It was the weirdest headline from this year's CES. U.S. Marshals raided the booth of a Chinese company selling a motorized one-wheeled mobility device, a blatant copy of an existing American product called the Onewheel by Future Motion.
The raid came after Future Motion filed suit and won a same-day injunction from a U.S. District Judge. It was a big intellectual property win for a company in the electric scooter game, which is rife with cheap Chinese knockoffs ... some of which explode.
Evidently investors were impressed.
Today, Future Motion announced it closed $3.2M in Series A funding, which it will use "to expand operations, ship more Onewheels, and innovate next-generation products."
New investor Deshe Holdings led the round, with participation from GoPro's SVP of Marketing, Paul Crandell. "Ever since I first tried the Onewheel, I knew it was a category-defining product," said Elie Deshe, Partner, Deshe Capital LLC. "Personal mobility is the next technological wave, and Future Motion's Onewheel is uniquely positioned to lead the industry. We're glad to support [CEO] Kyle [Doerksen] and his team during this exciting period of growth."
So what's the deal with a one-wheeled scooter? It's not cheap, at $1499 for the device and charger. Designed and built in California, it provides a sensation familiar to experienced boardsports participants (skateboarders, surfers). But the company says it's approachable for first-timers. It can go off the sidewalk on surfaces like grass, which is pretty cool.
The Onewheel was just awarded the ISPO BRANDNEW 2016 award at ISPO, the world's largest sporting goods show in Munich, Germany, and Future Motion has plans to expand distribution in Europe and the U.S.
Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly reported that Future Motion's seed-round raised $4M. The correct amount is $3.2M.