Michelle HammondFollow on twitter www.startupsmart.com.au
iPhone innovators look to US after securing Kickstarter funds
Two Melbourne entrepreneurs have turned to Kickstarter to help develop an iPhone mount that attaches to prams and bicycles, six months after the release of an iPhone case that doubles as a bottle opener.
Rob Ward and Chris Peters are currently in the United States in a bid to raise the profile of their existing product, the Opena Case, and introduce their new product, Quad Lock.
The pair promoted Quad Lock at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and Macworld, also in the US.
“The idea for the Opena case came to us one afternoon when we were out kicking back, drinking a few beers,” Ward says.
“Some people have bottle openers on their key rings, but many times you don’t always have your keys with you, especially when having a few drinks.”
“So we thought, why not put a bottle opener into an iPhone case?”
The idea for Quad Lock, meanwhile, came about after both entrepreneurs became frustrated over having to detach and reattach their iPhones from various cradles.
This prompted them to create a case-based mounting system that allows the user to use their iPhone hands-free everywhere.
To raise the necessary funds for both products, Ward and Peters used US-based crowdfunding platform Kickstarter.
“[For Opena,] we pre-sold almost $30,000 in 30 days, which funded the initial tooling and product run,” Ward says.
“[For Quad Lock,] we asked the Kickstarter community to help us raise $20,000 to cover the production costs, including tooling and parts.”
“We have been lucky enough to raise over $35,000 with the help of over 500 backers.”
“Aside from raising capital, we find the best thing about Kickstarter is to qualify your idea by the market.”
Ward admits the US is already their biggest market, based on online sales, so the pair is aiming to secure distribution deals with major US retailers.
And while their products rely solely on the ongoing popularity of the iPhone, Ward says he and Peters aren’t concerned.
“We don’t see design products exclusively for the iPhone as a limitation because it’s the most popular handset in the world with a user base of over 90 million, and that’s a big market,” he says.
With regard to other Australian entrepreneurs looking to launch new products, Ward says the best advice he can give is simply to get started.
“My first advice would be to make something... Anything is better than nothing. So many people have an idea that they talk about but you’ll never know until you make a prototype,” he says.
“I would then suggest to spread the word about your ideas. We’ve found that this is unpopular in Australia because people are worried about others stealing their ideas.”
“Spreading the word early, and engaging the market through social media, has been key to our success and helped us to refine our ideas.”