I like to use my SLR, but there are many times when I leave it behind because I’m not sure whether it’ll be able to handle the conditions I plan to be using it in. LA-based hardware startup Outex is trying to make sure that photographers can use their cameras anywhere, without having to fork over north of $ 1,000 for environmental protection gear, and it’s taking to Kickstater to fund the latest piece in its product puzzle.
The Outex is a flexible casing for DSLR and other interchangeable lens cameras (it works with mirrorless systems, too) created by founder JR deSouza and his cousin Roberto Miglioli based on their shared love of photography, a hand-me-down from their grandfather, and a lack of good affordable options on the market for protecting cameras during use in harsh conditions. DeSouza told me in an interview that he and his cousin needed something that would work for surfing, kayaking, shooting around the pool, military applications and more, but that didn’t mean sacrificing portability or spending a mint to buy.
In a little over a year, the company has already managed to rack up some impressive customers, including photographers working for Red Bull, National Geographic, Outside Magazine and Vogue. The Outex is being used by a lot of videographers now, too, and the company wanted to build a solution into its product that better serves that market, while also opening up new possibilities for still photography. That’s what this Kickstarter project is about: funding the creation of the “Big O,” an LCD viewfinder window for the Outex.
DeSouza says they came up with the window after first toying with the idea of adding some kind of external LCD monitor to the Outex, and then realizing that the simpler, better and more widely compatible solution would be to simply add a glass window to the case (which itself resembles a kind of camera wetsuit) that would allow the built-in monitors on cameras to be used in any circumstances. Being able to see the viewfinder while the camera was in the Outex was one of the most common customer requests, however, according to deSouza, so coming up with some kind of solution was necessary.
Seeking Kickstarter backing is a first for Outex, and deSouza explained that the reason it went the crowdfunding route this time around was actually the result of a combination of factors.
“I felt that Kickstarter would be a good opportunity to accelerate our development,” deSouza explained. “The key is to be genuine and to do Kickstarter for what it is, and it becomes a great opportunity to get the word out and discover other things[...] I really do think there’s value to the community and the discovery process that also comes along with Kickstarter.”
Outex isn’t meant to be hardcore scuba gear like the Ikelite protectors favored by professional photographers, but where those cost around $ 1,500, a $ 375 pledge gets you everything you need to outfit your SLR with protection for up to 10 meters of submersion, as well as a host of other environmental perils. With the cost of high-quality photo gear coming down, it’s only fitting that a hardware startup emerges to so challenge the price tag on some of the more expensive accessories, too.
Being based in Canada means that I’m often traveling for work, and that means fiddling with SIM cards. A new Kickstarter project from the same people who brought you the X-Wing joke campaign proposes to make keeping track of those SIMs and navigating international border-crossing much easier, with a simple design that adds a couple of simple twists to a basic low-profile iPhone case design.
Unlike the X-Wing squadron project, the SIMPLcase, as creators Simon Kwan and Ed Dean call their latest project, isn’t a joke. It’s a minimalist case (which adds just 3mm to the iPhone 5 at its thickest point) that houses a SIM tray capable of holding up to three SIMs (in addition to the one inside your phone) as well as an ejector tool. It also has a groove in the back which, combined with any credit, debit or ID card, helps transform it into a basic stand for propped-up portrait or landscape viewing.
The SIM and ejector tray is rubber to better grip those tiny fiddly components and make sure they don’t get lost, and the cases all ship with an ejector tool compatible with the iPhone in case you’ve misplaced your original (it’s remarkably easy to do). And while the initial project will be designed for iPhone 5, there also exists an iPhone 4/4S prototype, which the guys plan to put in production should there prove to be enough demand to justify it.
Ed and Simon know a thing or two about tripping around the world. They met working in the same shared office space in Shanghai, after growing up in London, England and Boston respectively. Both have ample experience in graphic design and product development, and first-hand knowledge of supply chain logistics, meaning they have the know-how to deliver on their project timeline of a June 2013 anticipated ship date.
Is there enough demand out there for an iPhone case aimed specifically at world travelers? That remains to be seen, but given that SIMPLcase is only looking for $ 20,000 in backer money, with pre-orders starting at just $ 12 and including free shipping anywhere in the world (cheaper than a lot of brand-name slim cases), I don’t think they’ll have that much trouble selling out the first batch, if only to satisfy the needs of people like me who perfectly fit the niche market they’re targeting.
I’ve backed an embarrassing number of Kickstarter projects, almost all of them in the hardware/gadget categories, and I’ve been disappointed more than I’ve been delighted. The Slim wallet by Supr however bucks the trend, delivering a front-pocket wallet that finally and truly deserves the honor of actually being carried in that place.
Minneapolis-based Supr Good Co. initially launched the Slim in August, with a funding goal of just $ 10,000 and an estimated shipping date of September for their minimalist wallet design, which essentially is just an elastic sheath measuring only 3mm thick. The U.S.-made wallet still boasts classic good looks despite its simplicity, however, thanks to a striking contrast-stitched “X” front-and-center where the two ends of the elastic material used in its construction meet.
Because of the wallet’s simplicity, a reviewer like myself doesn’t need to mince words: this is pretty much a perfect slim wallet for those who want just the basics in a lightweight, convenient package. I carry just four cards and some bills, all of which tuck into the Slim snugly in a way that leaves me confident nothing is going to accidentally fall out or go missing. It manages to be slimmer than the Fossil front pocket wallet it replaces, and a lot lighter, too. I’ve also varied the number of cards I’ve had in there over the past week, and so far, the elastic shows no sign of excess stretch or an inability to return to holding fewer cards securely.
Supr missed their original shipping target by a fair margin, but they were very transparent about their reasons for doing so, and they did also eventually deliver a terrific product. The online shop hasn’t officially opened yet, but you can register your interest for the Slim when it does start to ship to the general public. Kickstarter may not have the security of ordering gadgets from established companies, but when it works, it results in some amazing stuff that you aren’t likely to be able to pick up elsewhere.
Induction charging seems ready for its time in the spotlight, with the Nexus 4, Droid DNA and Lumia 920 all shipping with wireless charging based on the Qi standard built-in. Now a concept design that offers solar-powered wireless charging cleverly hidden inside a futuristic looking bonsai tree hopes to become a reality with the help of Kickstarter.
The electree+ began life as a concept by French designer Vivien Muller, which he originally unveiled in 2008. Then, three years later, Muller tried to bring the device to market, kicking off pre-orders for the device beginning at $ 370. She was aiming for 400 pre-sales, but the device eventually shipped to just a small group of 200 pre-order customers.
Now, the electree+ has been redesigned to maximize its solar efficiency, and to be manufactured in the USA at much larger volume, and for less money. The redesigned electree+ boasts a 14,000mAh internal battery, which when fully charged can fill an iPhone 5 up to and over nine times. It features 27 solar panels at the tips of branches, which are adjustable to capture maximum light. It requires 36 hours in sunlight to build up a full charge, but it also only needs around 4 hours to build up enough juice to fully recharge your standard smartphone.
Other features, like an optional built-in- NFC chip, mean that it can trigger an action when a smartphone is placed on its surface, in order to put it into dock mood or manage smart home connected devices, like light fixtures and curtains. It also has changeable faceplates, if you’re feeling bored by a particular color. Plus, the electree+ is environmentally friendly, since it’s just sipping sunlight to deliver charges to your devices.
The electree+ has two USB ports, including one designed for devices with lower power requirements like smartphones, and one for tablets which feature faster charging powers. As mentioned, because it uses Qi, it’ll work out of the box with the Nexus 4 and other smartphones with Qi inductive charging coils built-in, but it should also work with iPhones so long as they have a wireless charging case.
Pre-orders begin at $ 199, depending on what kind of options you want, and the team behind the redesigned electree+ wants to hit at least 1,000 pre-sales, or a total funding amount of $ 200,000 in order to go to production. It’s an ambitious project, but unlike with a lot of products on Kickstarter, this is one that’s actually been made and shipped, so hopefully the team stands a better chance than most of hitting their May 2013 target ship date.Related Posts:
Imagine it’s Thanksgiving morning and you’re with the family. You creep down the stairs, Sheriff in hand, and sneak in on dear old dad as he makes bacon pancakes. You set your weapon on “shotgun” and pull the trigger. A volley of hot rubber whangs him in the legs, his old frame buckling as he takes the shot. Another kill. All this can be yours with the Bandit, an automatic rubber band gun built for speed and (mild) pain infliction. The project, created by Bob Coulston, is a DIY, easy-to-assemble rubber band gun that can fire single bands, multiple bands in rapid succession, or all the bands at once, creating a hellstorm of flying bands.
The Outlaw model supports only single shots at a time while the Sheriff can be put into shotgun mode. The kit comes with all the laser-cut parts you need to assemble the gun and it’s held together with a few bolts.
Coulston describes the genesis of the gun thusly:The idea of Bandit Guns was created when my three children Kelsey, Macy, and Bobby (now 14, 11, and 9 years old) came down in the wood shop while I was building a set of cabinets for a client. Excited, they asked me if I could help them make a rubber band gun. Remembering all the fun I had with my rubber band gun that my father made for me, I cut out three blocks of wood that somewhat looked like a gun and nailed a clothespin to the top with a notch on the front of the barrel for the rubber band to hook into. I showed them how to load it and fire at a piece of wood sitting at the end of the workbench. Bobby said,”Single shot, Dad? Boring, I want to make my own rubber band gun!” He knows he can’t use the power tools so that got me to thinking about how I could create a kit that he could assemble and would make him feel as if he made it himself but, still cool enough that his friends would want one too. That was the beginning, after the first model having over 50 parts and not even working. Approximately 100 versions later the Bandit Gun was created with what you see today. Being a kid at heart, I probably use the Bandit Gun more than they do.
He is way over his goal of $ 5,000 and there are only 16 more days to pledge. I’d personally recommend buying the $ 300 package that gets you 10 Sheriff guns so you and your extended family can spend the next year giving each other (mild) welts as you go about your daily business.Related Posts:
3D systems has filed a lawsuit against both Formlabs and Kickstarter for patent infringement. Formlabs is the manufacturer of a low-cost 3D printer called the Form 1. Thanks to the stereolithography printing technique, the Form 1 can achieve professional grade 3D printing in a small hobbyist printer. It quickly became a Kickstarter success. Yet, in 1997 3D Systems patented stereolithography applications and now wants reparation from Formlabs, and Kickstarter who promoted the printer.
The Kickstarter fundraising campaign topped $ 1.4 million in pre-orders in just under a week, making it one of the notable successes of the platform. Formlabs ultimately raised $ 2,945,885. Kickstarter is financially involved as it takes a 5 percent cut on each campaign, according to the BBC.
Instead of using traditional melting techniques, Formlabs has opted for the “gold standard” in 3D printing — stereolithography, a high-precision positioning system designed to solidify plastics. It allows you to use thin structures in your original 3D model and achieve a level of detail never seen in home 3D printing, especially for $ 2,299.
Similarly priced competitors, such as MakerBots, use a more traditional melting technique that doesn’t lead to the same rendering. On the other end of the spectrum, high-end competitors cost anywhere between $ 10,000 and $ 1 million. The Form 1 was the printer aiming at bridging the gap between those two categories.
But 3D Systems carefully patented stereolithography when it comes to 3D printing. According to the company, its patent portfolio is well-known in the industry, and feigning ignorance won’t be enough to defend the Form 1.
When we initially covered Formlabs’ Kickstarter success, the company claimed that it managed to keep costs low because a few patents had expired. Co-founder Maxim Lobovsky didn’t state which patent exactly, but 3D Systems believes that Formlabs infringed claims 1 and 34 of U.S. Patent No. 5,597,520.
Aside from direct patent infringement, 3D Systems claims that the crowd-funding campaign has caused “immediate and irreparable injury and damage to 3D Systems” by promoting the new printer.
Formlabs and Kickstarter declined to comment.Related Posts:
Lumawake, an innovative iPhone dock designed to work with both 30-pin and lightning dock connectors, today kicks off its own pre-orders in a self-run crowdfunding attempt to bring its product to market. The team faced rejection from Kickstarter just one short week ago, after that crowdfunding platform changed its hardware project rules to minimize their role in the overall platform mix. Now it’s back, and the team tells me they’re confident that going it alone in the manner of App.net and Lockitron will help make sure that Lumawake makes it to market.
So what exactly does Lumawake do? Well it’s an iPhone dock, which means it’ll charge your device, and it’s made to be used with replaceable modules to help make sure that it’ll work with both iPhone 4/4S and the iPhone 5, using either the legacy dock connector or the new Lightning port. And, as indicated by the “luma” portion of its name, it features a soft-lighted top, which you can customize through your device. But the real magic is in the Lumawake’s more advanced, intelligent functions, including its ability to monitor your sleep patters from a bedside table via IR motion sensors, wake you when you’ll feel most rested, and work together with home automation systems to ensure that as you’re waking up, your house will be, too.
The Lumawake is no ordinary dock. It has a built-in microprocessor, the aforementioned LEDs and motion sensors designed to be as accurate as wearable monitors, but without having to stay with you in bed as you sleep. Using a free app, it can be used to schedule wake and sleep events, like turning off lights or the TV as you nod off, or starting the coffee maker when it wakes you up in the morning. And thanks to those built-in lights, it can simulate a sunrise to try and ease the transition from bed to waking life.
Click to view slideshow.Already, Lumawake has partnerships with SmartThings and Belkin’s WeMo, two home automation solutions that should help it perform a variety of wake up and bedtime tasks. Lumawake’s Scott Roehrick, the company’s Chief Outreach Officer, told me in an interview that the startup is working on a number of other partnerships, too. Lumwake also is an existing Apple MFi licensee, meaning it should have no problem getting the devices approved from the perspective of Apple sign-off on its designs.
Lumawake is looking for pre-orders from early adopters of $ 149 per unit, using the Selfstarter.us open-source crowdfunding platform created by Lockitron for its own fundraising efforts. Lockitron was also turned down by Kickstarter, but went on to raise $ 1.5 million on its own for its remote home locking system. Roehrick says that going it alone should help Lumawake gain more attention, since it’s still an exception rather than the rule, and also says it means they can set additional rules, like the one they’ve established that says they don’t collect any funds from backers until they’re actually ready to ship a physical device to their homes.
“At the end of the day, I think we’re confident enough in our product that we can just go off and do it,” he said. “It’s kind of scary… it was incredibly intimidating, but Lockitron was the first to do it and they’re Y Combinator as well, so they have that advantage. It’s a calculated risk, and we’re not 100 percent sure it’ll work… but we think there’s going to be a movement to do this, and we want to be one of the first.”
The SmartDock is definitely an impressive-looking product, and one that goes well beyond your typical, relatively inert bedside smartphone stand or even speaker dock. The company is putting a lot on the line by trying to crowdfund itself, without the benefit of a brand like Kickstarter to back it up, but the possibilities it entails are exciting, and that’s likely going to go a long way towards convincing a highly motivated group of early adopter, gadget-loving risk-takers.Related Posts:
Editor’s note: Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research and writer for Engadget. Each column will look at crowdfunded products that have either met or missed their funding goals. Follow him on Twitter.
Designers of innovative high-tech products often face a dilemma between two of Kickstarter’s more popular categories. Should they mix in with the host of camera stabilizers, video dollies and iPhone acessories that populate the Product Design category? Or should they take their chances in the geekier, enthusiast project-driven Technology category? This week’s campaigns — launched on the same day — opted for the latter, but have achieved different levels of momentum.
Backed: AdTrap. The beneficent and upstanding job creators responsible for the various promotional quadrilaterals surrounding this column are among the finest people in the world. They seek only to alert you to their wonderful products and services so that they may enrich your life in ways delightful and rewarding; their missives demand only a pittance of some distraction and bandwidth consumption. And the memories of punching that monkey and Orbitz mini-golf will last a lifetime. Why one would ever want to use the Web or mobile devices without such enrichment is difficult to say.
Nonetheless, ne’er-do-well Chad Russell has won early support for his campaign using this one weird, old tip to eliminate online ads from the Web and app experience: AdTrap. The small white brick with Satanic green underlighting attaches to your home network and requires no configuration, as it serves all devices within the home and the dark lord. Alas, AdTrap won’t do anything to trap ads received over cellular connections, although a follow-on product might be an ad-blocking personal hotspot.
In a dark time before crowdfunding, known as 2005, a small device called Stingray was marketed at a similar price point. It was a zero-configuraton firewall that soon vanished from the market. But while firewall exceptions can be tricky to manage, it’s likely easier to manage ads on an all-or-nothing basis. Surely you, upstanding Web citizen, will do the right thing and choose all. But others are motoring AdTrap to a successful campaign, clearing 70 percent of the requested $ 150,000 with 22 days to go.
Whacked: Freakvibe. It may be a little early to call Freakvibe a failed campaign, but it has a long way to go toward its $ 90,000 Kickstarter goal. With only 10 percent down and 22 days to go, the company will only have a shot if it can pull out some strong late-inning support. The small brick-like speaker can, like countless other audio amplifiers, play music via an old-school, 30-pin dock connector or via Bluetooth. But what really sets the 2.1 system apart from most competitors is its ability to play music via near-field amplification. This means you can simply place any portable music-playing device atop the Freakvibe — even an old-school iPod nano — and it will amplify its audio output, even without any Bluetooth pairing.
Oh sure, you say, next I’ll be telling you that that there are invisible “radio waves” that we can use to send data anywhere and “gases” around us that we need to live. Yet, earlier this year, the accessory wizards over at ZAGG, Inc. turned their attention from Invisible Shields to invisible fields to offer the similar $ 39 iFrogz’ Boost, now being updated to the $ 59 Boost Plus. As is typical in Kickstarter, you’ll pay a premium for encouraging entrepreneurialism; $ 89 is the entry-level pledge to get your Freakvibe on and goes up from there to $ 149 for a version with Qi wireless charging, so you can charge your Nokia Lumia 920, Nexus 4 or Droid DNA. That’s a bit less to pay up than for PlayUp, JBL’s Nokia-inspired Qi-enabled Bluetooth boombox.Related Posts:
Editor’s note: After a rejection by Kickstarter, the co-founders of Lockitron, Cameron Robertson and Paul Gerhardt, decided to follow in the footsteps of App.net and take pre-orders for their innovative deadbolt add-on directly. This gamble paid off. Big time. The initial goal of $ 150,000 pre-orders was hit within 24 hours. Now, just five days after launching, the company has $ 1,500,000 in pre-orders. This is their story told by Cameron.
I’m still having a hard time believing that only a few short days ago, my co-founder Paul and I refreshed our homepage, anxiously waiting to see if anyone would subscribe to our vision for Lockitron and help us climb towards our lofty $ 150,000 goal. With reservations now exceeding 1,000% of our original target and most of the time left in our campaign, we are immensely thankful to our 10,000+ backers who have made this possible.
Just four months ago we squeezed in with over a hundred other hardware startup devotees to listen to the creators of some of the most popular and impressive Kickstarter projects impart their wisdom. The folks behind Pebble, Skallops and the Brydge answered dozens of questions about their success on Kickstarter; how much effort should you put into the video, did press matter, why did some projects take off and others flop. At one point, our moderator asked the group for a show of hands. “How many of you plan to release your own Kickstarter?” Nearly every hand in the room went up.
Kickstarter meant that for the first time hardware companies could take their ideas straight to the masses, bypassing the gatekeepers of venture capital, and de-risking their business in one fell swoop.
It wasn’t that long ago in Silicon Valley that the very mention of the word “hardware” in the context of fundraising was enough to glaze over the collective eyes of venture capital.
While we are just beginning to witness a renaissance of software wrapped in plastic, the traditionally high costs of making hardware, coupled with the perception of the low margins characteristic of the bygone PC-era, weigh heavily on risk-reward calculation for new investments.
So it was not surprising that Kickstarter gave hardware startups hope.
From its inception, however, Kickstarter was never designed as a store. Kickstarter’s benchmark for success is matching and exceeding the funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, not becoming the Apple store for yet-to-be realized products.
Last month, mounting backer frustration over project delays seemed to boil over when a series of articles ran detailing what some had been wondering; how many of these projects failed to deliver to their backers?
The question of who exactly assumed underwriting the risks for projects loomed large despite Kickstarter’s reaffirmation that creators were indeed responsible for delivering what they promised.
Consequently, new guidelines and rules were developed to meet these challenges and to protect backers using their site.
We applied to Kickstarter on a Wednesday, “Kickstarter Is Not a Store” landed on Thursday and by Friday we were rejected. We reached out to a co-founder of Kickstarter through our network. A brief e-mail exchange ensued, culminating with a firm “No” – stating that Lockitron fell into the “home improvement” category of prohibited projects. Kickstarter was simply not the right place for it, he said.
By the following Monday we knew what we had to do. We would launch Lockitron on our own, in an attempt to emulate the success that Dalton Caldwell had with App.net.
In running our own ad-hoc crowdfunding campaign, we knew that we needed to solve the same challenges inherent in Kickstarter’s model for running a hardware campaign.
Our solution was to create a customer-focused system. We decided to collect payment information using Amazon Payments, batch Lockitron shipments for customer transparency regarding delivery dates and only charge customers when their unit is ready to ship. This drives us to make the best product possible rather than overpromise what we can deliver on.
This approach also lets us know how many units to make and qualifies our backers as willing to put money down for the product when delivery time comes due, all while removing risk for them.
Since we only earn our keep once a customer’s Lockitron is ready, we are incentivized to use faster, low-volume/custom-quality production methods that may cost more initially, but will ultimately help us to compress our timelines.
Finally, this past Tuesday (October 2nd), just over a week after Kickstarter declined Lockitron, we took the plunge, fixated on our computer screens after a sleepless night filled with last minute video and website tweaks.
What followed over the next 24-hours was nothing short of stunning – thousands of people saw our vision and voted with their wallets to reserve a Lockitron, blowing past our initial goal in a matter of hours.
It’s debatable whether or not we will see another Pebble or Ouya on Kickstarter. But something I can’t emphasize enough is how much the success of our crowdfunding experiment is predicated on the groundwork that Kickstarter put in place. We are indebted to Kickstarter for validating the incredible potential of crowdfunding in bringing products to market.
Our crowdfunding method isn’t perfect. It requires that you have some resources to be able to kick off production of your product and I believe that there is room for a new model of crowdfunding.
Hardware startups need a platform that would add value for customers and producers by acting as an escrow for funds while validating and assisting fledgling hardware companies with their production plans. Consequently, we are planning to open source a skeletal version of our crowdfunding app to help start this discussion.
The power to ultimately go ahead and purchase a Lockitron rests with our backers. The onus is on us to justify and substantiate any delays along the way. Just as popular hardware Kickstarter projects have proven, it will be our willingness to involve excited Lockitron backers in our progress and turn them into happy customers that will drive our success.Related Posts:
But FormLabs has found a way to bring the high-end performance of top-notch machines down to the price of a Makerbot. Yesterday, they launched the Form 1, an affordable, professional 3D printer, on Kickstarter with the goal of reaching $ 100,000 in funding in one month. Today, they’ve received about $ 660,000 and have over 400 backers. And the number keeps climbing.
I spoke with co-founder Maxim Lobovsky about his sudden success, asking him how the Form 1 differentiates in the space. Essentially, there are two groups of 3D printers, the high-end professional machines and the hobbyist machines. The high-end printers cost anywhere between $ 10,000 and $ 1 million, whereas hobbyist machines cost between $ 2,000 and $ 3,000, yet don’t have the same high resolution output.
“We see Form 1 as the first 3D printer that takes affordability to the high-end, professional level,” said Lobovsky.
To give you some perspective, Makerbots start at $ 2,199, and the most basic Form 1 pledge you can make on Kickstarter is $ 2,299, and includes “the full Form 1 package including the printer, 1L resin, and Form Finish Kit.” Clearly, Formlabs isn’t looking to undercut price, but then again, this isn’t another hobbyist 3D printer. Lobovsky believes his competition lies with the professional machines, and in terms of those costs, the Form 1 is a steal.
There were only 25 spaces for the basic Form 1 package, which sold out almost immediately.
The Form 1 uses Stereolithography to help makers product their designs. It’s considered the “gold standard” in 3D printing, using a high-precision positioning system to direct a laser onto a tray of liquid resin. This achieves “dramatically better resolution,” according to Lobovsky.
But perhaps more important than the technology is the ecosystem around Form 1. The guys at FormLabs have created software that imports .STL models from any 3D CAD package, supporting structures for complex geometry. And after importing, it only takes a few clicks to get the machine fired up and printing.
This allows any designer or engineer, from the professionals at major corporations to the students putzing around in SketchUp, to enjoy the same high-performance as big companies.
“Bringing the cost of these expensive machines down isn’t enough,” said Lobovsky. “These machines are usually operated by someone entirely dedicated to the job. We knew if we wanted to make the Form 1 available to every maker, every designer, we had to make every part of it accessible. So we streamlined the process.”
According to Lobovsky, there’s no magic formula or secret sauce to Kickstarter success, though he did say they spent extra time and effort on the video and imagery within the post, as well as honing their message. We’ve seen a few stories like this, namely that of the Pebble smartwatch, yet all of the shining stars of Kickstarter are very different. Rather, it’s the demand for this product that has led to such success.
FormLabs claims there are around 30,000 professional 3D printers installed around the world. However, approximately 10 million people actively use 3D CAD software. FormLabs simply aims to fill in the gap.
The most amazing part of this already-amazing story is the way that FormLabs was able to bring down the cost of the machine. Lobovsky says it was thanks in large part to three different factors.
The first is that the team used a new kind of laser, specifically a 405nm Bluray laser diode. In the past, the lasers used to run these professional 3D printers have cost more than the machine itself. With this new type of laser that only recently came on the market, FormLabs was able to keep manufacturing (and thus market) costs down.
The second factor was the expiration of a few patents, meaning that the team didn’t need to pay high licensing fees to get this product to market.
Finally, and most importantly, FormLabs was able to look at all those high-end, $ 10k+ machines, and essentially decide what was necessary.
“Most high-end machines are built for companies with specific needs and don’t want to compromise on performance in certain areas,” said Lobovsky. “We looked for the base feature set that is useful for a lot of people.”
It took FormLabs just under three hours to reach their goal, and with the way this number keeps climbing, I wouldn’t be surprised if they surpassed Pebble’s $ 10.27 million in funding by the end of the month.Related Posts: