LOCKER BOARD SKATES ITS WAY TO SUCCESSFUL DEAL ON ABC’S SHARK TANK
One of the show’s youngest entrepreneurs pitches idea for compact skateboard and lands investment of a lifetime from Virgin mogul Richard Branson
At age 11, Locker Board founder Carson Kropfl faced the “Sharks” in the season 9 premiere of ABC’s hit business reality show Shark Tank and struck a deal for his innovative skateboard company. The show’s celebrity investors heard the young entrepreneur’s pitch and fought to partner with Locker Board, the first non-folding, compact and sustainable skateboard designed to fit in a locker or backpack.
Now 12 years old, Locker Board founder Carson Kropfl of Orange County, California, impressed the group of “Sharks” with a skate demonstration on his portable skateboard alongside his skater friend Sierra Downer. Carson, who was joined by his mother Carrie Kropfl during his pitch, went in asking for $60,000 for 15 percent equity, and ended up accepting $65,000 for a 20 percent stake. Sir Richard Branson, business magnate, investor, philanthropist and founder of the Virgin Group, outbid Mark Cuban, billionaire businessman and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as well as Robert Herjavec, tech entrepreneur and investor, for the opportunity to invest in Locker Board. Branson told Carson that the reason he invested in the 7th grader was because he reminded him of himself.
At first, Carson personally designed and built every Locker Board skateboard by hand in his backyard workshop in San Clemente. Today, to keep up with increasingly high demand, the company uses renowned board maker PS Stix Skateboard Manufacturing to handle production. Locker Board has also brought on Wing Lam, Co-Founder of Orange County-based Wahoo's Fish Taco, as a business adviser.
Carson’s interest in creating sustainable boards grew during a visit to Nike World Headquarters in March 2017 with the Independent Youth Organization (IYO). IYO is a non-profit organization through which Carson educates other young people about starting a business. While at Nike, Carson met Noah Murphy-Reinhertz, a sustainability expert with Nike’s Sustainable Innovation Team. After the tour, Noah began mentoring Carson on how to research and develop sustainable products.
The ocean has been Kropfl's inspiration for his business and ideas. He started Locker Board to pay for his surf contests and lessons. He invented his first product, Streetubez, so he could surf anywhere, anytime. Kropfl shared, "The ocean needs our help. It's turning into plastic soup. Over 8 million tons of plastic goes in the ocean each year. In 2050 it's estimated that there will be more plastic then fish in the ocean." Locker Board now donates $1 for each skateboard sold to Ocean Unite. Ocean Unite is a non-profit focused on uniting and activating powerful voices for ocean conservation.
ABOUT LOCKER BOARD
Founded in 2016 in San Clemente, CA, Locker Board is the only non-folding skateboard available that is compact enough to fit in a locker and backpack. Founder Carson Kropfl was 11 years old and wanted a skateboard that he could easily travel with, which none of his favorite boards did. As part of Locker Board's mission to further expand the recycling movement, the company's skate decks are created from recycled materials. Kropfl's company and products have been inspired by his love of the ocean. He started Locker Board to pay for his surf contests and surf lessons. He invented his first product, Streetubez, so that he could surf anywhere, anytime. Locker Board donates $1 for every skateboard sold to Ocean Unite. Ocean Unite is a non-profit focused on uniting and activating powerful voices for ocean conservation. Locker Board was featured on the season premiere of the hit ABC show Shark Tank and landed Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, as his investor.
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The Kropfl family’s big break came unexpectedly in 2013, during a family vacation to the mountains. One morning, Carson and his family were headed to the hotel lobby for breakfast when a young couple joined them in the elevator. Carson’s Dad noticed a Shark Tank logo on the man’s sweatshirt. Chit chat ensued and the Kropfl’s soon discovered that their new friend was none other than Max Swedlow, an Executive Producer for Shark Tank.
Instinctively, the entrepreneurial Kropfl’s launched into a (literal and) well-practiced elevator pitch about their Streetubez (skate tarp) product–a skateboard accessory that Carson and his mom had invented together. Impressed, Mr. Swedlow offered his business card and asked the family to keep in touch. He advised Carson to stick with it and keep growing his business. Months later, after learning of Carson’s remarkable success with Locker Board, the Shark Tank impresario invited the Kropfl family to apply for an appearance on Shark Tank, Season Nine. Of course, they accepted.
During Carson’s pitch on Shark Tank, The Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, outbid billionaire businessman Mark Cuban and seasoned investor Robert Herjavec for the opportunity to invest in Locker Board. Sir Richard told awestruck Carson that the reason he was investing in Locker Board was because Carson reminded Sir Richard of himself. It was a moment that the Kropfl family will never forget. Today, Locker Board (a dba of Streetubez) is one of Sir Richard's recent investments!
For more information, including historical media coverage, please visit the Locker Board Press Room or our Strategic Partners page. Learn more about Carson on his profile page.