Getting customers invested
Two Auckland tech innovation companies are turning to crowd funding for the first time for their latest collaborative effort – the smartphone-controlled Quebee camera.
Auckland design and development consultancy Blender Design has been working with camera technology specialists Teknique since 2012 to create the camera.
The two companies have collaborated before on other camera-related projects, but this first time they chose to use the crowd funding website kickstarter.com as a way of raising money to get the device into production.
“It’s been one heck of a journey, and we’ve learned a lot,” co-founder Oliver McDermott said.
Kickstarter.com is the world’s largest crowd funding platform, where people can pledge money to help with projects in exchange for concessions such as discounts on the final product.
Quebee was using crowd funding instead of other methods of raising capital because it was a good way of connecting with its potential customers who could provide feedback on what they wanted during the design process, McDermott said.
“Kickstarter is a perfect way of validating a market without investing too much and not giving away too much equity early on in the startup,” McDermott said.
The team hopes to raise $100,000 to finalise the design and put it into production, aiming to produce the first cameras by September 2014. It has raised almost $20,000 so far.
Blender Design has in the past worked with New Zealand projects such as Sealegs, RFID tracking pet doors, and website development.
Teknique is an Auckland-based camera technology company which develops high-performance cameras for sports, automotive and security purposes.
The Quebee is a similar concept to the popular GoPro camera, but without a sporting focus.
The small cubic device is equipped with a full HD camera and can upload photos and video to cloud storage through local wifi networks.
“Quebee is a camera you place, not hold – putting you back in the moment,” co-founder and CEO of Teknique Ben Bodley said.
It's been the week for tech launches in Auckland, with a web project aimed at simplifying people’s online lives also going to market on Monday.
RealStew, a graduate of Auckland business incubator The Icehouse, promises to bring email, social media, blogs and websites together in a single browser-dashboard.
It seeks to help businesses track and monetise their customer relationships, while members would also share in the financial benefits with 54 per cent of revenues returned through an electronic wallet.
“We see ourselves as a social co-operative and firmly believe in sharing our success by returning benefits to the members who use RealStew. As our network grows, so will the benefits for each user,” founder Paddy Delaney said.