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Ninja Blocks smashes Kickstarter target in one weekend

Tuesday, 14 February 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

An Australian tech entrepreneur has sung the praises of US-based crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, after his start-up Ninja Blocks smashed its $24,000 target in just one weekend.

 

Marcus Schappi heads up Ninja Blocks a “simple but powerful” device backed by a web service called Ninja Cloud.

 

Ninja Cloud is integrated into users’ Ninja Blocks, allowing them to easily listen and talk to web services such as Twitter, Facebook and Dropbox.

 

Each Ninja Block comes with an RGB LED and built-in temperature sensor and accelerometer. Four expansion ports and a regular USB port allow users to add further inputs and outputs.

 

Ninja Cloud allows users to control their Ninja Blocks without writing a single line of code.

 

Using Ninja Cloud, users can program their Ninja Block by creating “Tasks”, which are made up of “Triggers” and “Actions”.

 

Users can tell their Ninja to perform tasks such as taking a picture of their front yard and saving it to Dropbox when movement is detected, and receiving a notification on their phone when a package is left at their door.

 

In a bid to raise funds, Ninja Blocks posted its project on Kickstarter, a US-based crowdfunding platform allowing users to seek funding for their projects from the Kickstarter community.

 

Kickstarter is powered by an all-or-nothing funding method, so projects must be fully funded or no money changes hands.

 

Ninja Blocks posted its project on Kickstarter about two weeks ago, with the goal of raising $24,000. According to Schappi, this target was reached over the course of a single weekend.

 

Ninja Blocks has more than doubled its target, so far raising $53,850 from 329 backers, and there are still 25 days to go until the project is funded. Schappi anticipates the figure could hit $70,000.

 

“We’re very happy with what we’ve been able to do,” Schappi says.

 

“Kickstarter was a great way to fund our product and do so in a way that meant we didn’t give up any equity.”

 

Schappi says the funding will be used to manufacture the product and create new channels. He believes people like the Ninja Blocks concept because they can “tinker” with it.

 

With regard to Kickstarter, he points out that the platform isn’t available for Australian start-ups, at least not directly.

 

“As an Australian company, you cannot get on [to Kickstarter]. It’s a killer. Find an American that can be a proxy for you,” he says.