Originally published at http://esk8.news/enertionboardsusa-a-new-hope/
When I met Jason Potter (owner and CEO of Enertion) this last summer in Berlin, he was relaxed and jovial about the position of his company. Admitting and even joking about the numerous issues that Enertion had been running into with getting products into the hands of customers, Jason was confident that some new products like a 16S-capable FOCBOX (single, not dual!!) would be able to help ease the public doubts about the Goldcoast company's stability. Fast forward to late 2019, and 73% of builders don't think that Enertion is going to survive. That's where EnertionBoardsUSA comes in to play.
What the hell happened?
When the name "EnertionBoardsUSA" first appeared on the esk8.news forum, many people were understandably skeptical about having the name "Enertion" back in the game. And then the profile started advertising Unitys on Amazon, supposedly ready to ship with Prime. Some people took the leap of faith, and to everyone's surprise the Unitys were shipped and received at normal Amazon speed.
Who is this guy?
After the Amazon shipping for Unitys actually went through, we reached out and asked for an interview. Turns out the "EnertionBoardsUSA" profile is one man right now, and his name is Kurt Benson. Mr. Benson is an Australian-East-Coast-born civil construction manager gone e-mobility enthusiast, and Enertion is his latest challenge after quitting his career to focus on humanity's transition to sustainable living.
How did he find Enertion?
According to Mr. Benson, Enertion was far from the first company that he looked at. He "visited manufacturers of cars, bikes, scooters, skateboards and even an electric surfboard company", discovering that a "common problem they were having was delivering on customer service & aftersales support within markets where they were not present". He "concluded that where [he] could be of most use to the e-mobility industry would be to help growing companies with cash flow, customer service & support in a critical market", and sold his house and his investments to start a distribution company in the US.
Ironically, moving to the US was the perfect thing to keep in connection with an Australian company. Mr. Benson ended up reaching out to Jason when he said that a "distribution structure was what they were looking to move towards" as their current structure was "too complex and they were unable to offer the service their customers deserve".
The Difference Between Enertion and EnertionBoardsUSA
Officially, EnertionBoardsUSA is an extension of Enertion, and that's important for one primary reason: EnertionBoardsUSA is solely geared towards providing a professional customer experience. Because Mr. Benson's extension is distribution focused, EnertionBoardsUSA "would never sell products that it did not have in stock or a product that we couldn’t offer great service & support on". As part of the distribution deal, EnertionBoardsUSA will also "take over all dealings with current retail stores as well as add new stores once [they] have stock".
Why is this Enertion's last hope?
With Enertion Australia falling apart and their customer service team leaving, the company is really on its last leg. Having someone like Kurt in the game who has experience managing "multimillion dollar civil construction projects" is exactly what Enertion needs, because he knows how to create cash flow and keep it going. Cash flow has been Enertion's problem for the last year as they've kept taking on orders to fund fixes in the supply chain that only continues to break down.
According to Mr. Benson, the Unity is only the start of this new reliable customer experience that EnertionBoardsUSA is trying to create: "As Enertion Boards releases new products and refines existing ones, they will be added to the EnertionBoardsUSA store." What this means is that when Enertion finally releases their 16s single Focbox and their competitor to the Trampa Wand , US buyers will be able to have confidence that orders will arrive promptly.
Eventually, EnertionBoardsUSA will move away from Amazon and towards their own e-commerce site. Many will probably be skeptical again about this because Amazon awards a certain amount of confidence to a product when it's certified through Prime, however Kurt is confident that his "own ecommerce site will offer better pricing and have closer interactions with customers."
Additionally, EnertionBoardsUSA will also host and attend group rides around the US to promote the community and sponsor team riders. They plan to continue supporting the DIY community as much as possible with more events like the recent "Want a Free Unity?" competition, in which member Kellen G. won a free Focbox Unity.
It's unclear as to whether this new strategy Enertion is taking with Mr. Benson is going to work well enough to save the company, but I'm hopeful seeing someone with great vision and experience making a serious effort. Here's Kurt's view on the situation:
"I’m excited to be working with Enertion Boards and be part of this booming industry, next spring/summer is going to be a turning point for the brand and we will be back on the path to become the leaders of the industry."