Whitewater startup BomBoard launches campaign to fund production

The BomBoard in action.

Whitewater startup BomBoard LLC has launched a $2 million crowdfunding and private equity campaign to fund its first production run.

The BomBoard in action.

The company, founded by John West in 2008, has designed a collapsible watercraft that can be broken into four pieces for transportation and storage. It has undergone eight rounds of prototyping and testing, and is now ready to produce, West said.

“We wanted to make it far easier to transport and store than the traditional two- or three-person watercraft,” he said.

BomBoard is raising part of the funds through crowdfunding website Indiegogo, where it launched a $100,000, 45-day campaign this morning. The company also has a private placement memorandum filed for raising the additional funds from private investors.

Production is expected to begin in 2016, and the company will take pre-orders through its crowdfunding page. The BomBoard retails for $3,995, and west plans to produce about 4,000 units in the first full year of production.

“It will take us a little less than a year to get into production and a large portion of that time gets taken up by meeting the EPA emission standards,” he said.

BomBoard has raised about $2 million in private equity funding and additional funds from about 25 private investors since 2008. The company has obtained three patents on its product and now has three employees.

“We’ll be staffing up here very rapidly to get full scale into production,” West said. “We will only do assembly. We don’t be integrated deep into the manufacturing.”

As it prepares to begin production and bring on about 50 more employees, BomBoard is planning to either build a facility or move into an existing 15,000-square-foot space with room for expansion, hopefully in Whitewater, he said.

“We will be using a lot of part-time workers,” West said. “That’s one of the reasons we like being located next to UW-Whitewater, is we can offer employment to people in school and then we can also kind of scale up and scale down with the seasonality of the business.”

West has experience in raising funds—his previous engineering workstation and mechanical CAD/CAM company raised $30 million and was eventually sold to Boeing Co., he said.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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