items are delayed, we were able to get through some potential supply chain issues. One thing that did come up is some of PCB suppliers were delayed, or needed to devote their resources for requests from the Chinese government. So while some PCBs that were delayed are starting to ship, we have other suppliers that we used for some runs of PCBs. This is why some of the new products at Adafruit happen to have green PCBs instead of the usual “Adafruit Black” PCBs.

Additionally, some items that are used for thermometers are going to be tough to get or more expensive because the Chinese gov is making millions of thermometers. We expect some of the thermal components to get scare and expensive.

As far as production goes, we make many of our products right here in NYC, USA. So we’re in a good spot with keeping up with production and demand at this time. We do not take on outside products or contract work and only manufacture our own products.

All that being said, anything can change at any moment, this is 2020.

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