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Crowdfunding comics

Comics for those late hardware nights

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Previous stories

Ben Jacobs, Co-Founder & CEO of Whistle

Whistle is an activity tracker that helps you stay connected to your dog. The company is trying to get their share of the $60 billion that is spent every year on pets. Whistle raised funding and quietly built their product and team for a year before launching in June of 2013. We sat down with Co-Founder and CEO Ben Jacobs to discuss launching without crowdfunding, testing their product and choosing a name to build a brand.

Francesco Giartosio, Founder and CEO of GlassUp

GlassUp are augmented reality glasses that display messages from your smartphone. The company raised $127,738 on Indiegogo and is working towards finishing their initial prototype. We sat down with Founder and CEO Francesco Giartosio to discuss competing with Google, the challenges with prototyping and the future of wearable technology.

Peter Riering-Czekalla, Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer of NudeAudio

NudeAudio is on a mission to make premium quality wireless speakers accessible to everyone. The company competes with big names like Beats and Jambox by creating speakers that bring speakers back to their core function: playing music well. We sat down with Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer Peter Riering-Czekalla to discuss validating their idea without crowdfunding, focusing on the core function of your product and building an affordable premium device.

Kunal Dalal, Founder and CEO of Accidentally Extraordinary

Accidentally Extraordinary are the makers of headphones that are made of sustainably-grown wood with the strength and style of stainless steel. The company was started by Founder and CEO Kunal Dalal, a former high school teacher, with an undying love for headphones. We sat down with Kunal to discuss his unlikely journey to entrepreneurship, finding manufacturers and competing in an industry with giants.

Edward Tang, CEO of Avegant

Avegant are the makers of Glyph, a mobile personal theater with built in premium audio. Glyph creates a unique visual experience that doesn’t use any screens — the image is projected directly onto your retina. The company launched on Kickstarter, raising over $1.5 million in 30 days. We sat down with CEO Edward Tang to discuss what they learned from Kickstarter, discovering the feasibility of a product and the future of multimedia.

Josh Chan & Tarun Pondicherry, Co-Founders of LightUp

LightUp helps kids learn about electronics through circuit building blocks (LEDs, buzzers, sensors and microcontroller) and an interactive mobile app that explains how everything works. The company was founded by Josh Chan and Tarun Pondicherry as a way to change how kids learn about technology. After completing HAXLR8R, the company went on to raise over $120,000 on Kickstarter. We sat down with the two co-founders to discuss the education space, hardware iterations and what they’ve learned working with manufacturers.

Calvin Chu, Founder & CEO of Palette

Palette is the first freeform hardware interface that offers hands-on control of your favorite software. After coming up with the idea while in school, the company graduated from the hardware accelerator HAXLR8R and then went on to raise over $150,000 on Kickstarter. We sat down with Founder and CEO Calvin Chu to discuss hardware accelerators, turning a university project into a business, and navigating the Chinese manufacturing world.

Monisha Perkash, Co-Founder and CEO of Lumo BodyTech

Lumo BodyTech uses smart sensors and software to help people improve their health. The company ran a Kickstarter campaign for their first product, Lumo Back, raising over $200,000. The company recently launched pre-orders for their second product, Lumo Lift, on their own site, selling over 16,000 units for a total of $1.1M. We sat down with Co-Founder and CEO Monisha Perkash to discuss expanding their product line, getting into the Apple Store and why they chose to launch their second product without Kickstarter.

Peter Dering, Founder and CEO of Peak Design

Peak Design are the makers of camera equipment that enables photographers, adventurers and outdoors enthusiasts to better capture the beautiful world around them. The company has launched three successful Kickstarter campaigns, raising nearly $1.4 million total. We sat down with Founder and CEO Peter Dering to discuss building their brand, finding manufacturers, and running three wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns.

Brian Krieger, Co-founder and CEO of Minna Life

Minna Life are the makers of pleasure products. The company introduced their first vibrator, Ola, two and a half years ago and launched their new product, Limon, on Indiegogo last year. The company was formed by a team that was passionate about innovating within the pleasure product market and had strong ties to a smart product design firm. We sat down with Co-Founder and CEO Brian Krieger to discuss balancing two businesses, how he tests manufacturers and overcoming the stigma of his industry.

Greg Ponesse, COO Of Bubl

Bubl Technologies are makers of the bublcam — a 360º camera and software technology that shares everything around you through spherical photos and videos. After bootstrapping their business for two years, the founders decided to launch their product on Kickstarter and raised $346,122. We sat down with COO Greg Ponesse to discuss bootstrapping their startup, finding manufacturers and what surprises him most about the startup community.

Isabel Hoffmann Founder & CEO of TellSpec

TellSpec is a hand-held device that will tell you the contents of your food — from macronutrients to specific ingredients. The idea for the device came when Founder and CEO Isabel Hoffmann asked herself how she could help others after her daughter fell ill. After coming up with the technology for the device, Isabel and her Co-Founder Dr Stephen Watson, a mathematics professor at York University, ran an Indiegogo campaign where they raised $386,392. We sat down with Isabel Hoffmann to discuss the technology behind the device, the mistakes they made in their crowdfunding campaign, and the life changing events that lead to the device’s invention.

David Glickman, Co-Founder & COO of Lively

Lively is a company that allows elderly adults to live on their own longer than ever before. Their product is a device that uses passive activity sensors to provide detail on an older adults’ activity as well as Livelygram, which is a digest of pictures and messages that is sent through the mail to update the user on their family. Lively has raised a total of $7.3 million and also ran a Kickstarter campaign last year. We sat down with Co-Founder and COO David Glickman to talk about what they learned being part of the PCH Accelerator, running a pilot program for their product and what they gained from their unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign.

Aamir Virani, Co-founder & COO of Dropcam

Dropcam is revolutionizing the way people stay connected to the places they care about. The company makes a line of cameras that allows anyone to better stay connected to their home, business, or anywhere else. We sat down with COO and Co-Founder Aamir Virani to discuss how they view marrying hardware and software, iterating on customer feedback and lessons learned raising $47.8 million in funding.

Drew Downs, Co-founder & CEO of GelaSkins

GelaSkins are crafters of artist-designed art prints, stretched canvases and tech accessories. The company was started by Drew Downs and Jamie Pichora based on an idea they had on a car ride home from a wedding. The seemingly simple idea turned into a business that has grown to 35 employees. We sat down with Co-Founder and CEO Drew Downs to discuss turning the rise of Apple into a successful company.

Duncan Frazier and Steve Mcguigan of Pixelstick

Pixelstick adds photoreal images, abstract designs, and animation to your long exposure photos and timelapse. After moving to New York, the team ran their first Kickstarter campaign last April, Remee, raising over half a million dollars. Now, the duo is running their second campaign for Pixelstick and have raised almost half a million dollars halfway through their campaign. We sat down with co-founders Duncan Frazier and Steve Mcguigan to discuss their back-to-back hit campaigns.

Co-Founder & CEO of Canary

Canary is a simple device packed with smart sensors that empowers you to keep your home safe and secure — controlled through your mobile device. The company launched on Indiegogo and raised over $1.9 million. We sat down with Co-Founder and CEO Adam Sager to discuss why they chose to launch on Indiegogo, how they built an amazing team, and the vision that helped them become the most funded campaign ever on Indiegogo.

Mark Argo, Creative Technologist & Co-Founder of Aesthetec Studio

Aesthetec Studio is an interaction design and technology company that creates engaging experiences for Museums, Events and now Products. In September, the team launched a Kickstarter campaign for Little Robot Friends — robots that have their own unique personality that changes as you interact with them. We sat down with Aesthetec’s Creative Technologist & Co-Founder Mark Argo to discuss blending software and hardware, the future of interactive design and bringing an idea back to life.

Nick Evans, Co-Founder & CEO of Tile

Tile is the world’s largest lost and found. It can be placed on anything you want—your keys, wallet, laptop, or purse—and if you lose it, the Tile network will help you find it. Deciding to forgo traditional crowdfunding platforms, the Tile team decided to launch it on their own site, raising over $2.6 million. We sat down with CEO and Founder Nick Evans to discuss his past at companies like Pebble and Lockitron, his advice for hardware entrepreneurs and the months of work that make you look like an overnight success.

Ethan Imboden, Founder & Chairman of Jimmyjane

Jimmyjane is a design-centric brand that makes beautifully designed, high-end sex accessories. The company was founded in 2003 by Founder and Chairman Ethan Imboden, who has been referred to as ‘the Steve Jobs of sex toys.' Since then, the company has received critical design acclaim for its innovative products. We sat down with Ethan to discuss how they market their brand, his unusual path into sex accessories and how he approaches designing some of the most leading-edge products in his industry.

Idan Beck, Founder of gTar

Incident Technologies are the makers of gTar, the first guitar that anybody can play. The team launched their Kickstarter campaign at TechCrunch Disrupt and reached their funding goal in 11 hours. We sat down with Founder Idan Beck to discuss finding the right investors, learning to make hardware and why he left a big company to follow his dreams.

Arye Barnehama, Co-Founder and CEO of Melon

Melon is a headband and mobile app that helps you gain insight into how your mind works by tracking your focus during any activity you choose. Started by two Cognitive Scientists, they designed Melon to help people take better control over their lives by better understanding their minds. After being in China as part of the first class of HAXLR8R, the team did a Kickstarter campaign that raised $290,941. We sat down with CEO and Co-Founder Arye Barnehama to discuss their time in China, their one piece of Kickstarter advice and how to build a business around your passion.

Karl Martin, CEO & Co-Founder of Bionym

Bionym develops innovative, state-of-the-art biometric recognition technologies. Recently the company launched Nymi, a wristband that uses your unique cardiac rhythm to authenticate your identity. Choosing to forgo traditional crowdfunding platforms, the Bionym team instead launched a campaign on their own website, selling over $400,000 in the first two weeks. We sat down with Co-Founder and CEO Karl Martin to discuss their launch strategy, finding their place in a crowded market and the future of wearable technology.

Ayah Bdeir, CEO & Founder of littleBits

littleBits is an opensource library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun. The company was created as a way to make electronics and learning more accessible for the iPad generation. We sat down with CEO and Founder Ayah Bdeir to discuss the pitfalls of crowdfunding campaigns, finding the right investors and the open source hardware movement.

Dave Scott, Co-Founder of Amiigo

Amiigo is a fitness bracelet that seamlessly tracks your activities during the day. After being rejected on Kickstarter just before their launch, Dave Scott and Abe Carter used Indiegogo to raise over $500,000. We sat down with co-founder Dave Scott to discuss the team’s press strategies, the software side of the hardware business and positioning in a crowded market.

Zach Supalla, CEO & Co-Founder of Spark

Spark provides the tools to connect everyday electronics to the internet over Wi-Fi. After a failed Kickstarter campaign for internet-connected lighting, the team came back with their second product, the Spark Core, and raised over $500,000. We sat down with CEO and co-founder Zach Supalla to discuss their time in a hardware accelerator in China, building a community around Makers and bouncing back from failure.

Alice Brooks, CEO & Co-Founder of Roominate

Roominate is a wired dollhouse building kit for young girls. Founded by Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen, inspiration came from their own childhoods where they built instead of playing with Barbies. After raising $85,000 on Kickstarter, the Roominate team is on a mission to get more girls interested in the STEM fields. We sat down with CEO Alice Brooks to talk manufacturing in China, launching before you’re ready and innovating off of customer feedback.

Sally Carson, Co-Founder of Pinoccio

Pinoccio is an open source, wireless hardware platform for makers. Started by Sally Carson and Eric Jennings as a side project, Pinoccio went on to raise over $100,000 on Indiegogo to be the complete ecosystem for building the Internet of Things. We sat down with Sally to talk about bringing her software background to hardware, choosing Indiegogo over Kickstarter and building an open source community for the Internet of Things.

James Monsees, CEO & Co-Founder of Ploom

Ploom is a San Francisco based tobacco company. Founded by James Monsees and Adam Bowen as their Stanford Master’s thesis, the company is looking to change the tobacco industry and how people smoke. We sat down with James Monsees, Co-Founder and CEO, to discuss changing consumer habits, regulatory challenges and being a tobacco company in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Bryan Mcleod, CEO of Clickfree

Clickfree develops easy to use back-up solutions for personal and small business use. We sat down with Bryan McLeod, CEO of Clickfree and Kooboodle, the online photo storage and photo curating site. Before joining Clickfree, Bryan was the CEO of Intrigue Technologies, makers of the Harmony Remote, which sold to Logitech in 2004. Prior to that, Bryan owned a successful medical electronics business that was traded on the TSX. In this interview, Bryan discusses his previous exits, Clickfree’s success in TV shopping and bouncing back from business challenges.

Max Temkin, Co-Founder of Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity is described as a ‘party game for horrible people.’ After being on Kickstarter, the eight founders have turned the game into a cultural phenomenon. It’s had a hard time keeping up with the overwhelming demand and unlike many games, it’s only sold online. We sat down with one of the co-founders, Max Temkin, to discuss the game’s meteoric rise, giving their product away for free, and the guiding principles that dictate everything they do.

Chris Houston, Founder of SurfEasy

SurfEasy provides easy-to-use solutions for protecting customers' online privacy and security on any smartphone, tablet and computer. We sat down with CEO Chris Houston, who was the fourth employee at Boost and co-founded Amp’d before he started SurfEasy. In this in-depth interview, Chris talks privacy, bringing an idea to market and raising almost half a billion dollars in funding.

Jamey Stegmaier, Co-Founder of Stonemaier Gamers

Stonemaier Games is a board game company co-founded by Jamey Stegmaier, a life-long board game enthusiast who took a chance and created a board game campaign on Kickstarter. His first game, Viticulture, raised $65,980. His second game, Euphoria, raised $309,495. After having completed Kickstarter, Jamey’s been on a mission to share all of the knowledge he’s learned from his campaigns. We sat down with Jamey to talk about his experience, the lessons he’s learned and how to build and engage a community.

Eric Stackpole, Co-Founder of OpenROV

OpenROV makes open-source underwater robots for education and exploration. The project started 2010 in a garage in Cupertino, with a few guys who wanted to explore an underwater cave. OpenROV launched on Kickstarter in June 2012, raising $111,622, more than 5 times their initial goal. OpenROV now has community of hundreds of people working together to create more accessible, affordable tools for underwater exploration. We sat down with OpenROV Co-Founder Eric Stackpole to find out the secrets behind building a community from scratch and the future of underwater exploration.

Danielle Applestone, maker of OtherMill

Othermill is an easy to use, affordable, computer controlled mill that’s light enough to carry anywhere. With a government grant, Otherlab started a team called Otherfab to develop CNC machines and software for the classroom. The team raised over $300,000 for the Othermill on Kickstarter with over 650 backers. They have since spun out of Otherlab and formed Other Machine Company. We sat down with Danielle Applestone, Co-Founder of Other Machine Co., to talk about turning a job down inventing batteries, firing half her team, and building a lifelong company.

Lisa Q. Fetterman, Co-Founder & CEO of Nomiku

Nomiku is the first immersion circulator that brings sous vide cooking into the home with their beautiful and simple device. Nomiku raised over $586K on Kickstarter and will be shipping their first products this summer. We sat down with co-founder Lisa Fetterman to talk about their wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, going from publishing to hardware and dropping everything and moving to China.

Lauris Liberts, Co-Founder of Startup Vitamins

Startup Vitamins makes posters for Entrepreneurs. Their posters can be found around the world in awesome offices like Zappos, Path, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn. The company is one of the most recent in a line of 14 companies founded by Lauris Liberts under the Draugiem Group, including Draugiem — Latvia’s largest social network. We caught up with Lauris who is now living in LA to get his secret to mastering so many industries in such a short period of time.

Max Bogue, Co-Founder of 3Doodler

The 3Doodler is the world’s first 3D printing pen. The team raised over $2 million on Kickstarter, making them one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time. Prior to their Kickstarter campaign, Max Bogue and his co-founder brought over 15 products to market. We sat down with Max to talk about his background of flipping ideas to toy companies and the future of one of the most disruptive industries of our time, 3D printing.

David Merrill, Co-Founder and President of Sifteo

SIFTEO Cubes are an award winning interactive gaming platform that respond to your gestures and sense each other. Sifteo got its big break back in 2009 with a TED talk that has received over 1.3 million views. To date, the company has raised $13.5 million in venture financing and launched the second generation of the product last fall. We sat down with Sifteo’s Co-Founder David Merrill to discuss the company’s journey from the MIT Media Lab back in 2006 to today.

Cameron Robertson, Co-Founder of Lockitron

Lockitron, by Apigy, allows for keyless entry — controlled by your phone. The product lets you lock, or unlock, your door from anywhere in the world. Last fall Lockitron collected nearly $2.3 million in pre-orders for the second generation of the device on a crowdfunding platform they built from scratch. Today the team is just weeks away from shipping to their backers on July 15th. We sat down with Apigy Co-Founder Cameron Robertson to hear their story.

Ariel Garten, Co-Founder of InteraXon

MUSE is a comfortable, four sensor brain-sensing headband that measures your brainwaves and allows you to interact with apps and games on your smartphone, tablet, or PC. MUSE launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in October 2012 and nearly doubled their $150,000 goal, raising $287,472. We sat down with InteraXon co-Founder and CEO Ariel Garten to find out how it all started and to learn about what the company is focused on post-crowdfunding.

Stephen Lake, Co-Founder of Thalmic Labs

The MYO armband, by Thalmic Labs, lets you use the electrical activity in your muscles to wirelessly control your computer, phone, and other favorite digital technologies. Today, Thalmic announced a $14.5 million round of funding. The product was announced this February and in just the first month the company collected over $3.7 million in pre-orders. We sat down with Thalmic Labs Co-Founder and CEO Stephen Lake to find out the secrets behind their successful launch and to learn what's next for the team.