Electric Skate Cast - Kieran Mao, CEO of Meepo tells us all about how they started their esk8 board business and his experience with Meepo and riding skateboard , and also the news about Meepo’s product Shuffle (V4) and Hurricane(Roadster) that will be releasing soon!
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JGranGR: Welcome to electric skate cast. This is Episode 26, I believe.
Terminal X: Wow. Okay.
JGranGR: We're getting through season three pretty quick. We have some great people coming up. But this episode, we have a great guest with us. As always, I am your host, JGranGR and with me is my co host official terminal x.
Terminal X: Good evening.
JGranGR: And like I said this week, we have an excellent guest with us. A lot of you may know about his company. A lot of you may know about who he is, from videos or posting on Reddit. We have the owner of Meepo Kieran Mao with us,
Kieran (Meepo): Hi, you guys. Thank you.
JGranGR: We're, yeah, we're super excited to have Kieran on. This week, we're going to be talking about all the things meepo are going to hear a little bit about who Kieran is, how he got into electric skateboarding and starting meepo. And hopefully, we'll get to hear about some new products that will be coming from meepo. So we're really excited. And we're super excited to have Kieran on. So thank you again for coming on the show today, Kieran.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah.
Terminal X: Appreciate it.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah. Thank you Joe and you, TX.
Terminal X: Yeah, no problem. So our first question for you is, you have been you know, making electric skateboards for a long time. Now. Meepo is a popular company. Most people know about you and your, your company. Our question for you is, when did you first begin riding electric skateboards and tell us about your first experience? Your first time
Kieran (Meepo): is early 2017. I was working in pretty low quality factory. So they have many boards. They're poor quality. I tested them all. I had a lot of force like, Yeah, I was very excited. Although the boards are pretty poorly made. But it is purely exciting and new things
Terminal X: when you first wrote those electric skateboards. What? What did you not like about them? What were the problems with these electric skateboards? And why did you want to change?
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah, the old image of Chinese company they're all true. Because they use the cheapest the models for battery, everything. Not good for a good experience. So I've seen them all. I tested them all. So the cut out they don't break they are slow and they suck. Everything happens. I've seen them all.
Terminal X: before electric skateboards. Did you ride regular long boards before you worked for this company? Did you were you a skater?
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah, I first arrived the skateboard when I graduated. You know in China, many people they like me, they don't get a good support from the poor family. So the pricings for themselves, only one the graduated from college.
So that's my case, I bought a skateboard for the poor. And the longboard is like 2013 two like, a year ago. And I fell in love with longboarding and I tried to practice down hill. And I was living on a seaside city. So the view is perfect. I skate and cruise. Like as much as I can. I really love it.
Terminal X: Yeah its a beautiful, beautiful experience to ride an electric skateboard along the ocean. I agree with you.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah,
Terminal X: yeah. And now, when you were working for this factory testing these electric skateboards, you don't like them. My question for you is why did you decide to create your own company? What What was the decision?
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah, um, because I will test the almost all Chinese boards, the factory boards, I tested them all and I even talk to the boss saying if you want your company to stay and to earn money, you need to appeal to something the customer needs. So listen, so in China, do you think they always cover the cost? They don't want to invest. So I was riding every day to work and back with Eskate. So I decided to build something. So I can use for myself. So that's where I started.
Terminal X: Okay. Okay, where did the name Meepo come from? What is the origin?
Kieran (Meepo): Um, yeah, it was rooted in my college years those student years I was addicted to a games pretty famous. Back then, is called DOTA.
JGranGR: Oh Dota Yeah
Kieran (Meepo): I was addicted to the game. And in the game, there is some innovation. So Meepo is one of the biggest ever innovation hero I have ever seen in any games. So, like, you can divide your hero into like five pieces, and you can't let any of them die. Anyone die you die. So he's pretty skill and I really love love it and the sounds perfect. Pretty cute. So I think that that that man,
Terminal X: okay, okay.
JGranGR: It does. It does roll off the tongue easy. It's easy to say. And I think almost anybody in any language across the world would be able to say Meepo.
Terminal X: Exactly. Yeah, that easy. Easy word. Yeah. Okay, yeah. Now, how did you start building your own electric skateboards for Meepo. Talk, Tell me that story when you first began to to, to build them for yourself and sell them to your customers?
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah. I haven't you say thanks to my experience working in that poor Chinese factory, I get access to many patents, like battery everything. I graduated as a mechanical engineer. And I was passionate about how to make everything work as a user need. So I told it to a battery supplier, the speed controller supplier, everyone asking them to provide the next level thing, something they don't, they don't know, but needed for the customers. So I started there, I change it to almost all of the parts. So to get good performance, and the one I finally get good. The first regeneration of Meepo boards. I know is a thing is something that the market needs is a pretty affordable board , but nobody has it yet.
Terminal X: No, I I agree with you, Kieran. And I remember when the first Meepo board came out, and the price was much better than the Boosted Board. But the specifications, the speed and the range were very similar. And I remember that changed everything in the electric skateboard world, because now there was a new competitor. And I agree with your strategy. And of course, it's a very good strategy. It's a common strategy to listen to what your customers are telling you. And build a better product for them so that they want to buy it and they want to use it just like you use your own electric skateboard when driving. or excuse me, sorry, when when riding to work every day.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah.
Terminal X: Joe, go ahead and take over a question for me here real quick.
Unknown Speaker: Yeah.
JGranGR: So with Meepo what is one of your favorite memories with the company? What is your favorite experience that you've come up with, with Meepo and riding electric skateboards. Because I know you guys talk about riding your electric skateboards to work, And what are some of those favorite memories that you have with your company?
Kieran (Meepo): Um, yeah, the good memories are all in the first year. I was so excited around in the business and see things working out Yeah. One of the day I was just driving, I was writing my Meepo board, from home to to company under fear. Oh, I got a so. So many support from internet, Reddit and YouTube. And I was getting a lot of orders is just like one one month after I started this business, so I fear a lot of love and attention or fear and something into the world. So in the beginning, this kind of feeling is very powerful, and I feel great Joy. It's like you Something happened in my life who finally is like I waited for so long and I can work hard to make things work.
JGranGR: Yeah, that's a lot. Yeah, a lot of passion behind it.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah, I was riding like I had the feeling. We're really powerful. So I go for it. And on the road, nobody knows. I am so excited inside me. I look like nobody on the street. But I know, I'm important to this industry and, and many people are looking forward to the things I'm going to do. So yeah, really powerful inside.
Terminal X: That's awesome. That's a great story. I love that. Obviously, many people know Meepo, it's a very popular company. Like you mentioned, a lot of people know you and rely on you. Can you tell me one thing that people don't know about yourself? Fun fact, your, your skating history, something about the business? Something different.
Kieran (Meepo): So, my management team, it's like, all the guys, my cousin, and the other guy is My friend, since teenager, we have been playing DOTA together. In the first like, three or four years, we, after the work, we go to a near bar. So we three you guys have us sitting next to each other, we play a team work game, together, like every two days, it really is the main thing we are doing, we play an RPG of a game, so we have a strong relationship relating to each other, we do teamwork, and we even talk about the company, we are enjoying playing games, But actually, we are also talking a lot about how we should do the company. What this is saying is we talk, and we have a strong vision.
Terminal X: I think that is a good lesson for other companies. If you want your business to do well, if you want your business to succeed, you should play video games with your with your co workers, with your business partner.
Kieran (Meepo): In the daytime, we stay I sit on computer for a long time doing marketing something. And in the evening, I sit around computer playing computer games with them together. So it's not so healthy for you. That's true. That's true. But that's why we have skateboards.
JGranGR: Well, yeah, exactly. And we ride skateboards together. And that's how we all bond now.
Kieran (Meepo): Many years for a start up as a CEO isn‘t always healthy, is it? Is it something they always forget that they don't either live regular or rest enough? And don't have time to work out, Maybe. But for me, I ride like, every day more than 10 kilometers. So I think it's okay for me. When I skip some exercise.
Terminal X: oh, I have a question. What skateboard what Meepo board Do you ride every day?
Kieran (Meepo): Um, is changing every day like, because when I have a new setting up, I will ask a staff to get it to assemble and say I guess release tomorrow. I have like an schedule saying which period? I will test the which paths?
Terminal X: Yeah. Okay. Wow.
JGranGR: So you try every new board that comes out before it goes out?
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah, I try them and try them as long as long distance as I can.
Terminal X: That's smart. I know.
JGranGR: And it's, it shows a lot of commitment to your company that you personally ride every product before it goes to people. So you, you know what is good? What needs to improve? You know, all of that because you personally are riding each type of board and each new model.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah, first of all, I don't think we are a bigger company. So the CEO do everything is okay. Second of all, I take this as a reward working in this industry as an CEO. I have every excuse to ride as much as I can. So you Yeah. After a long day, I have alot pressure I just say, no I will go out on a test board. So I just grab a setup I like To test and I drive to beautiful park everything, a good a river or wherever I like that I ride it there for like two hours. So happy,
Terminal X: Therapy. I Agree.
JGranGR: How many I have a question how many employees do you have at Meepo currently?
Kieran (Meepo): Um, we have we hired many marketing guy this year. So now we have 35 people.
JGranGR: Wow. So only 35 people. Have shipped over 60,000 Meepo boards?
Kieran (Meepo): Yes, yes. Wow. That's crazy.
Terminal X: That's amazing.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah, yeah. We are maybe the only company that assembled every Meepo board by themselves.
JGranGR: Oh my gosh.
Kieran (Meepo): So I know all the other brands don't they don't even have their pwn workers. But for us, we we have all our workers and we are close to all our workers we eat together, we ride together, and have a strong connection.
Terminal X: This is true. This is true. Because I remember four years ago now, three years ago, yeah, three years ago, when I visited Schengen, Joe I, and Kieran very graciously invited me to their older factory.
Terminal X: I remember I arrived a little early. And so most of the employees were gone. And then I remember hearing the elevator door behind me open. And I turned around and it's a big, it's a big elevator. And the doors open. And about 10 people employees all come out with their skateboards because they all went riding for lunch.
Terminal X: And that's when I said I remember thinking this is this is a different company. This is a good company.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah,
Terminal X: yeah. No, I was a long time ago now three years.
JGranGR: That's that number is still amazing. I mean, 35... for 35 people. And it was it's been it's been less than that. You said you just got to 35. So Wow, that's just... I guess I thought you were a bigger company. But you're still fairly small. And the amount of product that you guys are putting out is just incredible.
Kieran (Meepo): Thank you. Yeah.
Terminal X: yeah, no problem. Yeah. Congratulations. Now, can you give us any new information about meepo's latest skateboard, the Roadster? The progress the what you like about it? What you're still working on it. Tell us about that?
Kieran (Meepo): Oh, this is the so exciting part. Because I really want to talk about it. I never say this before, so it's pretty (inaudible) in like, the past few months. So many already know we have meepo V4 coming. I know. It's like V1, V2, V3, and V4 like nothing big. But to myself. I have Never done something on this board. Like so much time and energy. Into one board was. I was I was asking myself if I stop and improve a board and they say that's the bord. And its for everyone. And it's already perfect. I don't see where I can improve. Right? How would I build it? That's what I asked myself for, like, more than two years.
JGranGR: Yeah, yeah.
Kieran (Meepo): Even on the V3 people, like it, it is dominating the budget boards. I still say I like many things, but I don't see that on the V3. So I'm not so pleased that we current V3 To be honest, because as time goes by, I always see something missing something we should do better, the braking, acceleration deck shape. Looking so we see is going to be a very, very big thing. I have a go to style for like three or four years and don't change it. So I have already invested to change all the details on the V3.
Terminal X: Wow. okay. and when will the v4 come out?
Kieran (Meepo): Um, so I think if you guys post this podcast in two weeks, it's okay because we plan to release in August.
Unknown Speaker: Okay.
Terminal X: Okay, we can wait two weeks. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, no problem. Okay. And talk to me about the other electric skateboards that you have planned. If you don't have any details yet, that's okay.
Kieran (Meepo): We do have something I think he is okay to talk about. Yeah, we have been testing since... because I ride... Board companies in china, you know, all the bosses, we know each other we ride together.
Kieran (Meepo): we're pretty close to each other. So we know all the technical things and the settings like, like, even the foreign brands, like Onsra or (inaudible) everything. Yeah, it's all built here. We know, everyone. So for me, it takes me like, too much time waiting. and hesitating you know, the V3 was was like, released like, two or three years ago, since then, we don't have something much more important. There only was one other thing, but it's also been two years ago. So right, we then released an in house belt its just basically a hub to belt to change the meepo... to a belt drive so it's not a big thing. So people don't buy it, it's okay. And so, we have waited so long, because we made mistakes, you know, we released too many boards that are not perfect, they are not good enough. And yet we released it. So it's hurting the company and I realized that. and I think we should slow down really slow down. So, that's why we have been doing really and now we, we have a much clearer idea, which is why we are going to do and release a thing which is really competitive and is all new, all the parts are exclusive OR built with good thinking.
Terminal X: right.
Kieran (Meepo): So, we have a pretty long, pretty long, how do you say "product line" in my mind and also we... we also have prototypes already. So also because of the trend of a electric skateboarding people tend to like invest more and I always am saying that. so we have like, besides V4, V4 is a budget board. Besides that, we are also capable of building premium boards. So I want to introduce to you all the product now if we have time.
Terminal X: Of course Yeah.
Kieran (Meepo): The first thing that are coming out is the so called "Roadster". (inaudible) because we are building a board with the molicel p 42A, which is the best battery by the way. we think is really the perfect choice for serious high quality electric skateboard.
Terminal X: yeah, we're very excited for the Roadster. We like the design, and we think it's different. It's different than many other electric skateboards coming from China right now. So I'm very excited for it.
Kieran (Meepo): Good. We are doing changes to that board and still a much better range, much better battery and drive trains, ESC. we are working on with Lingyi ESC and an Lingyi ESC is finally providing some FOC serious FOC finally after five years. Yeah, so that's the biggest improvement I see. It is On the V3 and V4 we will see the first version of the early lingyi FOC. So nobody knows about it yet, but is going to be big thing it's a completely compatible a completely have an edge on the hobby wing. I don't think a hobby wing has any advantage versus this lingyi FOC. I admit that in the past few years hobby wing was worth it. The best choice. But nowadays, I think lingyi we are going to be dominating the market pretty soon.
Terminal X: Well, my NLS Pro has a lingyi ESC and I find it very smooth and easy to use. I don't have any issues with it anymore. I like hobbywing. But my lingyi is good.
Kieran (Meepo): I guess everybody like hobbywing. By sticking to lingyi ESC, I lost the like thousands of customers already. I agree with that. So so its good for the company, when my partner is... who owns Lingyi ESC is finally going to bring to the market something that is top.
JGranGR: Yeah, yeah.
Kieran (Meepo): So let's talk about the Roadster things. Yeah. First of all thing we use nobody will be using such expensive, and good quality battery... I think I don't see others doing that. But as we are a small company, we can cut the cost. So we can invest the more on the specifications of this new AT board. Big wheel... Small wheel... both are compatible. \
Terminal X: Okay. Yeah.
Kieran (Meepo): And it's going to be more powerful than the other it was you see on on the street.
Terminal X: I'm excited.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah. And besides these, I always want to go to into the forest and play with the mud and sand. And get my clothes dirty. I think its a good appearance, especially when I have friends riding with me. So I'm also looking to something like those $5,000 Big, big mountain board. So, so to just to have fun. So we also know that it will be gear drive....gearbox sealed so you don't worry about a sand or harsh environment.
Terminal X: Wow. Okay. That's Yeah, that's big news. That's very exciting. Because, and of course, you know, this, but the, the DIY community and the Trampa board community have been very big proponents. They have loved the box on top, And the gear drive.
JGranGR: Yeah, gear drive is very popular right now.
Terminal X: I love gear drive. Yeah.
Kieran (Meepo): So yeah, box on top with a big battery so and good Tech to be able to ride over everything.
Terminal X: Right. Yeah. That's Yeah, that's smart.
JGranGR: When can I get one?
Kieran (Meepo): Pretty soon you will be one of the first Okay!
JGranGR: Okay. Sounds good to me.
Kieran (Meepo): I promise this one will be much more affordable. So I think is really a joy, As in more people can buy it is a good thing to the world. I think.
Terminal X: JGranGR: Especially with a company from, you know, an Australian company... not going to name names, but their board is what people think is very expensive for what it is.
Terminal X: No, I Agree
JGranGR: if you Yeah, if you can make a gear drive board with a big battery that can compete with that expensive board. That's basically the same as it was last year, then you that's that's really big news.
Terminal X: I agree. And, Kieran, this is very important because without the E we call them economy boards or the budget affordable electric skateboards. There would be fewer riders, the community would be smaller. There would be less innovation, there would be less competition...
Terminal X: Yeah, exactly. And so these are very important for the community. And of course, some people say oh no, that board is not good quality or that board is too cheap or that board is not fast enough. But-
JGranGR: for some people it is.
Terminal X: for some people it is yes. And for the community. We need the prices to be lower so that more people can join the community and be a part of that industry and be a part of that movement because I would not have what I have today without my meepo board, I remember when I bought it, I would not have my YouTube channel, I would not have this podcast. And if I did not make my youtube channel with my meepo board, then Joe and I would have never met because Joe met me through my YouTube channel. Therefore, you know, companies like meepo board, are the reason that a lot of these amazing memories and relationships happen. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Because we're building a larger community. So thank you.
Kieran (Meepo): Oh, thank you. Yes, that's really something touching. So yeah, I feel value in what I am doing so I feel proud.
Terminal X: Of course, congratulations.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah. Getting people more people to this amazing. Eskate thing. Getting them into this and building a community. With your friends, wonderful memories, something... Let's, let's do something beside running a business... Im doing something good for humanity, for people.
Terminal X: Yeah, exactly. I agree. I have two small questions. Kieran, two small questions. The first question is about the Roadster. You said that we can change the wheels? So can we do the large air filled pneumatics and the small urethane or just cloud wheels?
Kieran (Meepo): Um, what I was building either would be compatible with all wheels.
Terminal X: Okay.
Kieran (Meepo): (Inaudible) or the regular urethane 90 millimeter and AT wheels. On we build a better drive. I think it's a must to be compatible with more wheels.
Terminal X: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It's very, it's very important for customers.
Kieran (Meepo): For myself, even though it is an AT board, I will prefer to use the small wheeled urethane, so I can ride them lower to the ground faster.
Terminal X: Exactly. That's Joe. Joe loves the small.
JGranGR: I love going fast and riding low to the ground. So yeah, I am very excited that you said you were doing a gear drive and a bigger battery, and street wheels. All of that is exactly what I've been looking for. And, and it's affordable. So if it's affordable, then I'm all in. Yeah. So yeah, sign me up. I want the first board. Let me know I will get me get me whatever I - I'll - get whatever I need to make it happen.
Terminal X: And, and Kieran, my second question for you is about the mountain board. Will the mountain board have bindings for customers or an option for bindings?
Kieran (Meepo): Oh, I know. It's something you can jump with your board, right?
JGranGR: Yes. Yeah.
Terminal X: Keeps your feet secure.
Kieran (Meepo): I know that it's a must that you have. Or you lose all the fun.
JGranGR: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Kieran (Meepo): I think I have been watching videos for two years. How people ride in the mountains. They fly over slopes and land on Mud.
Terminal X: Right. Okay, okay.
JGranGR: Oh my gosh, this is big news, people.
Terminal X: Big news. Very exciting. Now, I love the idea of bindings because it makes me more secure on the skateboard. Some people don't like them, but I personally like them.
Kieran (Meepo): I like to say... I tried, you know backfire. Had a... How do you say "competition" last year and I tried some awesome. Trampa Boards or something like that. And yeah, that's how we can ride more aggressive. That's the only way.
JGranGR: Yeah, absolutely.
Kieran (Meepo): I mean, it goes so deep. Yeah, and get aggressive carving.
Terminal: Exactly. And our city has very bad roads, very poor quality. It's lots of holes and cracks and bumps everywhere. Therefore, boards with larger wheels or bindings or a larger deck for more stable, stable ride is very important for people like me, because I fall very easily. Therefore I need I need things like bindings and larger wheels, right? Because our roads are are terrible here. Other cities. Maybe they're good but yeah...
Kieran (Meepo): I guess many People are in your situation. That's why nowadays people are buying AT wheels.
Terminal X: Exactly. Especially in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, you have very poor quality roads.
JGranGR: And most people can't afford a $5,000 trampa.
Terminal X: No. So, yeah,
JGranGR: so that goes a long way.
Terminal X: No, I mean, I'm excited. This is big news.
JGranGR: This is big news.
Terminal X: Do you know, Kieran, do you know? When approximately the Roadster will be ready or the mountain board will be ready? Do you have an idea?
Kieran (Meepo): Um, we try. We try to release them, this autumn.
Terminal X: This autumn. Okay, okay,
JGranGR: Thats good timing.
Terminal X: Im excited. Wow, this is big news. Okay, I didn't even know I was going to learn this. I'm excited.
JGranGR: I can I can ride it through the snow.
Terminal X: No, please don't.
Kieran (Meepo): You can try.
Terminal X: I don't recommend it. I don't recommend it. And Kieran, I my next question for you, is for new riders and your new customers. What advice would you give to your new customers and the new riders that are buying their first electric skateboard maybe Meepo? Maybe not? What advice would you give them because you because you have a lot of experience?
Kieran (Meepo): I would like to see... First, I have no (inaudible). For all the Eskate Board companies. Actually, I think everyone, we are missing something, we should tell the public that electric boarding is much easier to learn then regular non electric skateboard.
The other thing is not clear. But I know it pretty ctric skateboard, you have two trends. One for a stance. So you ride on your board with only one foot.
Kieran (Meepo): And you need to keep balanced. That's the hard part. That's the only way you can do to kick to the ground to speed up. On electrical skateboard. The only thing you need to know is like using two foot and stand on a four wheel deck and good balance which is much, much more easier. So yeah, yeah. So people always get an impression that skateboarding is not my thing. I can't do that. I never try that. But the truth is, I talked to like 1000s of people to ride a brand new Meepo board in like, three minutes, five minutes or less. So it's so damn easy to learn. People can enjoy it instantly.
Terminal X: So I agree with you
JGranGR: my my girlfriend, she learned how to ride an electric skateboard. And five minutes. I think right now you'd say like five minutes. Very fast. And She was going full speed in like five minutes. You know, anybody can learn. And she has never ridden a skateboard before.
Kieran (Meepo): Yeah, it's always us. But I think to the public, they don't know. So I think people in this industry should really stick to this point and let the other people know that this thing is a for them.
Terminal X: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I think it's it's easier than most people think. And it's of course easier than you know, a unicycle or a one wheel because you have four wheels, you know, yeah, the board, the board is not going to fall over. It's going to go straight. So I agree. That's good. That's good to know.
JGranGR: We need more people like Nick from skate electric, because he goes out and he teaches kids and he does birthday parties. And he does little classes where people can actually learn how to ride. And we need more people like him going out into their community and teaching people how to ride, man.
Kieran (Meepo): Well, I don't know him yet. Maybe you can help me connect with him? So I think he's really doing a good thing for the industry.
Terminal X: Of course. Yeah. No, we will definitely give you his contact information. He's very popular on Instagram. And he is in England. He's in the UK. So yeah, no. teaching people to ride an electric skateboard is one of my favorite things. I've you know, I've taught a few of my friends now and it's fun to ride together and create those memories and have adventures going places I agree.
Unknown Speaker: Alright, Joe, did we miss any other questions or anything?
JGranGR: Don't think so often. Karen, do you have anything that you want to talk about? Or ask us?
Terminal X: Now's your chance.
Electric Skate Cast is Hosted by two riders who have a passion for all things Electric Skate Boarding.
Joe Granning (JGranGR) and Official Terminal X. The show is dedicated to sharing experiences, news, and more for those in the electric skateboard community.
Check out Electric Skate Cast HERE.