Beating the Odds: How We Used Crowdfunding to Build a Community and Launch a Product
Today’s Vancouver Founder Friday speaker on the surprise benefits of her company’s successful Kickstarter campaign.
By Janice Cheam (Founder, President, & CEO, Energy Aware Technology)
Imagine if one day the same washing machine you’ve always used started reminding you when you forgot to dry your clothes. Or that you found out that your sound system and TV are costing you $30 a month, even though you thought they were off.
This is the concept that inspired my team at Energy Aware to create Neurio, a new technology that can make any home a self-learning home. We were excited about the idea. However, commercializing a new product can be daunting and risky. Even when you think you have a great product, one always wonders if anyone else will think so too. We decided to launch Neurio on Kickstarter as a way to both validate the market appeal of the product and to help raise early revenue to help fund its commercialization.
Neurio launched on Kickstarter on October 15, 2013, and in just one month it raised over $267,000 from 1,900 backers in 40+ countries. This has been an exciting product launch, but another great outcome that took us by surprise was the feedback we received directly from our customers throughout the process. We have received hundreds of comments and emails from supporters telling us exactly what they thought about the idea and improvement suggestions before we’ve even begun production. Some of the recent modifications we’ve made to Neurio have been based on what the community has told us in the last few weeks.
Traditionally, products are launched based on market research and focus groups, which can be tough to do without a dedicated budget. Crowdfunding has been an invaluable experience for us, and I’m sure we’ll see more and more creators using it as way to raise early funds, connect with future customers and involve them in the design process.
About the guest blogger: Janice is the founder, President, & CEO of Energy Aware Technology, which was named Most Promising Startup by the BC Tech. Industry Association and Top Tech Company of BC on Rocketbuilder’s Ready to Rocket Cleantech List. She was recognized by Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 Awards & in the Westender’s 20 under 29.