Three years ago, I was in a full-time job and, to be frank, not having a lot of fun. So as soon as I got home, I would open the garage and start working on a project I had had in mind for quite some time. I was a skater since I was 8 and I knew the problems of the existing skateboards and that, as skaters, we didn’t have any alternative choices in terms construction. Plus, at that time, the economic crisis had hit the country and finding a good affordable skateboard was close to impossible. Which is why I decided to start making my own ones, recycling and transforming the tons of materials stored in my basement.
Capsule was born at that time.
The first prototype was made from a material that I knew was very durable and flexible. The material itself was very expensive but it was mandatory to buy the whole six square meters panel from the distributor just to test 0,20 square meter. I wanted to give it the shape of a skateboard, so I just pressed the material between two identical skateboards using some heavy-duty clamps. It was tough. Launching something like that meant I was about to get in a fight with the biggest and most renowned companies, basically all selling the same skateboards with the graphics and logos as only differences.
2014 was a big year for me, as it’s also when I met my co-founder, who helped me bring Capsule to the next level. We met at an event organised by the Ministry of Commerce, during which we were introduced to various grants encouraging innovation, given away by both the European Union and the government of Cyprus.
This event was the first of many more to follow.
The Cyprus Entrepreneurship Competition, organised by the University of Cyprus, ran from June to December 2014 and consisted in workshops and pitches on the final day giving the possibility to the first three start-ups to win huge prizes. We didn’t manage to be in the TOP 10 teams but we learned a lot of things about the business environment then. In June 2015, Capsule was selected by the Gravity Ventures incubation program to follow a course helping companies be built – and thanks to this program, we went from a simple skateboard company to one that, in the near future, would introduce high tech into skateboarding. The following year, in September, we won the first prize at the Startups4Peace competition organised by the Embassy of Finland. And in November last year, we attended Web Summit in Lisbon, which is known as the world’s largest event for technology start-ups, involving a lot of networking with potential clients and an introduction to the notion of “brand awareness”, which was absolutely brilliant for us and right on time. And last year as well, Capsule had another go at the Cyprus Entrepreneurship Competition, where it was ranked third. More recently, we were invited to attend an event in Munich at the end of February (2017), where we’ll get to meet some German giants, such as BMW, Siemens, Adidas, and many more, in the form of one-to-ones.
Skateboarding didn’t experience any significant evolution in terms of manufacturing, let alone tried to include high technology, which explains why Capsule is pretty successful today. Our skateboards are 600% more durable, 100% recyclable, there’s 0% delamination, pops are higher, and the skateboards are only $10 more expensive than traditional ones. We’re really doing our best to keep the best vibe going, so we adopt an ethical attitude towards the business.
As for materials, we first started using polycarbonate (February 2014), before moving to fiberglass associated with special core and another layer of fiberglass (May 2014), and carbon fibre with special core too and an extra layer of carbon fibre (September 2014). In November 2014, Capsule used carbon fibre, fiberglass, special core, with extra layers of fiberglass and carbon fibre. In December of the same year, we used polycarbonate, carbon fibre, fiberglass, and special core, with extra layers of fiberglass, carbon fibre, and polycarbonate. And in June last year, our skateboards were made of laminated polycarbonate, i.e. a double sheet of polycarbonate panel, glued together with a specific adhesive.
What’s next now? We want to keep it a secret for as long as we can!
But what’s important to keep in mind is that all of these materials have their own very specific ways of being processed, in terms of temperature, storing, handling, and in terms of which tools to use to transform them and stick them together. So we failed a lot. Some of these materials were not even available in Cyprus, so we were ordering them without any knowledge of whether or not they would be successful.
The struggle is real, that’s for sure!
But I guess it’s rewarding in a sense, because the skateboards we make have the same stiffness and are lighter than traditional ones, and they help decrease the fatigue of skaters’ ankles and knees joints and help prevent injuries to top it all.
Today, we are trying to make it big on social media while making Capsule more and more unique, and organising as many meetings as possible with skate shops in Cyprus, in Greece, and in Germany. At the end of May or early June, we will be launching our crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, and ideally, we’ll start our first massive production in the following months, so that our skateboards become available in actual and web shops globally.