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CAMD student Ian Carlson is the founder of Dash Electric – the first electric skateboard designed for the real world. Over the past few years, Ian has surrounded himself by advisors, professors, other students, and industry professionals to make his venture a success – and a true community effort. We last spoke with Ian when he was in the prototyping phase of development, but a lot has happened since. We caught up with him and his team to see what’s new!

So, update us on where you are with Dash Electric now.
We have made a lot of progress! We received a round of funding from the DormRoomFund (a student-run venture fund backed by First Round), as well as a “Gap Fund” from IDEA (Northeastern’s venture accelerator), and a round from an angel investor. We have worked with manufacturers to refine the design for manufacturability. Our in-wheel motors are completely developed. See more information on our Kickstarter page.


Where are you currently working from?
We are currently based in Greentown Labs, a greentech co-working space in Somerville, MA.

You seem to work closely with other students and groups on campus. Tell me more about your partnerships.
We have been working closely with Generate, Northeastern’s student-led product development studio – they have been working on our wireless remote electronics. Every step with them has been handled like a true product design firm. Since it is a student team, they are limited to one semester for each project, so it is important that they work on projects that can be completed in that timeframe. Before we started working together, I had an in-depth discussion with Generate about Dash’s needs leading up to its launch, and with their help, we built an extremely detailed specifications sheet (essentially a list of deliverables) that they assessed as do-able for one semester. Once the semester started, Dash was paired with one of Generate’s teams and we went from there. Generate was tasked with developing electronics and code for our wireless control system and building it to fit within our existing design.

You’ve also taken advantage of hiring a Northeastern student?
Yes, we have a Northeastern student intern working with us, who we found through the co-op program! He is a mechanical engineering student, and works alongside me to talk to manufacturers, develop components for manufacturing, and help with testing and R&D (research and development).

Any fun facts we haven’t talked about?
One interesting fact is that a marketing research class here at Northeastern had two separate teams work on marketing research for us. One team researched price sensitivity for our targeted market. The other researched why existing commuters and students do not ride longboards, and were particularly interested in researching their fears and concerns so that we could build marketing language around that.

What are some next steps for you?
We are currently focused on branding and awareness. We have partnered with a local marketing firm called Berman Creative to help us clarify our brand, edit our video, and help with social media for our Kickstarter.