Kanye wanted a meeting.
That was basically all a small group of employees at Boosted knew in early 2019 after they heard the rapper-mogul had taken an interest in the company’s electric skateboards.
A partnership, an investment, an endorsement — whatever he was considering, a meeting with Kanye West seemed absurd. But then again, Boosted was also working on a secret project with skateboard legend Tony Hawk at the time. Was it really a stretch to think the startup could work with Yeezy?
Apparently. Kanye spent the meeting — two, in fact, over the course of 2019 — focused more on his ultimately doomed vision for sustainable cities than he did discussing a tangible deal with Boosted, two former employees tell The Verge. (Kanye could not be reached for comment.)
At the time of the Kanye meetings, Boosted had outgrown its Kickstarter roots, and had defined the market for electric longboards — which had emerged as part of a rideables craze in the mid-2010s. The brand was potent, but the startup was losing focus. It wasn’t just Kanye’s off-topic meetings, though some employees felt they were symbolic. Boosted was just spread too thin. It had launched half a dozen models — each with different configurations — in just six years, on a shoestring budget. Then it was hit hard by the Trump administration’s tariffs on goods made in China, and a delayed electric scooter, and eventually ran out of money.
But while Boosted is dead, the beloved electric skateboard startup’s carcass is still drawing buzzards. Its biggest investor, the eponymous venture firm founded by surfer-fighting billionaire Vinod Khosla, has spent the last year waging a pair of lawsuits against Lime in an attempt to reverse the scooter-sharing giant’s purchase of Boosted’s intellectual property.