Lumapod – The World’s Fastest Tripod (Interview)

In fall 2018, a young team from Austria started a Kickstarter-campaign called Lumapod – The World’s Fastest Tripod, aiming to finance the first series of their innovative travel-tripod. A few weeks later, 3,785 backers pledged €501,691 to help bring this project to life. Now the team is further pre-selling the Lumapod on Indiegogo, while finalizing the product-development, securing production and looking for new team-members. In an interview, Martin Grabner – founder and inventor of the Lumapod – told us some background stories, how they prepared for their Crowdfunding-campaign and what the are planning for the future.

Wolfgang: Hi Martin, you are the founder of Lumapod, an innovative tripod. Please tell us more about the product and the idea behind it.

Martin: I love traveling. And I always packed my tripod. But it is heavy, bulky and takes forever to set up. After a trip through Iceland, we decided to create a new kind of travel tripod, which is compact and fast to set up. We developed two different models and optimized it for different demands. So you can use Lumapod with your smartphone, GoPro, mirrorless or DSLR Camera. A quick and simple setup will empower you to take full advantage of every photo opportunity … 4 seconds and you’re ready to go.

Wolfgang: How long did you work on the prototype and when did you decide to enter the market?

Martin: I’ve been working on the project for about 2,5 years. Very soon it was clear that I want finance our product by using Crowdfunding. A lot of time went into development and prototyping. But we also had to invest a lot of time into topics like grant-applications and registering a patent and a trademark etc. As well as into the preparation of the Crowdfunding campaign itself. We defined the launch date a few months in advance and from there on we focussed everything towards this day.

Wolfgang: Why Crowdfunding?

Martin: Our product is perfect for Crowdfunding. On Kickstarter we were reaching exactly our target group for photography, design, tech and gadget. On the one hand, we did the campaign because of the financing. But Crowdfunding is much more than that. The campaign was also a market test. You can find out what the community thinks about your product and therefore you get a lot of feedback you can take into account before entering the market. If the campaign is successful (and it was) and the press covers you, you also get international marketing and can already build up a brand.

Copyright: Lumapod

Wolfgang: How did you prepare for the campaign? What worked and what did not work for you?

Martin: We prepared very long and very intensively for the campaign. We did a lot on Social Media and also set up an email list. We  used Facebook ads, affiliate marketing for getting email-addresses which worked very well. Less good were raffles – you get a lot of leads, but with poor quality. The day we launched, we informed all our email contacts that we are now live and that the best offer is only valid for 24 hours. We also researched relevant journalist-contacts and sent them our press release. That worked well, so we were featured in some big international media. During our campaign we also used cross promotions which were performing also quite good.

Wolfgang: What are the learnings that you got from the Crowdfunding campaign, for your team, your product, your marketing?

Martin: We were indeed able to learn a lot during the campaign. From my point of view it is important that the most important skills can be covered in your team. This is the only way to always have an overview. The product definitely reaches the community, which is very valuable learning. :-) The community gave us praise, but also really valuable input for improvements. Of course, there are naysayers, but you have them everywhere, so don’t let them discourage you. A Crowdfunding-campaign means a lot of work. The effort should not be underestimated. Also concerning the costs for marketing.

Wolfgang: Now that the further financing is secured, what are the next steps for Lumapod?

Martin: We are currently working on the selection of production partners in order to be able to start series production. At the same time, we are working on topics such as fulfillment and the setup of sales channels. The Kickstarter campaign drew the attention of several dealers and distributors to Lumapod. We will process these enquiries more concretely and hold talks with potential partners. When the first Lumapods are delivered to the Kickstarter backers, which means we have a finished product, ideally all distribution channels should already be in place. We also already have ideas for the next Lumapod models ;)

Wolfgang: Thanks for the interview and good luck with your product!

Sensoneo – Global Leader in Smart Waste Management

Sensoneo is a Slovak-based business offering solutions for smart waste management. Since its establishment in 2014, the tech company has become a global player with its solutions being currently deployed in 22 countries on 5 continents.

Because of increasing urbanisation, managing waste has become more complex and expensive than ever. However, cities and enterprises can now rely on Sensoneo to do all the hard work for them.  Thanks to the combination of ultrasonic Smart Sensors that monitor waste and a smart sophisticated software, Sensoneo helps cities and enterprises to make data-driven strategic decisions and to optimise the logistics of waste collection, allowing them to reduce waste collection costs and to improve the environment at the same time.

Functions

Specifically, Sensoneo allows its users to:

  • monitor how full are the bins
  • plan collection routes based on real-time data and demand
  • collect waste only when its necessary,: eliminating collection of half-empty and empty bins
  • save 30% of annual waste collection costs on average (for a city with 25 mil Euro waste budget, where 50% (12,5 Mio Euro) waste collection budget, the potential savings are about 3.75 Mio Euro p.a.
  • minimize the effect waste collection trucks have on traffic and air pollution

All Sensoneo hardware and software is developed by Sensoneo and manufactured in Slovakia  Furthermore, the system utilises all available Internet of Things networks (NB-lot , LoRaWAN, Sigfox), making Sensoneo the pioneer among the  ready-to-use solution providers for the largest network of IoT devices in NB-IoT, as well as a technology leader in the market with prestigious international partners such as as T-mobile USA, Huawei UAE, Nokia, Microsoft, Vodafone, Orange, and many others.

Sensoneo and Crowdfunding

Sensoneo is currently running its crowdfunding campaign on Slovak equity platform Crowdberry with funding goal of 1.2 mil EUR.  So far, the campaign has been a huge success, with 67 investors indicating the interest to invest 101% of required capital.

The funding will be used to:

  • Support the already ongoing international expansion, particularly the expansion of sales teams for foreign countries
  • Expand the technology team to establish active presence in American markets as per requirement of the us partners
  • Expand customer support
  • Expand the R&D team to maintain technology leadership position
  • Expand marketing and brand activities towards customers in North America, Middle East, and Europe

For more information please visit sensoneo.com

The campaign has been supported by Crowd-fund-Port Interreg Central Europe.

Barefoot hemp sneakers

Barefoot is a modern style of footwear that returns to the roots of modern footwear. The idea of the project authors was to offer modern barefoot shoes, additionally made of materials friendly to nature. This idea stood at the origin of the idea of producing barefoot sneakers from hemp fibre.

Why hemp?

Hemp is one of the longest used technic crops. It requires 50% less water and 95% less agrochemicals to grow than cotton. For centuries it has been used to produce clothing, rope, oil, paper, food and many other products. In the fashion area, hemp brings the features that manufacturers have so far tried to replace with plastic fibres.

Cannabis is antibacterial, antiseptic, absorbs significantly more moisture than cotton, does not attract moths, absorbs UV radiation, has high fibre strength, so the products are durable and offer natural thermoregulation – warm in winter and cool in the summer.

Those were the main reasons, why the authors of the project decided to try to produce barefoot shoes made from hemp. But to do that, they needed financial support to buy the equipment and to start the production.

Source: www.hithit.com

To get the financing, the project authors decided to use crowdfunding campaign. The team decided to use crowdfunding campaign at the Czech crowdfunding server www.hithit.com https://www.hithit.com/cs/project/5088/barefoot-konopne-tenisky-bohempia.

The original goal of the campaign was to get 18,893 EUR. The goal set has been overcome several times during the campaign, and the authors have managed to collect more than 152,792 EUR (808 %) from over 1,636 contributors, which made it the most successful business crowdfunding campaign ever in the Czech Republic.

 

Source: www.hithit.com

You can find more information about the whole project including some videos at the website https://bohempia.com/en/, or at the Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/bohempia_official/

During the crowdfunding campaign the authors reached the following goals:

 

Original goal was: 18,893 EUR
Final amount: 152,792 EUR from 1,636 contributors (808 %)

Crowdfunding fashion: Interview with label-founder Klaus Buchroithner of Vresh

Klaus Buchroithner runs the streetwear label Vresh and with his campaigns he regularly makes it into the headlines of various newspapers and online magazines. With his Vresh Box he attracted investors to finance his independent label by rewarding them with a special edition of individually designed T-shirts and a small, symbolic stake of his company. With his “Zuckerberg shirt” he even gained international media coverage by promoting a basic grey shirt, very similar to the one Mark Zuckerberg is wearing all the time. And for the production of his Vresh Jeans he turned to Crowdfunding and ran three campaigns, two of them successful. In an interview he told us his story and how Crowdfunding helped him boosting his fashion start-up.

Crowd-Fund-Port: You are running your fashion label Vresh for several years now. Please tell us more about it and how everything started?

Klaus Buchroithner: Vresh is a sustainable streetwear label. From 2019 we will exclusively produce basic styles from organic and recycled materials in cooperation with small family businesses in the EU. I have been working in the textile business for more than 12 years and everything started with the crazy idea of my brother, opening a Skateshop in our small city of Eferding/Austria. Soon it developed into a textile wholesale business with which we distributed international brands in Austria and Hungary. During my school time I took over the shop and opened a second shop in another city. Since the support of the brands was often bad for small retailers like me and the margin was too small, I decided to establish my own brand in the end of 2012 and do a lot better.

Crowd-Fund-Port: You are producing jeans for almost a year and a half. The first series was financed with Crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Why Crowdfunding?

Klaus: In my opinion, Crowdfunding is a perfect tool for launching a new product on the market. You can’t expect to raise a huge sum without your own community and engagement, but if you’re willing to invest some time and money, you get good feedback from the market, some pre-orders that you can convert into long-term customers and generally a lot of attention.

Crowd-Fund-Port: How did you prepare for the first Kickstarter campaign back then?

Klaus: I’ve been following the topic of Crowdfunding for quite some time and looked at many campaigns and researched the background. There is a lot of reading material on the Internet now and of course the consulting appointments with you (note: the interview was conducted by Crowd-Fund-Port partner Wolfgang Gumpelmaier-Mach of ikosom.de/Crowdfunding-Service.com) were also very helpful. External consulting helped us to implement the project better. For example, we re-recorded our video after some people in our community suggested improvements.

Crowd-Fund-Port: You also started a Crowdfunding campaign on wemakeit, unfortunately without success. What experiences did you have with the two campaigns?

Klaus: Basically, you can’t expect too much from the individual platforms. That was certainly better a year or two ago. They can give you a good boost, but most of the work you have to for yourself. Our failed campaign on wemakeit was no coincidence. We launched the campaign about a month too late, and then the temperature rose unusually strong. It’s very difficult to sell jeans at summer temperatures, even if you deliver them in September. That was certainly a great learning for me – starting the campaign during the season and not before.

Crowd-Fund-Port: To what extent did this experience help you in planning and implementing your last (third) campaign on Indiegogo and why did you crowdfund jeans again?

Klaus: We concentrated on the essentials and offered a product that already worked well the first time. This time we took the feedback of the first campaign and adapted the product accordingly. Only the change from Kickstarter to Indiegogo was a mistake. We already had 200 satisfied customers on Kickstarter, they probably would have been ready to buy. A new account on a (for the user) unknown platform is a big hurdle, especially in Austria and Germany – combined with the payment method credit card. But because we already had some experience, we knew on which channels it would be worthwhile to be present during the campaign and that’s how we pulled this off in the end.

Crowd-Fund-Port: I know you work a lot with your community and let them participate in the process of creation. Is that your secret recipe?

Klaus: That is definitely a very important part for our success. We are currently trying to find ways to involve the community even more actively in branding and try creating a stronger bond. Especially for small independent labels like ours this is essential.

Crowd-Fund-Port: Do you see Crowdfunding as an essential part of your (communication) work?

Klaus: It is definitely a good instrument, especially if you offer innovative products. For us, such a campaign can always be the market launch for a completely new product segment. You get a lot of attention and see whether something is working or not.

Crowd-Fund-Port: What’s coming next? Will there be more Vresh-Crowdfunding-campaigns?

Klaus: I can imagine bringing an entire collection onto the market by pre-selling it via our own website. The parts that sell well are added to the collection and if they don’t work, they’re not getting produced.

Crowd-Fund-Port: Thank you very much for the interview and good luck!

***

This interview was originally published in German on Crowdfunding-Service.com.

BySju: Hats are timeless as long as you let them be

About BySju

BySju is an independent London-based hat brand founded by young Slovak designer Zuzana „Sju“ Smatanová.

The story of BySju began in 2011 when Zuzana moved to London for university. As a parting gift, her grandfather presented her with a classic bowler hat made in 1920s in Moravia. Years later, when Zuzana was searching for a similar product but could not find one, BySju was born.

BySju

About the Hats

BySju represents a fusion contemporary luxury and streetwear inspired by modern youth culture.  However, what makes the hats truly unique is that they are all handmade in the same Moravian factory as the one given to Zuzana by her grandfather.

BySju

About the Campaign

With a dream to make wearing hats a lifestyle, in 2014 Zuzana took to Kickstarter to set up a crowdfunding campaign with financial goal of GBP 20 000.

The aim of the successfully completed campaign was to raise funds for production of a second collection.

The campaign stood out in that it featured promotional material created in collaboration with several London-based artists. But as Zuzana revealed in her interview with Forbes Slovakia, the cornerstone of her campaign’s success is the brand’s story and its authenticity reflected in the campaign.

BySju and Social Media

Zuzana also informed Forbes that while Facebook is the most helpful medium when it comes to sales, she considers Instagram to be the most important promotional channel. After all, it was via Instagram that BySju was discovered by the stylist of a well-known  musician will.i.am. Since then BySju has adorned the heads of many other celebrities, such as Paul McCartney, or the Backhams.

 

Crowdfunding and Sport

Sport, one of few areas that we have not presented yet. It is well known that in many sports it is not that hard to get financing from public sources, or from private sponsors. In many cases, the amount of money is due to the popularity of sports even much higher than what you can get in other areas. But that does not count when you are a small club, or a non-profit organisation helping disabled people to get a chance to sport. In this case, crowdfunding offers one of the best opportunities how to get financing.

Trainers for Hospitals and Institutions with The Road to Dream

When someone gets disabled, its very hard for him to find the will to live again, to enjoy life and try to overcome what has happened. One of few ways that help to such people is sports activities that allow them to integrate easier back to the community and normal life.

To be able to do that, however, special equipment is necessary so that the disabled can learn to sport even with their disadvantage. Unfortunately, healing and rehabilitation facilities in the Czech Republic are not equipped with the necessary trainers.

A few years ago, a group of disabled people decided that based on their own experience, they will change the situation, and they developed a trainer for disabled people that should allow them to train how to use hand-bike – a special type of bike, that is completely managed by hands.

 

Source: www.hithit.com

 

They managed to develop the trainer by themselves. Another challenge was to get enough financing so that they would be able to produce handbikes for at least the main healing and rehabilitation facilities in the Czech Republic.

And that was the time, where crowdfunding came into place. The team decided to use crowdfunding campaign at the Czech crowdfunding server www.hithit.com https://www.hithit.com/en/project/5003/trenazery-do-nemocnic-a-ustavu-s-cestou-za-snem.

The original goal of the campaign was to get 15,543 EUR. The goal set has been overcome during the campaign, and the authors have managed to collect more than 25,308 EUR (162 %) from over 652 contributors, which made the campaign one of the most successful campaigns focused on sport in the Czech Republic.

 

Source: www.cestazasnem.cz

 

You can find more information about the whole project including some videos at the website https://cestazasnem.cz/trenazer

During the crowdfunding campaign the authors reached the following goals:

Original goal was: 15,543 EUR
Final amount: 25,308 EUR from 652 contributors (162 %)

Slovakia: The Czechoslovak C’s Throwing Competition

The year 1974 is known also as the year when the Czechoslovak hospitals were flooded with babies. It is the year when Czechoslovakia experienced the highest birth rate in history.

The generation of people born in 1974 considers itself to be unique, as many known and successful people were born that year. In addition, this generation popularised one peculiar activity: throwing of c’s (Céčka).

C’s were small plastic letters that were initially intended to have a practical use, but this intention never materialised. Instead they became popular among Czechoslovak children who collected them, exchanged them, and invented games to play with them. One particularly favoured game consisted of throwing the plastic toys against the wall.

Strong Year 1974/ Silný Ročník 1974

Of course, today c’s are a thing of the past and one would struggle to find them outside of museum of socialism, however, this September they made a (very short lived) comeback.

This month people from the Slovak and Czech Republic had a chance to attend an interesting event in Bratislava. The initiative Strong Year 1974 (Silný ročník 1974) organised a meeting for all those born in 1974. As part of the event, people could revisit their childhood and take part in a c’s throwing competition.

The organisers decided to use a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the tournament and to promote the event. The campaign ran on Slovak platform Startlab with financial goal of 2000 EUR that was reached without problems.

Crowdfunding and Theatre

We have already presented several examples, that crowdfunding is a perfect way how to get financing for your original or innovative ideas. In fact, when it comes to a support for non-commercial activities such as theatres, it is in many cases the only possibility. Today, we will present you one of such examples, a project, that used crowdfunding to build a new public, non-profit theatre space.

Zdroj: www.jatka78.cz

 

Jatka78

A few years ago, a group of artists came up with an idea how to transform old brownfield in the middle of Prague into a new communication – innovative and creative space that would serve as a space for new experimental theatres.

The city of Prague agreed to give the permission to use some of the old buildings in formal slaughter house and the team started to get financing for the first investments that were necessary to turn the space into something that would allow at least some preview operation. Because of the history of the buildings the authors decided to call the centre Slaughterhouse78 (Jatka78). And so, the project Slaughterhouse 78 started.

The trial period lasted for one year and proved that such innovative and new art space is sustainable and welcome among Prague inhabitants and visitors. To allow more effective and sustainable operation however, the space needed some more investments to modernise the space, create some background space for administration and for the artists and prepare some technical equipment that was necessary for the performances.

The vision was to create new modern building, that would contain multifunctional theatre, music club and a bar in the centre of a gallery, together with a training hall, gym hall, fitness room and residential quarters for guest companies – all under one roof. The team did not want to be dependent on grants and subsidies, so they decided to use crowdfunding.

For the campaign they used Czech crowdfunding server hithit.com https://www.hithit.com/en/project/1156/nakopni-jatka. The original goal of the campaign was to get 78,125 EUR. The goal set has been overcome during the campaign, and the authors have managed to collect more than 94,000 EUR (121 %) from over 1,622 contributors.

You can find more information about the whole area at the website www.jatka78.cz

During the crowdfunding campaign the authors reached the following goals:

Original goal was: 78,125 EUR
Final amount: 94,000 EUR from 1,622 contributors (121 %)

Zdroj: www.jatka78.cz

Zdroj: www.jatka78.cz

How to fund a theatre project through crowdfunding: steps to go and main Italian platforms

In times when it is hard to raise funds for arts it becomes crucial to develop organizational and economic processes to make theatre projects sustainable and productive. In order to reach this goal it is important to create a crowd of fans as well as to act as a catalyst for emotions for them. An effective crowd funding campaign can help to increase the crowd of supporters thus helping tickets sells out and granting the success of a theatre projects. The message to spread is simple and strong: we are a community, we know each other and we do recognize ourselves. Moreover the message has to be launched before the mise en place of the dramatic project through sympathetic promotional and marketing activities. In this sense the main goal of a C.F. campaign may not only be to raise funds but also to build and increase the group of supporters which will follow you on your next adventures.

Steps to set a successful C.F. campaign out:
• To create a community on social networks and to define a social media strategy
• To create a landing page before the launch
• To select the best – for- the aim platform depending on tis functions and main features
• To define legal and tax aspects
• To define the main targets of the campaign
• To define the communication and main message of the campaign
• To define the calendar of all the activities to implement
• To define an economic goal
• To shoot a presentation video to tell the story of the project
• To define the rewards for supporters

The main platforms used in Italy for theatre projects are: Eppela, DeREv, Produzioni dal Basso, Be Crowdy, Crowd Arts.
One of the most effective and successful crowd funding campaigns launched in Italy in the last years for a theatre project is the campaign “I need Money” by Fanny and Alexander that set up a “spettacolo per azioni” (limited play) in which any of the supporter and funder can play a part by writing a part of it thus including any of us into the creative process and making a specific comparison with the financial market and the share market. https://www.derev.com/we-need-money-uno-spettacolo-partecipativo-dentro-e-fuori-dai-teatri. As they say: you think art is priceless. from now on art does have a price.

Poland: Photon – World’s first robot that develops with a child.

Meet Photon.

This little guy is an interactive educational robot that introduces children through the world of new technologies. Photon supports children in developing creativity, logical thinking, and basics of programming. It’s created for children of all ages, therefore control depends on a child’s development and abilities within 4 interfaces for kids aged from 5 to 12. The robot is extremely well thought out in every detail, besides that it includes dedicated mat, many applications, flashcards or ready-made lesson plans for teachers that allows use it at home and at school.

An Award-Winning Robot:

  • Best product design
  • Best product packaging
  • Best Polish market implementation
  • The toy of the Year 2018 distinction

Because of the support on Kickstarter, and lots of backers even children of orphanages had an opportunity to get Photon for free.

322 backers pledged $52,829 to help bring this project to life.

You can learn more about the technology and capabilities of Photon on this site.