Copycat Hoverboard Startups Pose Major Threat [Part 2: A Cautionary Tale]

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With the viral explosion of the hoverboard, thanks in large part to celebrity promoters, our original hoverboard startup was on cloud nine. We continued full steam ahead with our promotional strategy, which in hindsight, was the first in a series of problems we would experience.

Learn more about the hoverboard explosion here.

 

So when we had the opportunity to work with the famous rapper Soulja Boy, we quickly grabbed at the chance. After he rode Chris Brown’s, he realized he just had to have one.
soulja-boardsHaving just gifted Chris Brown three hoverboards a week earlier, we also decided to give three hoverboards to Soulja Boy in exchange for his promotion. We figured that we would see the return on this investment quickly, especially considering how our most recent influencer posts performed.

It was a hastily made decision that would come back to haunt us.

As we got more media coverage, we noticed a threatening problem developing: identical looking, but lower quality hoverboards started to appear on e-commerce sites like Amazon and Alibaba, selling at half the price of our’s.

 

These cheaper hoverboards were so shodily made that we feared they would affect our own product’s reputation, as they later would when government regulations would begin cracking down….

To thwart competition, we decided to heavily push our celebrity marketing strategy, such as collaborating with Justin Beiber and Soulja Boy.

 

hoverboard-copies

 

So when a week later, our team received a notification from Soulja Boy, assuming that he came through with his social media post promoting us and our product, we clicked the notification excitedly only to discover it was thrilling in the worst possible way.

It turned out that Soulja Boy liked our hoverboard technology so much that he decided to start his own company called “Soulja BOARDS.” Just like that, Soulja Boy officially joined the ranks of the 50+ other competitors selling hoverboards at the time.

For any early-stage startup, witnessing identical companies popping up shortly after you just launched virally is debilitating to say the least. Those same companies were tail-riding on the massive wave of popularity that our company started, just at a lower price and lower quality level, adding intensive pressure to your own startup to grow.

 

inside-hoverboard

 

Not only were our influencers informing the world of our product, but they also were demonstrating to the world how simple it is to start a hoverboard company.

How do you compete under those circumstances?

The competitive landscape for hoverboards was heating up. Millions of people worldwide witnessing the opportunities available in the market were trying to get in the game. This massive saturation about to occur meant only one thing: our company had to stay equally as competitive against our hoverboard by having higher hoverboard sales.

The only way to do that was to have inventory to resell, which is where our next big problem came into play, and why ultimately, our company was suffering from the very early decision to use celebrities to go viral.

The drawbacks of going viral were about to become all too apparent. Find out how in the next article in this series,

 

 

 

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Max Ringelheim

Max Ringelheim is a 26 year old seasoned, successful, and as many others before him failed entrepreneur. After graduating college Max co-founded and bootstrapped his own video conferencing technology company called Vonvo.com. After 3.5 years of working on Vonvo, he then transitioned into a consulting role for various startup companies in NYC. As a consultant Max's most popular accomplishment was being responsible for co-launching the recently acclaimed “Hoverboard Movement.” Some accomplishments he experienced in the Hoverboard industry were generating over 7 figures in sales revenues in less than 8 weeks, and establishing dozens of partnerships with various notable celebrities. Max is now an active blogger, public speaker, and is in the process of writing a book regarding the story behind the Hoverboard and its viral rise to the top and then sudden fall in a new project of his called When Going Viral Sucks!