Founded by ad agency man Tom Evans, BleepBleeps is a new London-based startup that’s creating a range of cute, kid-friendly, connected (or IoT-styled) devices to help with the job of parenting. Inspired by the “simple geometric shapes of kid’s building blocks” and Japanese vinyl toys, with a nod to the Italian kitchen utensil brand Alessi, the company is targeting design literate and tech-savvy parents (and their kids) with multi-coloured hardware, paired to a smartphone and accompanying app.
The first of those out of the gate, via a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, will be “Sammy Screamer”, a motion detector that can be placed on a door, in a bag, or on a child’s buggy, for example. Should it detect motion, a push notification is sent to your smartphone and the device itself lets out a scream.
“Sammy” has a magnetised back and loop fixing, and is powered by Bluetooth LE for up to 50 meters range. Early backers who pledge $65 or more can bag the device and iOS app, including worldwide shipping. The company intends to raise a minimum of $20,000 on Kickstarter to help fund production costs.
The “Sammy Screamer” motion detector isn’t the first product of its kind, no doubt, but BleepBleeps is, I suspect, all about the brand’s positioning. And, perhaps, the product road map is where BleepBleeps gets more interesting. It promises to span the gamut of parenting, from conception, birth, looking after your baby, and raising your child.
These will include “Tony Tempa”, a digital ear thermometer, which will relay your child’s temperature reading to your smartphone. The supporting app will also benchmark the reading for safety and provide tips on how to bring your kid’s temperature down.
BleepBleeps also plans to manufacture a GPS bracelet to track your child’s location; a small ultrasound scanner that lets them see your unborn baby on your smartphone; a male fertility tester; an ovulation tester; and a baby video monitor. Each planned device has a face, a name, and a unique bleep bleep sound when activated, hence the BleepBleeps name.
The UK startup is thus far bootstrapped. Along with founder and Creative Director, Evans, the team includes Niall Mccormack, who is said to have been a technical lead for Nike’s Nike+ Fuelband.Read More →
EarlyShares, a crowdfunding platform that connects passionate entrepreneurs with smart investors, announced that it has added two executives to its senior leadership team. The new hires are Salomon Wancier, Chief Marketing Officer, and Jonatan Alava, Director of Engineering.
SOURCE:http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/01/prweb11494854.htmRead More →
We’re pleased to announce the 2014 Hardware Battlefield finalists, a group of international hardware startups from eleven countries that are about to take the world by storm with some amazing technology, great ideas, and unique business models. Up for grabs is a $50,000 prize, the first ever Hardware Battlefield trophy, a wealth of press exposure and new open doors.
We’ll be running three straight days of exciting presentations live from the CES parking lot. You can watch the event – and all of our live coverage of CES 2014 – live on our special live coverage page and, if you’re in Las Vegas, you’re invited to visit us at our tent out on the LVCC parking lot. You don’t need a show pass to watch the proceedings in the tent and we’ll have giveaways, interviews, and other fun stuff all day.
That said, let’s welcome our fourteen Hardware Battlefield finalists:
Atlas [CrunchBase] – Atlas is a wearable device that tracks and identifies specific activity. Where existing products can only track a single metric, steps, Atlas is smart enough to identify pushups, squats, dead lifts and everything else.
Peter Li, CEO
Mike Kasparian, CTO
Alex Hsieh, Lead Software Developer
Mehdi Mirza, Data Scientist
CubeSensors [CrunchBase] – CubeSensors are small, stylish and connected devices that help you understand how every room in your home or office is affecting your health, comfort and productivity. The Cubes monitor everything that can be measured about indoors, like temperature, humidity, air quality, noise, light and barometric pressure. They are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and can easily blend in any room you want to optimize for leisure, sleep or work.
Ales Spetic, CEO
Marko Mrdjenovic, CTO
Andrew Artishchev, CEO
RHLVision Fin [CrunchBase] – RHLvision Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is a group of passionate individuals dreaming of a world where technology is in the palms of your hands, where a mere finger-swipe can bring you resources and functions never imagined.
Health2Sync – Health2Sync takes legacy medical devices and transforms your smartphone into a smart health monitoring machine; connecting users, loved ones, and clinicians. Our first product comes in the form of an app and accessory for smart blood glucose monitoring.
Ed Deng, CEO
Erin Chung, Product Marketing
Adheretech [CrunchBase] – AdhereTech makes smart patented pill bottles, designed to improve medication adherence. These bottles measure the amount of medication in the bottle in real-time. If a dose is missed, AdhereTech reminds the patient via automated phone call or text message – as well as on-bottle lights and chimes.
Josh Stein, CEO
John Langhauser, CTO
Mike Morena, COO
Sentry Scientific Smart Walker [CrunchBase] Sentry Scientific is building smart assistive technologies to make the future safer. Their Smart Walker aims to increase safety, independence, and mobility for seniors by reducing the risk of walker-related fall injuries.
Wilfrid Ngo, CEO
Parth Dave, Hardware Engineer
Ray Zhou, Hardware Engineer
The Eye Tribe [CrunchBase] – The Eye Tribe software enables eye control on mobile devices and computers, allowing hands-free navigation of websites and apps, eye activated log in, enhanced gaming experiences, and cloud-based user engagement analytics. We utilize standard low-cost hardware components that can be integrated into the next generation of smartphones and tablets.
Sune Alstrup Johansen, CEO
Martin Tall, CTO
Javier San Agustin
AirDroids [CrunchBase] – AirDroids designs and manufactures hardware and software for consumers and commercial applications. Our mission is to make advanced drone technology simple and accessible for everyone in the same way that camera phones have taken over the sales of more complex DSLR cameras.
Chance Roth, CEO/Director of Operations
Timothy Reuter, Director of Marketing
TJ Johnson, Director of Engineering
Owlet [CrunchBase] – Owlet provides parents with peace of mind by implementing new technologies to monitor, track, and alert on changes in their infant’s health. Owlet helps parents prevent SIDS and other early infant issues.
Jordan Monroe, CMO
Zack Bomsta, CTO
Kurt Workman, CEO
Tanor Hodges, CFO
Jake Colvin, COO
Driblet.io [CrunchBase] – The smart way to conserve water. Driblet its an innovative smart water consumption management solution that tracks water related variables to empower and encourage people, businesses, organizations and governments to save water and money.
Rodolfo P Ruiz, CEO & CTO
Mario García, COO
Carlos Mosqueda, Chief Designer
Blaze Laserlight [CrunchBase] – Blaze are an intelligent biking brand. Launching with the Laserlight, a radical innovation tackling the greatest cause of cyclist fatality – being caught in the ‘blind spot’ and vehicles turning across an unseen bike.
Emily Brooke, CEO + Founder
Alima [CrunchBase] – Airboxlab is taking Quantified Self to another level by implementing Quantified Home with alima, the alarm system for your indoor environment.
Embedding high tech sensors, alima is a standalone device monitoring your indoor air pollution and providing warnings and recommendations for action to keep your living spaces safe.
Jacques Touillon, CEO
Inouk Bourgon, CTO
Olivier Vonet, CFO
Modbot [CrunchBase] – Modbot brings industrial precision and power to consumer assembled robots. Imagine automated manufacturing and consumer robots within reach of everybody, assembled like Lego. Modbot is a system of affordable and re-usable modules that snap together, filling the gap between $100 hobby and $20,000 industrial motion equipment.
Adam Ellison, CEO
Daniel Pizzata, COO
BusinessPlanToday.com’s mission, therefore, is to provide small business owners not only an easy way to start planning their business, but to navigate the plethora of funding options and quickly secure capital. Edward Huang, Marketing Director at Initial 28 Inc. says, “Business plans has historically been seen as a offline tool for fundraising. We believe there’s a place for it in the new era of small business crowdfunding.“
SOURCE:http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/12/prweb11444467.htmRead More →
Following last year’s launch of FinTech Innovation Lab, a new fintech accelerator has emerged in London, courtesy of a partnership between Barclays and Techstars. Similar to previous programs run on behalf of Nike and Microsoft in the U.S., the Barclays Accelerator is a three month bootcamp-style programme, “powered by Techstars”, but specifically targeting fintech startups — a first for the international accelerator.
It also means that Techstars now operates two accelerator programmes in the UK capital city, having launched Techstars London in February this year, the first Techstars outpost outside of the U.S. after it merged with Jon Bradford’s UK-based Springboard.
Though based in London’s Mile End, near “Tech City”, startups who meet the programme’s fintech remit — in particular with applications focused on improving the banking experience for consumers — can apply from anywhere in the world. Ten companies will be accepted in total, with applications closing on on March 21st 2014, while the programme itself kicks off in mid-June 2014.
Barclays Accelerator startups get £12.5k of funding in return for giving up 6 percent equity, though it’s the value of the Techstars mentoring and business development support, and the programme’s ties to Barclays, that’s intended to be its biggest draw.
Specifically, mentoring will be provided by executives from Barclays, including Group Chief Information Officer, Darryl West, and Chief Design Officer, Derek White, alongside those from Techstars, including Jon Bradford, Managing Director of Techstars in London and David Cohen, founder and CEO of Techstars. The programme culminates with a Barclays Executive Demo Day and a Public Investor Demo Day in London.
There are also good commercial reasons for doing this, including being around smart people and innovation from the startup community.
It should also be noted that Techstars are the investors here. Even though Barclays and Techstars have committed to working together to offer six different accelerator programmes over three years, Barclays itself will have no direct ownership, interests, or options in the companies that enter its programme.
Instead, says Techstars’ Jon Bradford, the finance behemoth is “adopting a pay forward model”, which he thinks will ultimately create greater longterm value for Barclays.
“There are also good commercial reasons for doing this, including being around smart people and innovation from the startup community, business development and possible M&A/future investment/partnerships. But it is important to emphasis that all of the above is at the startups’ option and never Barclays.”
In terms of the kind of fintech startups that Techstars are on the look out for, or who might apply to the programme, Bradford says he thinks there will be companies from a broad spectrum of the financial industry and also companies who want early access to the Pingit platform, Barclays’ mobile payments app, as it opens up to developers.
“I’m sure it will appealing to a wide variety of companies who would like to partner with Barclays as well,” he says.
The idea of a major international bank paying it forward is an interesting development in context of the slightly uncomfortable relationship that London’s startups have historically had with the city’s financial sector. Higher wages paid for engineering talent by the banks has always been seen as creating a “brain drain” that many believe has held back the local startup scene.
However, after the global financial meltdown, in which London was particularly exposed, thankfully that’s begun to change.
Projects like the Silicon Milkroundabout job fair, and the general ‘cool’-factor of the East London ‘Tech City’ tech cluster, have also made a good case for startup life over working for a large financial institution.
Fintech, of course, plays to the strengths of both London’s financial district and the neighbouring startup cluster, so it seems natural to see the emergence of dedicated fintech accelerators in the UK capital.
Meanwhile, initiatives like CityMeetsTech are attempting to get the City of London banking community to actually invest in technology startups.
Image credit: Chris McKenna via Wikipedia.Read More →
Senator Bennet’s Remarks: 0:18:28 Doug Ellenoff – CROWDFUND Overview: 0:28:08 Panel Discussion 0:50:27 Streamed live on December 6, 2013 Colorado U.S. Senato…Read More →
Editor’s note: Cyril Ebersweiler is the founder of the pioneering hardware startup accelerator HAXLR8R (which is now looking for applicants) and Partner at SOSVentures. Benjamin Joffe is an expert on startup ecosystems, angel investor and Advisor at HAXLR8R. Both invest in companies around the world and spent over a decade in China and Japan. This is Part 1 of a series.
If the printing press was about “anyone can read,” the web about “anyone can write,” the hardware ecosystem changed enough to say today “anyone can build.” This idea – that anyone can build – is the cornerstone of the new “lean hardware startup.”
Yet, despite successes like Square, Jawbone, and Fitbit, hardware startups continue to look daunting to entrepreneurs and investors alike. As investors in over 30 of them through our hardware-focused accelerator HAXLR8R (and in a number of startups outside HAXLR8R, too), we would like to share some ideas on how the landscape has changed for hardware entrepreneurs, and how it is now possible to be “lean” in hardware, too.
The first challenge for hardware entrepreneurs is to get from your first prototype with 3D-printed parts, duct tape and cardboard to production-ready.
Steve Blank, a key inspiration in the Lean Startup movement, famously said “No business plan survives contact with the customer.” If you’re doing hardware the lean way, “No hardware plan survives contact with a factory” should be your mantra.
Design with the right components
Hardware often starts with a “bag of parts.” This won’t cut its time to hit the factory. Non-standard components make it nearly impossible to manufacture on a larger scale. If you don’t want to be doing all the assembly work by hand with your friends in the style of Steve-Jobs-the-movie, you’d better look for the right parts as soon as possible.
A prototype is ready when it can be manufactured
You got the right components? Great. But you’re not quite done yet: if your prototype can’t be made or even assembled, you’re toast. Luckily, factories often know better what can or cannot be done and can help you figure it out.
Of course, it works much better if you can be on site frequently to discuss it with the people actually doing the work rather than send long emails with specifications. You can thus iterate on the design of your prototype much faster.
Many of our startups saw the design of their products evolve, the sous-vide machine Nomiku is probably one whose changes were the most radical between the moment they joined HAXLR8R and the moment they went into production (read their story here on TC).
Manufacturing ability is one thing but costs are often a determining factor. A quote from Alibaba is not a reliable estimate nor is asking for “Apple quality” for half the price of a reasonable request to a factory. Avoid being overcharged or being laughed at by getting a better sense of your bill of materials and the manufacturing process.
Your factory is your most important partner
Okay so you have the right components and you know your product can be made and assembled. Are you going to select the factory and handle the relationship yourself?
It’s easy to make excuses for this one: it’s complicated, it’s in China (or Mexico, or elsewhere), you don’t speak the language, it takes time.… And where to start? Overall, it is scary.
As a result, it is tempting to bring in a third party to handle the relationship with factories. Beyond reducing your margins, the problem is that those companies essentially end up doing both audit and consulting. You know the result of this.
You can’t do hardware for long not knowing anything about manufacturing. So while you might need advice to get started, there is an expertise in project management and quality control you need to grow to succeed in the long term. And if you still have doubts: all the startups that went through HAXLR8R learned how to do it, and so can you. It might be worth noting that our 30 startups work with 30 different factories, to suit their needs best. To each his own!
“Not every product can be made in a toy factory. Your factory will make or break you, so pick wisely. Do not have a third party between you and your key suppliers.” – Zach “Hoeken” Smith, Co-founder, MakerBot (HAXLR8R Technical Director)
Good products have good technology and design, but also good distribution and good branding. Can your brand encompass your values, mission, product and be memorable in many languages?
As an example, Axio, a company doing wearable tech for your brain and part of the second batch at HAXLR8R, did a thorough rebranding to Melon, revisiting entirely its name, logo, approach, app and look and feel.
Pick the right business model(s)
Pure hardware is at risk of being commoditized fast, and many products now include “smart” connectivity and a service layer. Doing hardware-as-a-service means that picking the right business model is very important.
At HAXLR8R, Spark started off by making open source hardware and software, then a device-based subscription and then licensed both hardware and software. More recently, Vibease, the wearable smart vibrator, added sales of the content of a library of audio recordings to its revenue models.
Changes in the ecosystem have made it much more possible to start hardware companies at a much lower starting cost. Expect to see many new successful hardware startups, as “smart” products gradually come to replace the objects in our life!Read More →