Cameron from Fuz Designs is here to explain how he raised $650K on Kickstarter for the worlds first bluetooth padlock. Noke. Cameron has quite a history already with Kickstarter. Fuz Designs and his partner David have run several campaigns in the past with the Everdock, and Everdock Go and the Felt Case for the iPhone 6 and 6 plus.
“we look at what technologies exist and how they can be implemented in products to make it a better product or experience and with our background in bluetooth we discovered that there is an opportunity for us to update the padlock, padlocks and locks in general have been around for hundreds of years and it hasn’t changed.”
Fuz Designs Website click HERE
Noke Kickstarter Campaign click HERE
Everdock Kickstarter Campaign click HERE
Everdock Go Kickstarter Campaign click HERE
Felt Case for iPhone 6 & 6 Plus Kickstarter campaign click HERE
Zagg – Manufacturing of mobile accessories click HERE
Dastrup Makes – Crowdfunding video – click HERE
Press Release website – PRWeb.com – Click HERE
ZacBob: Welcome back for another episode of CrowdFund Genius. Today we have Cameron from Fuz Designs and he’s here to share how he raised 650 thousand for his blue tooth padlock. Sorry it’s been so long since an episode release. I’ve been traveling and filming a new web series on crowdfunding campaigns. Make sure you jump over to our website to sign up and be notified when my little web series goes live. Now lets get started with the interview. Cameron tell us a little about yourself and the story of Fuz Designs. Don’t forget to share with our audience how you came up with Noke, the Worlds first Bluetooth padlock
Cameron from Noke: sure so, how it all began, to explain that, I have to give you a little bit of history. David and I started Fuz Designs a year ago, and we actually met while I was working at Zagg. I was over the product development and part management team there. And Zagg was a manufacturer of mobile accessories, they’re known for two products, one is an invisible shield, or a screen protector for smart phones and tablets. And the other product they’re known for is keyboards, keyboards for the iPad specifically. And so the way we meet was, David, after the iPad had launched in 2010, he came up with this keyboard for the iPad, and it was really clever. It was actually a keyboard, stand and a cover for your iPad all in one product. At the time no-one was making a keyboard for the iPad so he pitched it to us at Zagg, I was the person that he meet with and I loved it, so I kind of took it up the chain there at Zagg and everyone loved it. We liked it and we liked David so much that we brought him onboard and we acquired the keyboard from him and together we worked at Zagg in product development making power products, speaker products, keyboards and other accessories for Zagg. Eventually things changed they’re, they had a new CEO, they made an acquisition and no longer was value placed on R&D and product development it was more turned into a sourcing model and we found ourselves on the outside looking in so we decided, why don’t we start our own business. So that’s how we started and we’ve launched a couple of Kickstarter products already. First one was Everdock, the other one was the Everdock Go, and Noke was the most recent one and were actually in the middle of our other campaign the Felt Case, for the iPhone 6 and 6 plus. The inspiration for all of our products just comes from our team we get together and brainstorm and we look at what technologies exist and how they can be implemented in products to make it a better product or experience and with our background in bluetooth we discovered that there is an opportunity for us to update the padlock, padlocks and locks in general have been around for hundreds of years and it hasn’t changed. You use a key or you use a combination and both of those have down sides. You lose your keys you have to loan them out and you don’t get them back, and you don’t have them on you or you forget the combination or your constantly having to throw away old locks or having to take a bolt cutter to cut through them for one reason or another. So we thought why don’t we turn our smart phone into the key, and that was idea behind Noke.
ZacBob: I noticed there is also a special feature with Noke that involves clicking the lock. Can you elaborate a little more on the Click features of Noke?
Cameron from Noke: Correct, so with Noke, it runs off of a battery and maybe you don’t have your phone on you so we wanted to think of what we could do to make it work. So first off the way it works is you walk up to it assuming your phone is on you and you click it and that will wake up Noke. Its asleep all the time to preserve the battery life. So once you wake it up it begins instantly looking for a smartphone with a compatible key and once it finds it, it unlocks it. And it basically just turns a motor and unlocks and that all happens in the matter of a second or less. Now lets say your smartphones battery is dead or it’s just not on you for whatever reason, we thought of that too. The way it works is essentially like a Morse code were you have a long and a short press and you just program it through the app with whatever combination of short and long clicks to make it unlock so you can do you know long click, long click, short click, long click, short click. You know or whatever combination and once you do the right combination it will unlock. So we wanted to make it so it was better than the existing padlock experience not worse. So you could lose your phone just like you lose your keys but we have a back up for that and that is what we call “Quick, Click, Technology!”
ZacBob: Quick, click Technology, its catchy. So why did you decide to use Kickstarter compared to other platforms out there.
Cameron from Noke: Well Kickstarter is bigger than Indiegogo. Idniegogo from what I read has actually been around longer but Kickstarter seems to have a stronger community and their site drives more traffic. That’s when we first looked into you know a year ago. We haven’t researched this much recently. But kind of just from being in the crowdfunding space we get the impression that you know Kickstarter has a stronger community. One reason is our users, when we launch a product, we send an email to all of our previous backers from our previous projects, and so our users are on Kickstarter so we prefer to launch products on Kickstarter for that reason.
ZacBob: You had over 6,000 backers, and the average number of backers for Kickstarter I believe is 279. So you blew that stat out of the water and your original goal was 100K which is already ambitious enough and you easily surpassed that. Did you know that your campaign would do so well?
Cameron from Noke: You know we had a similar experience with our first campaign and you see campaigns all the time way over fund. So we knew it was certainly a possibility. We weren’t quite sure how well we would do. But we were blown away, and it exceeded our expectations. We did hope to raise a lot more than 100k because of the costs that go into developing this product, supporting it. So we wouldn’t have been to pleased if we barely reached our goal, but we didn’t expect it to completely obliterate it, or blow past it. We knew it was going to do okay because once you share it with enough people and they see a preview of your Kickstarter campaign and they just say, “this is awesome and better than anything that was ever done.” That’s when you know you got something good, and we didn’t know how good it was going to be until that point.
ZacBob: Now lets talk a little bit about your pledge amounts, and they say the average is around 7. But your pledge amounts were very simple and clear cut, you want to talk about that a little bit.
Cameron from Noke: So when we created our rewards, we wanted to keep it simple. We don’t want to have 30 plus rewards because I’ve seen several projects that do that and I just get confused. I don’t know which one I want. And so we don’t do the $1 pledge and people can still back you for a dollar if they want to. And we don’t do the t-shirt thing, and I can see why other campaigns might do it, it may help in one way or another. It could help with marketing or getting more backers, which means you, will get more support. There is some sense in that, but we just prefer keep things simple and so we decide that the very first thing you can get is a single one of the products that we are essential pitching, and if you want to get more than one, and you want to encourage them too of course. We give them a discount if they get two, and more of a discount if they get more, basically volume discounts which for us as a business it costs us less money to get an existing customer to buy more product than it does to go out and get a new customer. The cost per acquisition is very high, so if you can shave off a few dollars per unit, your going to make more profit selling existing customers more units than you are going to try and find new customers to buy one unit. It’s difficult and expensive, and that’s why we kind of do that model.
ZacBob: Your not just selling the locks, you have other accessories as well.
Cameron from Noke: correct, so we offered two products, either Noke, or Noke plus the bike kit, which is a cable, steel cable, and a mount for the seat post on a bike. Because we knew a lot of people would want to get Noke for their bikes, so we thought why wouldn’t we kind of complete the set if there going to get it for there bike. Its just going to be more work for our customer to buy our Noke and then go somewhere else, we would just be sending business to someone else if we didn’t offers a seat post with the cable.
ZacBob: Well it certainly was a great idea, you already had over 2000 backers were 279 is the average, so you had 2000 alone for the bike mount, and the Noke lock of course.
Cameron from Noke: Right
ZacBob: Lets talk about your crowdfunding video, it came in at 3:21 seconds long, that’s a little over the average time, but watching the video you wouldn’t notice that, it had a good story and moved along smoothly. So give us a behind the scenes look at Noke the Kickstarter video.
Cameron from Noke: So that’s a good question, most people don’t ask that but I think its important. There are several approaches to making a video its creative spaces, and there is no perfect formula. And I appreciate when people do things that are little bit different, a little bit not the status quo. Or not the same video that everybody else does, so we try to keep it interesting but at the same time a lot of what people do in videos make a lot of sense. You present a problem, then you talk about how your product fixes that problem and is better than existing product at fixing that problem. And that’s kind of the formula we go off of. And we try to include each of the major benefits or features, but specifically benefits in the video. I’m not a sales guy necessarily but I’ve been told that you want to talk about features and advantages and benefits and I think really were people can buy into a product is how is this going to improve my life. That’s why people are on Kickstarter. They want things that bring them happiness, that bring them satisfaction, that bring them productivity, so you really got to hit that and explain that. And that’s what we tried to do with our video, we talk about the existing problem with padlocks, don’t dwell on it, we spend about 15 seconds in the video talking about the existing padlocks and the problems with that and then we talk about our solution what it is, how it works, and then we go into what you benefit from it. And it’s really important that video is professional, and to do a professional video, it’s not cheap. You have to have the right product for the right video. If your trying to raise 10,000 dollars your budget for the video is probably not going to be more than a 1000 dollars or less. Because you know there is no sense in spending 5000 dollars on a video when your trying to raise 10,000 dollars on something but the cost of making it is 5,000 dollars. What do you gain? And so we knew we had something successful so we had a good budget for it and we hired a professional, someone who had made several videos, he knew what he was doing. He has great equipment and is really good at the shooting and the production side of it, you know the editing. So for us it was important that we created a video that was professional and communicated the message very well and that showed off the product very well. You know you want great lifestyle shots, and we kept in mind that this is a video that will be seen five years from now. You want to make something that will essentially after Kickstarter benefit you. So we made something that we thought could air on TV, a commercial essentially. That we could then put o our website and use to promote it were as on our first Kickstarter project it was us on the camera for a good solid minute, 30 seconds at the beginning and 30 seconds at the end and just us talking through it. On this one we decided lets not just do the interview, lets do a video that we could use on our site after our Kickstarter is over.
ZacBob: The company you used to make your video, you want to give them a shout out real quick, their website and company information.
Cameron from Noke: Yea we used Scott Dastrup. And I believe his URL is Dastrup Makes, he may not even have a website, he’s a local guy and he’s been doing this for a few years. For more than a few years I believe, and Kickstarter has only been around for 5. But he’s been in video production and yea, DastrupMakes.com is his website.
ZacBob: You had a ton of media attention all the way from Stuff Magazine to TechCrunch. How did you go about getting such a enormous amount of press for Noke?
Cameron from Noke: The two crucial things, one is you have to have a product that is new and exciting. And if you’re just launching another case for an iPhone, or another power adapter or another backup battery, and there really isn’t nothing special about it, your not going to get any coverage. Bloggers and you know anyone that’s going to be promoting your product, aren’t going to care about anything that’s been done before. So we did a product that’s never been done before. You know a Bluetooth padlock. A padlock that you open up with your smartphone. So that was the biggest thing, the other thing is, on this occasion we actually hired a local PR firm that had a relationship with some of these tech blogs. By relationship I mean he gotten his other projects featured, and actually knew and had correspondence with some of the writers there. He wasn’t just out there grabbing emails from the internet and just emailing people which a lot of the Kickstarter PR firms do. And so I think that was helpful and we had tried pitching before and we did have success with the Everdock doing it on our own. But it was helpful to have him, and his company is foxtail telemarketing and the person we worked with there was Mike Templeman.
ZacBob: What about a press release? Did you do your own press release or did Foxtail telemarketing handle everything.
Cameron from Noke: we drafted our own press release. We are control freaks here so we like to have control of the message and how it’s sent out and everything. We did do our own press release too, we sent it out, we used PR Web. Just a tip if you sign up with a new email account with PRweb.com you get $50 bucks off so it only costs you 50 bucks to send a press release. And bye the way I don’t know that the press release makes a difference, I’m almost positive, I am positive really that it makes no difference what’s so ever. Its not going to get you any coverage, do not rely on it, we only did it to kind of do something official when we launched it, in a way it kind of memorializes our launch and makes it real. Its sometimes helpful because blogs like to get a press release from you when emailing them. Like we’ve attached our press release because it has basic information and lets them know this product just launched and on this date. Because sometimes blogs are like is this a new product, a second generation, did you launch it six months ago and are trying to put lipstick on a pig and say this is something new. So when you have a press release it makes it look a little bit more fresh. And that’s critical for these sites, because they don’t want to cover old stuff they want to cover new stuff and that’s why they’re called the news.
ZacBob: Quick question, earlier you mentioned that you were emailing members of the media. And sometimes you would have to email multiple members from one site. For example, lets say your trying to get into TechCrunch. Would you recommend emailing the entire staff or just one individual from that staff and why?
Cameron from Noke: Yeah I would highly recommend emailing just one. And if they don’t respond to you after a day or two move onto another one. But they do have their own content management systems where queue things up and if they see multiple writers interested in covering a specific product then they will be like okay, these guys are just spamming everybody, they’re not giving us an exclusive or being loyal to a specific writer so forget it lets not work with them. So yea start with one, and if you don’t hear back from them in a day or two, or if they don’t get back to you in 24 hours, then they moved on. They’re not going back to emails they got a day ago to determine whether or not they’re going to cover it. Because its old news by then.
ZacBob: Lets move into Social media and your campaign. What were you using, Facebook, Twitter, and was it effective? And how were you using it?
Cameron from Noke: We did, and you know social media is important in that you can kind of show that your transparent and engaged. But again, mostly what happens with 99.9 percent of products out there is, you post it on your Facebook account your Twitter account, Pinterest, Instagram and then your really good friends and family will repost it and share it, but what happens 99.9 percent of the time it just stops there, just stops in it tracks, it only reaches your network. It’s very difficult to launch a product that goes beyond your own network of friends. It has to be really, really mass appeal, and really, really creative and really, really new to get beyond that. Or really funny or really interesting, and I mean just over the top like wow I never thought of that before. Or it could be really niche like some niche blog or some niche Facebook group or something like that where it could take off in that community. But for something to go viral and just bring or drive sells to your Kickstarter, or to bring backers to your Kickstarter project. It just doesn’t happen very often, you can get the exposure because we had like 45000 Facebook shares and when you get in the right circle of influences or the right networks you know you can drive backers off that but I don’t know about a bunch of sales. It does drive awareness though, so maybe people wont buy it right away but six months they’re going to remember someone sharing with me a lock that I can open with my phone, and maybe they will remember your name and find you again. But for the most part it will not drive sales.
ZacBob: Was Noke ever on the staff picks or the popular projects portion of Kickstarter?
Cameron from Noke: It was and it achieved. It was a staff pick, and they’ll let you know it’s a staff pick even before it goes live when you submit it, they will say hey someone on our staff loves your project and it was a staff pick.
ZacBob: Thank you for clearing that up for us. You’re the first person on the show I believe to acknowledge the fact that Kickstarter alerts you before hand.
Cameron from Noke: Yea and so that’s, I don’t know again, it helps with some of the exposure. But there’s tons of staff pick products that didn’t raise a ton of money. But it helps, and it doesn’t hurt at all, but it could not make a big difference at the same time. And being popular is all about having a certain amount of backers in a certain period. I don’t know how offer they refresh that time range whether its 6 hours, 12 hours or 24 hours whenever they’re refreshing it. I guess something closer to 6 hours. Yea once you have a number of backers you will get on the popular pages, we funded within the first 16 hours so you know we had over 1000 backers in the first day and that put us on the popularity page and we stayed on it for quite some time.
ZacBob: Would you contribute that first 100,000 dollars in the first 16 hours, because you used all the backers in your previous campaigns and they were so interested in this one?
Cameron from Noke: That contributed a lot. 100,000 didn’t come straight from our backers, I would say a fraction of it did, certainly not a majority. But a lot of it came because we had some much interest from our current backers we were able to get on the popular sections, and a lot of it really came from blog coverage on the first day. We had a lot of blog coverage on the first day and I would say majority of backers came from that blog coverage on the first day.
ZacBob: Would you say that your PR Company got you majority of that blog coverage or was it you that got most of that coverage?
Cameron from Noke: You know what had happened is our PR company had success with the Gadget and them covering us. And then they had some success with a few others, but really what happens is If you get covered by a major blog. Then all of the other major blogs take notice and decide whether or not its something they want to cover. And I think because we got coverage on a major tech blog, then we got coverage on other major tech blogs because of it.
ZacBob: Now its time for our final two questions. What’s the one thing you wish you knew going into your campaign?
Cameron from Noke: Because this is our third, we don’t have any major regrets on our last one. But on our first one though, one of the things we wish we knew was how critical the first 24 hours were. You know we, even on our first campaign we got funded on our second day so we had some success there. And we got pretty good blog coverage. But one thing I wish I known was we had some major tech blogs that we reached out to about a week in a half into our campaign, again this is our first one. But they said this is a really cool product but you know what its already been live for a week in a half and we like to cover stuff when its new, and its an old story now. we don’t want to look like were playing catch up. So I was like dang it, I wish we would have had success, because we had reached out to that blog but had changed to find another writer at that blog. And that’s when I got that response, so man I wish I would’ve spoken with this guy before we launched because then we would’ve gotten coverage on a major tech blog from the very beginning. Which leads to a lot of success. A lot of residual comes from initial successes. One of the terms I use recently is “success begets success.” So if you have success in one area it just pours over into another area, and it just continues to give you momentum that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t have that initial success.
ZacBob: So what is the best advice, or best tip you could give to any crowdfunders listening today hoping to replicate your success?
Cameron from Noke: The best advice, this is probably it. And its going to be a little bit hard for some of the creators to take to heart but I’m going to say its really critical. Make sure you’re not the only one that cares about your product, if you are the only one that really cares and are passionate about it, don’t do it. I know its going to hurt but your going to end up spending a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of resources trying to launch a product that nobody really wants. So what I encourage other Kickstarters to do is to listen to the feedback you get from other people. Take some with a grain of salt because they may be wrong; make sure your talking to the right people. Its important that 10 out 10 people that you show say oh nice, they don’t say oh that’s really cool or super smart. Just know that they might be trying to sugar coat it when they say oh nice. And its not really something that they think people are going to care about, because if you look at Kickstarter there is 7-8 thousand projects that are live. And I don’t know what the ratio is, but probably 80 percent or less, maybe its 60 percent are not reaching their funding goal. So you have to realize that every 5 ideas you come up with, maybe one is legitimate. So throw away those other four ideas, don’t love them don’t be married to them, be prepared to just drop it if feedback isn’t positive. And that’s probably the top advice I would give a creator.
ZacBob: Now that your project has ended were can people go to purchase their own Noke?
Cameron from Noke: They can go to our website, its FuzDesigns.com Or they can go to GetNoke.com And that will re-direct them to our Kickstarter page and from our Kickstarter page there are links that will take you straight to our website so you can get your pre-orders and we will be shipping in February.
ZacBob: And were can people email you directly if they have any questions?
Cameron from Noke: They can email me at Cameraon@FuzDesigns.com
ZacBob: Alright Cameron, I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing incredible insights.
Cameron from Noke: You bet! Thanks ZacBob I appreciate it.
ZacBob: I want to thank everyone for listening this week. There should be some changes to our show format coming out soon. So stay tuned. Make sure you sign up for our email list at CrowdFundGenius.com Thanks for listening and Happy crowdfunding. ZacBob out!