Week 12: CES, rabbits & tips for fundraising!

There’s nothing like a good deadline really and none more exciting than CES (Consumer Electronics Show) on January 10th-13th 2013 in Las Vegas. We’ve signed the contract to have a small (10×20 sq feet) booth to show off The Good Night Lamp in the main Convention Centre. We’ll be surrounded by some crazy Asian companies in the “Connected Home” section so the pressure is on.

I bought a Karotz the other week to look at the user experience of an Internet of Things consumer device. It’s tricky at best as you have to download a folder that is generated with your wifi details, stick it on a USB key and stick that at the back of the rabbit and then turn it on. Less than ideal. As we work through the different technological solutions for GNL, this was a really useful way to understand some of the limitations of screen-less wifi devices and look at the app ecology that was built for the device.

The last weeks have been taken up mostly with fundraising. Many people ask me why I don’t just stick it on Kickstarter…and I guess we could. But the power of this platform comes really when you have moved beyond the MVP (Minimum Viable Product). If you read between the lines of the Pebble project, those guys had already sourced manufacturers, had a pre-production prototype ready and just needed some money and customers to “kickstart” it and also potential show to VC investors that there was a market for this product. We’re not a million miles away, but the conversations and support I’m having with potential investors is making me think about the business in ways that a crowdfunding platform wouldn’t. Also there is less pressure to make hundreds of potential customers happy, just a few people :)

I’m having to work on the numbers, envision the business 5 years down the learn, and worry about things like term sheets, getting a lawyer and exciting things like that. I’m not being sarcastic either, I think there is great creativity in shaping a business, more than designers imagine. Sure it’s done through spreadsheets and Powerpoint, but it has a lasting impact on how an idea comes to life.

Some good links I’ve found so far in case you’re looking for funding too:

VC hacks : Good resource for a cap table
3Cs: Meetups in London where you get feedback about your idea from investors, lawyers and business people.
Venture Deals: brilliant book that gets you up to speed on vocabulary and process
British Library IP Centre: they have some good classes on finance and investment
This Week in Venture Capital: a pretty good video explaining valuation (how much your idea is notionally worth)
TechStarts: Seed Funding documents shared by these investors (hire a laywer though, don’t attempt DIY if you don’t have experience).
Angelist is a community of angel investors. Put your company there!

1 reply on “ Week 12: CES, rabbits & tips for fundraising! ”
  1. I remember trying a lot of headless networked consumer devices when designing the AlertMe kit! Nabaztag far from ideal, but in some ways less painful than some of the touchscreen energy monitors and so forth. Nice user setup for wifi is so challenging though, especially when so few consumers understand the terminology (keys, etc). Routers are not your friend either. We went with Ethernet in the end – made life so much easier, but then we had a second wireless net to sort out too.

    Good luck with the business planning too. You’re right, there’s more to that than meets the eye :)

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