Crowdfunding an overnight success
A young Nelson entrepreneur’s crowdfunding campaign to sell a custom-designed travel bag has reached its funding goal in just over six hours.
The company, Minaal, today launched a campaign on crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise funds for the bag, which they have spent years researching and developing.
The campaign went live at 1am New Zealand time with a funding goal of $30,000, which was reached by about 7.30am.
At 3.30pm today, it had raised more than $50,000. It still has another 29 days to run.
Co-founder Jimmy Hayes, 29, who grew up in Nelson and attended Nelson College, said he was blown away by the response, and he did not expect to sleep for a few days while he managed the campaign.
‘‘We couldn’t have asked for more, except maybe a kiss from Hilary Barry – although the campaign is young.’’
Mr Hayes said he and co-founder Doug Barber, from Whangarei, had been ‘‘chronic travellers’’ who had noticed problems in the existing travel gear.
Most gear was neither presentable enough for a business meeting nor sturdy or practical enough for outdoor pursuits.
‘‘We needed to be able to go hiking in Vietnam or go to a meeting in New York.’’
They spent two years brainstorming from the road, then last year created a prototype in New Zealand.
The finished product, the Minaal ProTravel Carry-on Bag, maxes out the allowable dimensions for carry-on luggage, opens flat to be packed like a suitcase, and features a waterproof cover.
Its straps can zip away, and there is a separate, lockable compartment for electronics, making it easier to remove laptops for passing through security checks, and protecting them from hitting the ground.
Once the prototype was created, they moved to Asia to find suppliers, settling on a factory which offered ethical, Bluesign-certified manufacturing processes.
Three months ago the team moved to the United States to start ‘‘hustling’’ and promoting the product.
Basing himself in San Francisco, Mr Hayes said the city was brimming with entrepreneurs and start-ups, and the networking opportunities had been ‘‘insanely addictive’’.
Being a Kiwi helped, he said.
‘‘As soon as you say you’re from New Zealand that’s a massive competitive advantage.’’
The team chose Kickstarter because they wanted a high-quality product, and the factory they chose had large minimum order requirements.
The campaign was also a way of validating the market, testing to see if there was sufficient demand out there.
Kickstarter was also an exciting way to fund projects, with a direct connection with customers, and a high chance of media coverage.
All the money raised would be going towards the product, he said. The launch was exciting, but was just the start, and he wanted to be in the business for the long-term.
The company is developing other products, including a business shirt which requires minimal, infrequent cleaning, and merino socks with built in compression technology and sanitising treatments.
- To learn more about the project or to back it, visit: go.minaal.com
- © Fairfax NZ News