Boosted co-founder Sanjay Dastoor spoke about his experiences as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley that inspired him to create the company for college students at an event hosted by the Berkeley Forum on Monday.
Dastoor graduated in 2005 with a degree in mechanical engineering and went on to attend graduate school at Stanford, where he developed the idea of the Boosted Board, an electric skateboard.
During his time at UC Berkeley, most of Dastoor’s friends lived at Foothill while he lived further off campus at Clark Kerr Campus. Dastoor said he felt “too lazy” to walk around on campus, and this is what sparked the idea for his business.
“We started building for a problem we had,” Dastoor recalled. “We tried not to spend a ton of money on it, though.”
During his doctorate studies at Stanford, Dastoor and his colleagues made the first five Boosted Boards. In 2011, they founded Boosted Inc. The team sold the boards for $1,200 each to five customers.
According to Dastoor, at the beginning of the process, the boards broke every two weeks and had to be sent back to the factory. Dastoor said the team continued to renovate the board and rely on Amazon feedback. He added that he and his team continue to rely on Amazon feedback to perfect the boards.
At the event, Dastoor also offered advice to aspiring entrepreneurs on how to sell their products.
“Be good, don’t just seem good,” Dastoor said. “People should want to buy your product. We’d rather have five customers willing to pay for the boards, rather than three out of 10 people wanting them for free.”
One of the keys to the company’s success was being transparent and honest with its customers, Dastoor said at the event. The company opened a subreddit in 2013 to primarily gauge customer feedback and engage with customers. According to Dastoor, honesty with customers goes a long way.
Dastoor said he never really wanted to sell boards in the first place. His beginnings in entrepreneurship were an “accident” — he merely wanted an easier way to move around campus without having to walk.
Campus senior Carl Mulvaney said he was excited to see the co-founder of the company at the event.
“I use my Boosted Board to get anywhere and everywhere back in SoCal and on campus,” Mulvaney said. “When I found out Sanjay Dastoor was going to do a talk, there was no better way to spend my day other than using a boosted board to talk about boosted boards.”