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Student Startups: Spacecraft-Inspired Skateboards

Kickstarter campaign recycles rockets into skateboards.

Meet USC Student Ryan Olliges. He’s an aerospace engineering major and entrepreneurship minor who started a business after inspiration his during time as a member of the USC Rocket Propulsion Club.

Ryan noticed that they were throwing away large amounts of excess carbon fiber, the material used to produce the club’s rockets. One day during his freshman year in the club, Boeing donated a large amount of carbon fiber to the club because they had no use for it; they were simply going to throw it in the trash.

Ryan recognized a need for a solution to the waste of carbon fiber, a material with very high monetary value.

“I noticed that this was an industry problem,” he said. “I figured it would be cool to make a business out of scrap rockets and spaceships.”

That’s when Ryan started 121C, for which began a 10,000 dollar kickstarter campaign. He wasn’t sure he would meet the goal… but as it turns out, he had a pretty successful liftoff. 

“We passed it by 440 percent,” he said.

The skateboards are made completely out of carbon fiber, and Ryan says they are perfect for boards.

“They’re really light and strong, we even ran them over with trucks a couple of times just to show that they don’t break,” he said.

As far as the company’s future plans, Ryan is shooting for the stars, and plans to produce a variety of other consumer products, from briefcases to office furniture.

USC students can enter promo code “trojanaileron” to get a 20 percent discount on 121C’s skateboards, typically valued between $275 - $400.

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