Made in Modesto.
CES's first start-up beauty pageant tiara went to ZBoard this afternoon. The Modesto, California based electric skateboard manufacturer was declared the winner of the inaugural Showstoppers Launch.It competition, which has been designated the official investor pitch event of CES.
Eight companies competed for the blessing of a panel of five experienced early stage investors, led by tech guru Guy Kawasaki.
The four minute presentations ranged from crisp to baffling. My favorite quote of the day came from a guy who struggling to explain exactly what his company did. He said he had no competition and wasn't filling any existing need. In fact, he said, his product has been “validated by European experts that it doesn't exist.”
A medical products company, Darma Innovations, came in second and an affinity group marketing play called Troop ID finished third.
There was no money on the table, but ZBoard will get some marketing and PR help. Prizes include public relations counseling, web promotion and a free spot at tomorrow night's Showstoppers showcase event.
Fundability was the primary criterion that the judges considered. ZBoard has working products, a simple selling proposition and an eight week backlog of orders. Which counts for a lot.
The core product is a skateboard with an electric motor that runs off a battery and can be controlled – accelerated and slowed – by leaning forward and back. It has a top speed of 17 miles an hour and, depending on the model, a range of up to ten miles. Pricing ranges from $650 to $950.