by Ben Bungert
Bureo Skateboards aims to reduce the 10% of aquatic waste that comes from discarded fishing nets by repurposing them into premium cruiser boards.
Their Story Ben Kneppers moved to Chile in the Fall of 2012 with the goal of pursuing environmental consultant work. There he was immersed in a unique entrepreneurial community and realized there were issues with sustainability in Chile. He contacted a couple of his friends, David Stover and Kevin Ahearn, who began to explore the issue of sustainability in Chile and think of ways to help. Through their research they found that 10% of aquatic pollution comes from discarded fishing nets, to which fisherman in Chile contribute to due to a lack of compelling alternatives. They thought there had to be a way to collect the nets for something useful, rather than throwing them out. Ben, David and Kevin spoke with representatives from the World Wildlife Fund and through their network created the Net Positiva, which is the first fishnet and recycling network in Chile (launched in January 2014). They then had to decide what to do with the discarded nets they were collecting. Could they mend them for re-sale or repurpose them to solve another issue? They needed to find a way to positively reuse this material in a self-sustaining way.
Finally, the idea of cruiser skateboards came to Ben while volunteering at the Carbon Footprint Assessment at Lollapalooza. Now that they had a product, they needed help with production.
Funding! Through a network in the U.S., the Bureo Team was put in touch withIDEA: Northeastern University’s Venture Accelerator which provided them with a coach, the network they needed to begin producing the boards and the gap funding they needed to get off the ground. “We have been able make our prototypes and set up our operations in Chile through tremendous support from Northeastern University’s IDEA program…” – The Bureo Team Less than a year later, they have solidified a product, a place for production and a market to sell them in. With that, Bureo launched their first kickstarter campaign April 14th and within 48 hours had $21,000 of their $25,000 goal. The campaign’s purpose is to fund the further prototyping and offset the production costs of their boards at a higher volume.
Their Product “We have developed what we believe is the ultimate cruiser skateboard. Featuring a signature fish design and gripping scale pattern, we have collaborated with industry leading component and wheel providers to offer you a premium ride. We have numerous prototypes, and now with your help we can turn our prototypes into final products. Now we need your support to fund the first production run of our boards in Chile. Our funding need of $25,000 will facilitate our final production setup costs, the recycling cost for several tons of fishnets, and our initial component/hardware costs.” – The Bureo Team Check out their kickstarter campaignhere, and sign up to come hear the team speak tonight at Northeastern’s Social Enterprise Institute Student Association!