by Steve Annear | July 31, 2014 12:16 pm
Ben Harris and his cousin, Eric Ely, took away a valuable lesson after launching a Kickstarter campaign for a multi-function glove that lets users on-the-go tap a finger to access their phones: don’t do it when the weather is warm.
“We definitely learned a lot from this process,” said Harris, cofounder of the GoGlove, an interactive hand-protector designed for snowboarders, skiers, and runners bearing the cold, allowing them to change songs easily without digging into their pockets to retrieve their smartphone. “I think timing was important. It’s hard to sell a glove in July.”
That doesn’t mean buyers weren’t interested, however.
All the right elements for the launch of the GoGlove were in place: the functioning prototype, the innovative concept, and more than $23,000 in funding from people anticipating the release of such an invention.
But with just a few days to go in order to reach their Kickstarter campaign goal, which is nearly double what they’ve collected so far, Harris said he and Ely will have to take a step back, reassess, and then again dive into the market at a later time.
“We are at the point where we are ready to execute plan B—there always has to be a contingency plan—and there was a lot of things we decided we need to do better. Then we are going to go back to Kickstarter and run another campaign,” after they make some necessary tweaks and build additional momentum within the outdoorsy crowd, he said.
The GoGlove, which is a thin inner glove that both Harris and Ely have tested on the mountains themselves, connects the tips of a user’s fingers with their smartphone by accessing the built-in Bluetooth technology.
It was born out of their frustration of having to remove their bulky gloves to change songs, or turn down the volume by trying to squeeze the small remote connected to headphone cords. To eliminate those hassles, they developed the glove so that a sensor lies inside each fingertip, and when touched by a magnet in the thumb, transmits a different request, whether it be changing a song or turning up the volume on any music app.
One of the challenges they faced early on was figuring out how to use the glove without accidentally setting off the commands. To address this problem, they included a “lock screen” type function so a user can activate the glove, giving them 10 seconds to issue a command before the lock goes back on.
“It keeps the functions open for 10 seconds. Every tap on the fingers will give you another 10 seconds,” said Harris.
Harris said the duo’s approach to creating the glove worked backwards from how Kickstarter campaigns are typically rolled out. Instead of coming up with an incredibly “sexy” design and providing pictures of the idea to appeal to supporters, they instead focused on functionality. Their prototype—a working product—had the gadgets to get the job done, but the look of the glove wasn’t sleek enough, he said.
“The guts and functionality are pretty much done, it’s just the design we need to finalize. We will spend our time working on that and try and make a lot more promotion [online],” said Harris.
They’re also not ruling out the possibility that the GoGlove will move beyond its target audience. Harris said the glove would have an open API, so users can build and expand on what it’s capable of, like having it read a text.
“We are definitely not going to stop with a retail consumer product, we think the technology and application goes well beyond that,” he said. “We are definitely going to bring the product to market. I am committed to it. It’s just a question of when at this point.”
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