Have a great idea or are you launching an innovative business? Where do you turn to find the resources to grow your company and get it to thrive? Here’s one answer: Ask the world for help. We look to one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for a pathway.
You can expose the masses to your product or project on the Internet and ask for money to help you reach your goals through crowdfunding platforms. There are many options out on the internet where you can perform your dog and pony show with the hopes of impressing and attracting the right audience. One such site is Indiegogo. It’s a place to show your stuff and gain funding.
You can just create a campaign on Indiegogo and throw your hat into the funding ring. While anyone, an entrepreneur, artist, or a sick dog can ask for money, actually raising the money and meeting monetary goals depends on how well you present the project. Unlike Kickstarter which requires that a campaign fulfill funding goals before any money changes hands, Indiegogo allows you to keep all raised funds. They do give one financial incentive for a completed campaign; the platform charges you a whopping 9% of funds raised if you don’t fulfill the campaign and only 4% if you do meet your fundraising goal.
Cynaps is a great example of a successful campaign on Indiegogo. This is a product you will surely slap your forehead for not thinking of it first when you hear about it. Here it is: ever get annoyed by the earbuds, headphones, and other paraphanalia required to use your phone or listen to music? Well, the creators of Cynaps devised an ingenious product to eliminate those issues. Their hot new product is getting quite a bit of press (on SoundCtrl, Digital Versus, Nibletz, Techhive, and Neuredings) and more importantly, ample funding through Indiegogo!
Yes, that last article is in German for those who wish to brush up on their Diskussion über Technologie möchten.
MaxVirtual, the company that created Cynaps, was in the middle of big project designing a virtual reality game. They realized that the Cynaps technology was a great stand-alone product. The technology is a Bluetooth-enabled, bone conduction headset that fits discreetly in any hat. It makes it easy for anyone to listen to music on a run, or talk on the phone while working around the house. It’s a hands free, wire-free, dream product. Based on hearing aid technology, Cynaps transfers sound through skeletal structures in the head more clearly than with earbuds or earphones. Once installed in a hat, there is no need for connective wires, earpieces, and so forth. Hands are free for other tasks and your ears are unplugged so you remain aware of other, potentially dangerous, noises like cars and sirens.
In campaigning on Indiegogo with a fundraising aim of $20K, Cynaps has already raised 174% of its goal and it has become the most popular project hosted on the site as of late January 2013. In fact, MaxVirtual’s campaign has done so well that they have been able to maximize their success with six fundraising days left. On January 28, 2013, they started a Stretch Goal of $50K with additional perks to investors if they meet this new aim by the end of their campaign on February 2, 2013!
So what did this company do correctly to succeed in gaining financial assistance? In comparing Cynaps and other successful campaigns with ones that failed, a clear picture of great innovation and campaigning emerges.
As its name suggests, MaxVirtual is a company focused on creating virtual reality experiences. During a recent game development project, designers realized a new product in working on wearable technology devices made to free the hands and ears. The gamers were using a bone conduction headset to function freely within game parameters. The device worked so well in this context, that designers made the logical mental leap to its practicality in the real world. They created Cynaps for ordinary folks who bike, work on a computer, and so forth while needing to talk on the phone or listen to music or sit in on conference calls. Then MaxVirtual capitalized on extraordinarily successful products like iPhones and portable music players and made Cynaps compatible with them.
As with so many innovations, Cynaps, too, is a logical progression of existing technology. Making electronic devices essentially part of the body or its attire is the future. Wear what you use and function freely while employing it. Piggybacking off widely used products and creating something that will make its use easier or better is a key driver in entrepreneurial success. It just makes sense.
Besides creating an innovative, smart product, MaxVirtual had to design a fundraising campaign convincing enough to lure backers. It chose Indiegogo as its only funding platform and used effective techniques for introducing Cynaps. The product presentation starts with a clear description of what Cynaps does and how it works. Furthermore, in a brief video clip, there is a demonstration of the functionality and practicality. There are also presentations of the people behind the design and manufacture of Cynaps, challenges the product faces, and an address of “what if” type questions. Finally, investors can actually buy Cynaps in a variety of packages based on funding amounts with an estimated delivery of February 2013. Anyone considering backing Cynaps on Indiegogo is motivated to do so in several ways – what better product to invest in than one that is smart, innovative, needed, supported with established sales and manufacturing relationships, and managed by a responsive, analytical team?
Finally, beyond the innovation and campaigning, MaxVirtual has spread the word about Cynaps through their Facebook page, at electronics conferences, and in interviews with the product developer, Mike Freeman. Their regular updates about Cynaps keep investors and customers abreast of current events and future directions such as Cynaps’ most popular status on Indiegogo and the company’s new aim to design their own running hats with their own logos based on popular demand (versus the use of Nike Dri-Fit hats).
The future for Cynaps almost sounds too easy. Surely there are competitors. As it turns out, not too many. There is one main competitor to Cynaps – Aftershokz. It is a bone noise conduction device as well, but it is still a headset. The only difference between Aftershokz and regular headphones is that it doesn’t sit in or on the ear, leaving ears free to hear other sounds. Aftershockz has but one choice in design – the black headset piece that goes around the back of your head and sets over the tops of the ears. The advantage Cynaps has over Aftershokz is its invisibility and flexibility. It fits in any hat you choose to wear and remains out of sight.
Lots of folks outside of Indiegogo are taking notice of Cynaps’ potential too. MaxVirtual presented Cynaps at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January where it received quite a bit of attention. With other hot topics in the room Tech News Daily, Nibletz, Tech Hive, and other gadget web sites took note and quickly reported on Cynaps, consistently mentioning it as unique, smart, and practical.
So maybe MaxVirtual can keep the rose-colored glasses on its face and march forward with Cynaps, straight toward success. Designing the right product for the right time in the right way, using Indiegogo’s funding platform, and soliciting well have laid a seemingly golden path ahead of MaxVirtual. The future will tell if Cynaps becomes the next movement in innovation – it’s definitely off to a great start.
Stacy Gregg is the new Communications Manager for the Rockies Venture Club. She lives in Littleton with her husband and two young children. She dreams of a day when she can get her hands on a Cynaps so her foothills trail runs can be safe and entertaining.