So simple, yet so powerful, the circular wheel has been a dominant force throughout human history for several millennia. From chariots to wagons, to water wheels and steering wheels, the wheel is without a doubt, one of the most important mechanisms used by humans to date.
Yet, as ironic as it sounds, no one really knows who invented the wheel, and it is certain that no one will ever know. However, the attention has turned elsewhere. After 5000 years of constant tradition and homeostasis, there is one thing that is finally certain: the circular wheel is no longer alone.
The Shark Wheel
Shark Wheel, which was founded by technology guru David Patrick with his partner Zack Fleishman, aims to be a new wheel (of the same name) designed to provide superior performance and features that surpass that of the traditional circular wheel.
The Shark Wheel is a combination of a perfect circle, perfect square, perfect sphere, a hexagon, a cube, and a sine wave (basically, a lot of shapes). Instead of taking on the characteristics of a steamroller and plowing over surfaces, the Shark Wheel moves in an alternating right and left manner, allowing it bypass the debris found on rough terrain or pavement.
By focusing more on the geometry and less on material properties, Shark Wheel’s use of physics created a wheel that was more grip-sturdy than the traditional circular wheel. To add on, the shark wheel is designed so that less surface of the wheel is actually touching the ground, allowing for less friction and resistance placed on the wheel and consequently a much more accelerated ride. Ultimately, the Shark Wheel provides the best of both worlds; a wheel that is said to be superior in grip and speed that triumphs what skateboarders are normally used to.
“The shape of the shark wheel is seen throughout nature” said Zack Fleishman, a former pro-tennis player turned Entrepreneur who is now the Chief Operating Officer of Shark Wheel. “It is a shape frozen in time that is exactly how a snake slithers, how a shark or fish swims, even how humans walk; moving in a wave, rather than a circle, is simply more efficient.”
Surprisingly enough, the Shark Wheel was actually unearthed through discovery rather than sought-out invention. When founder David Patrick was working as a software engineer in natural sciences, Patrick came across the idea as a “marvel” but didn’t realize its monetary potential. Once Patrick realized the significant advantages of the wheel however, “a team was assembled, a patent was obtained, and Shark Wheel was born.”
When the Lake Forest, Orange County based company first boot-up, Patrick and Fleishman supposedly went through $10,000 worth of material in failures before they finally came up with the perfect prototype. Through Indiegogo, the company soon raised around $70,000 in 2013 and another $27,000 in 2014. In addition, Shark Wheel’s appearance as the winner of ABC’s “Shark Tank” season finale allowed it to attract a $250,000 investment from Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, and GoPro founder Nick Woodman.
“We’ve experienced massive growth when our show was featured on Shark Tank, and the feedback we’ve received from the shows were nothing but positive, and our sales have reflected that,” said Fleishman. “We are definitely a company on the rise.”
In many businesses where the circular wheel has dominated as a monopoly for decades, the Shark Wheel finds itself as a true competitor that will allow it to transcend transportation-based markets and industries of all types.
“We made a strategic decision to start in the long-boarding segment of the market as we believe we have four major competitive advantages in long-boarding” noted Fleishman. “Long-board riders are also very open to new technologies and innovation and we thought it would be a perfect starting point to show how well the wheel works at high speeds and in sliding situations.” We will also seek to enter the second level of the skateboarding market, which is the cruiser “free-ride” market, as the wheel also allows for great travel and commuting purposes.”
Because the Shark Wheel itself is so applicable in many diverse markets, it won’t be long before people start seeing these wheels on roller blades, luggage’s, or even military vehicles.
“The circular wheel for years has always been a monopoly, and now we will be another option to the circular wheel” Fleishman remarked. “Before it was all about branding, that the wheel would be the same but there would just be a different stamp on it. Now, people choose a wheel that is truly different and has true competitive advantages.”
We interviewed Fleishman to discuss his experiences with the creation of shark wheel, and what plans Shark Wheel is currently looking at that will help the company reach its fullest potential.
Has there been a specific breakthrough in material or technology recently that has allowed for the recent creation and success of the Shark Wheel?
When you look at all the breakthroughs in the past few decades, a lot of it is in fact about material and the technology, so it is just as important. You start with the stone wheel, move onto to the wood wheel, and the list goes on. Every innovation has been through material sciences and we are the first company to ever tackle it from a geometric point of view, so for a lot of people who look at our wheel and think it might be an optical allusion, we can assure you it isn’t.
What are some important geographical areas that will allow Shark Wheel to expand its consumer base?
The only market that Shark Wheel will ever plan to manufacture in is the skateboarding market. The biggest are located in the United States, Australia, France, Germany, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom, so that’s really where our efforts are being focused most. We are however also seeing serious growth in Asian countries, as they are the typical adopters and pioneers of new technology. They really appreciate new technologies; being a formal pro-tennis player and playing a lot of matches in Asia, I have experienced that first hand and I would love to focus more on Asian markets.
Tell us about the skeptics. How will Shark Wheel prove overtime this new wheel is nothing but legitimate?
I think for any company that comes out with big claims (especially a new company), people should have the right to be very skeptical and we’re okay with that. We know how well our technology works and we’re in this for the long haul so we’re intended on proving it to people by winning large international competitions via the high performance aspects of the wheel. In terms of acceptance from the public however, it also has to do with how often people see it in the public, and we think when people start seeing the shark wheel in every skate shop or every luggage shop it will become a normal thing.
Another tactic we used against the doubters was that we actually picked around 33 people that were the most negative towards the company, and we private messaged them and sent them free wheels. By doing so, we turned our skeptics into real believers who eventually became the biggest defenders of our product.
What can the current fans expect from Shark Wheel in the upcoming years? Are there any special events or exhibitions to take note of?
We’re the main sponsor for the Venice beach Go-Skateboard day, which is happening in just under 3 weeks. We plan to show off our new products and prototypes for the future in what is the biggest skateboard capital of the world.
We’re really a research development company always looking to improve our product and even though we only have a few lines of product out right now, we have an amazing all-star team with the ability to engineer whatever we decide to do. There are so many different styles of skateboarding from solemn riders, to downhill riders, to free rider to cruisers and in given time, our product allows us to appeal to all of them and that is very exciting.