Posts Tagged "crowdfunding"

The True Cost of Bringing Your Hardware Product to Market

April 19, 2016
3D Innovations

costsUnderestimating the costs of bringing a product to market is a pitfall many entrepreneurs make. This one mistake can seriously derail a startup. Hardware products are notorious for being costly, so it is wise to estimate your costs before jumping in. Technology innovations, such as 3D printing, have helped lower some of the associated costs, but there are still others that many entrepreneurs aren’t aware of.

Below is a list of some of the major costs associated with launching a hardware product.

  • 3D Rendering & Prototyping. 3D rendering lets you design and accurately visualize the product before investing in an actual model. Once you have a final design, it is time to build a prototype. This is a critical step because it is here in which you test your design and make any necessary changes to its aesthetics or functionality. 3D printing has helped drive the costs down of prototypes, so this is one technology you may want to consider using. Keep in mind that prototyping costs vary depending on size, complexity and volume of part. (Estimated costs: $5,000-plus for design work and $500-plus for 3D printing iterations)
  • Certifications & Testing. Most products require some type of certification to be sold in various countries. (This is especially true if your product has an electronic component.) Entrepreneur has a list of certifications that could be required for your product (here). (Estimated cost: $10,000)
  • Intellectual Property. Patents allow you to secure all rights and claims to your invention. Filling a design patent is going to cost less than a utility patent, but the protection rights are also different. However, both types of patents let you use the coveted phrase, patent pending. It is always best to consult with a patent attorney to discuss the needs of your individual product. (Estimated costs: $2,000-plus)
  • The Retail Package. The retail package is integral and is in many ways the ‘face’ of your product. It must be both protective during shipping and help your product standout on a crowded shelf. (Estimated cost: $3,000-plus)
  • Manufacturing. This is likely going to be your largest expense, which means that finding and vetting manufacturers is to your advantage. While small batch runs are feasible with 3D printing, larger batches are going to require mass-manufacturing. Injection molding costs run high because of the expensive steel molds required. (Estimated costs: $40,000-plus)
  • Traditional business expenses. This category encompasses business licenses, product liability insurance, office space, warehousing fees and shipping costs, etc. (Estimated costs: $1,000-plus per month)

If your product has electronic components you are also going to want to factor in these additional costs.

  • Electronics Design. This is the heart and soul of your product. It is what makes your product go and what helps it stand out from the competition. From a design standpoint, this is going to be the most expensive step. It is important to find a design engineer that has experience related to your design needs and clearly understands your budgetary requirements. (Estimated cost: $10,000-plus)
  • Software. If your hardware product is going to require a microcontroller or microprocessor, some level of programming will be required. In addition, if your product needs to communicate with a smartphone, a mobile app may also be required. (Estimated costs: $5,000-plus)

Here is what our President & Chief 3D Officer, Collin Kobayashi, has to say about hardware development costs, “Costs fluctuate with the specifications and requirements of your individual product. For example, a product that connects via Bluetooth takes more engineering than a device that just displays LEDs. It is always best to consult with design and manufacturing experts to get a clear answer on what your specific development costs will be.”

These costs do add up and it is easy to see why so many startups have turned to crowdfunding for their inventions. While crowdfunding is a fantastic resource, you need to nail down all of the costs required to bring your product to market first. Too often entrepreneurs underestimate the costs of bringing their product to market, and even after a successful crowdfunding campaign, can’t deliver on their promise to customers.

The most obvious example of underestimating costs is the Coolest Cooler, which was wildly successful and raised more than $13 million on Kickstarter in 2014, but over a year later many backers still have not received their coolers. Only after the Kickstarter campaign ended and manufacturing began, did the founders realize they set the price tag too low for the coolers—this one mistake has quickly turned into a nightmare scenario for the startup and the customers that pre-ordered through Kickstarter.

While all of these costs can and will fluctuate based on your specific product needs. These estimates are provided to help give you an idea on how much each stage in the product development process will cost, so that you and your team can plan accordingly.

Have questions about bringing your product to market? Let’s chat! Send your questions our way, info@3d-inovations.com

If you are looking for assistance in launching a product, check out our manufacturing and commercialization accelerator, Startup Connector.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Showcase Your Latest Product Design

April 15, 2016
3D Innovations

Have you been hard at work developing (an awesome) product, and are now ready to share it with the world? Great—that feeling of accomplishment is the best! Taking a moment to step back, look at the final design and think about how far you have come, really puts all the hard work and time spent into perspective.

Now onto the next stage, spreading the word about your product… We would love to share your recent design or product here on our blog! Whether you are getting ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign and would like a little help spreading the word, or you would like some design feedback from our trusted readers, we would be happy to help! We are always looking for ways to connect and share innovative products.

If you are interested in sharing your design or product on our blog, please e-mail us at info@3d-innovations.com so that we can chat.

“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do.” — Anonymous

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Product Design & Development Questions

March 24, 2016
3D Innovations

You have questions, we have answers.

PrintWe know how overwhelming it can be starting out with a product idea, and not knowing the next steps to take in order to make this idea a full-fledged reality. Between the product design and development aspects and reaching out to manufacturersthe ‘to-do’ list seems ever expanding.

While the internet is a great tool for finding answers to your questions, it can also lead to contradicting results and growing frustrations. It is often best to reach out to someone in the field to get the answers you need.

Let us help!

As a product development firm, we have experience working with entrepreneurs and startups from the initial concept phase through product launch. Whether you have a simple question and are looking for expert advice or you are interested in learning more about the entire product development process, our team is ready to help. Send us an e-mail (info@3d-innovations.com) or give us a call (+1.808.722.8667). We are always happy to help answer your questions and start you on the path to a successful product launch!

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Market Testing Is Vital For Hardware Startup Success

March 21, 2016
3D Innovations

goalSuccessfully launching a product is one of the best feelings in the world—you have nurtured an idea, spent time developing it and now it is in the hands of consumers. However, as entrepreneurs know, before you get to the “launch” there are hundreds of steps in between. Market testing is one of these steps and is vital to your product’s success.

What is Market Testing?

Market testing is getting your product idea and prototype into the hands of potential buyers and asking for their feedback. The feedback provided is related to all aspects of the productprice point, functionality and overall design. You are asking for real and honest feedback to help perfect your idea and make sure everything is in place for a successful launch. The information you glean from testing your market is the most valuable out there, since these are potential buyers/clients and you want to make sure that their needs are met.

Is Market Testing Expensive?

Market testing does take time, but it doesn’t have to drain resources. While major corporations spend the big bucks on market testing, that doesn’t mean you have to. Look at your current social and business networks and start testing your product idea and prototype with these individuals. You can then expand your test market as you progress in the product development timeline.

Your time and money are extremely valuable, and can’t afford to waste them by investing them in producing a product that fails in the marketplace. The more you test your product before you produce and sell it, the more likely you are to earn the sales and profits that you desire.

Build Excitement Around Your Product Launch

Market testing is another way of building excitement about your product. We recently  worked with the Menehunes as they developed their product, pitched it at a community startup event and launched a crowdfunding campaign. However, before launching their Kickstarter page, these young entrepreneurs had the foresight to reach out to their target market, and let these potential buyers test the product and provide them with feedback. The feedback not only helped hone in on the final design, but it also connected them with some of their first Kickstarter backers. It is never too early to start building excitement around your product’s launch.

Testing your target market is one of the many steps before launch, but it is one that should not be overlooked or undervalued. Continually testing your target market can help ensure your product’s success.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Product Development: Project Cost Estimate

March 7, 2016
3D Innovations

industrial_design-handleAs a product development firm we receive weekly inquiries from entrepreneurs looking to develop their idea. We love speaking with these entrepreneurs because their enthusiasm is contagious! There is always one question that comes up most often and early in the conversation, “How much will it cost to develop my idea?”While this indeed is extremely important, there are some additional pieces of information we, and any product development firm, will need about your idea before we can answer it. Discussing the below questions will not only help us provide a quote, but they also give us a better idea on the entire product development timeline as well.

  • Do you have 2D or 3D CAD drawings for your idea?
  • Have you defined the functional aspects of your product?
  • Have you built an initial prototype?
  • Do you know what materials you would like to use?

It is alright to not have firm answers to all of these questions yet, we will discuss them further in our initial conversation.

Going from “idea to product” is always exciting! If you are interested in developing a product, let’s schedule a time to chat, so we can begin collaboration on a ‪‎design‬ plan. We can be reached by e-mail at info@3d-innovations.com or by phone at +1.808.722.8667 We look forward to talking to you!

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

Connect with us on TwitterFacebook & LinkedIn today

The Menehune Mount Is Now On Kickstarter

March 1, 2016
3D Innovations

This past November our President and Chief 3D Officer, Collin Kobayashi, had the honor of participating as mentor for the Menehune Hat Clip team at Startup Weekend Honolulu. The Menehune Hat Clip is a simple mount that attaches right to your hat and allows you to connect your GoPro to capture that ‘perfect shot’. This team of young entrepreneurs went on to capture First Place at Startup Weekend Honolulu and then tied for First Runner Up in the Global Startup Battle Champions track! While they were quite possibly the youngest team participating in Startup Weekend, their determination and drive helped propel them to the top.

After Startup Weekend, the team knew that they wanted to continue to fine tune their idea and eventually get it into the hands of consumers. Instead of focusing on a mount solely for GoPro, the design was altered and became a universal mount for any recording device. The prototypes have been designed and tested, manufacturing partners have been procuredhowever, first funds need to be raised. Their Kickstarter page, Menehune Mount, is now live!

If you are into vlogging or taking event action shots, you are going to want to check out the Menehune Mount. The mount has been designed to easily hold your GoPro or iPhone and can attach to many surfaces (tent fabric, poles, magnetic surfaces). The compact design makes it lightweight to carry around or mount on the bill of your hat. Learn more about the Menehune Mount and all of the testing that went into perfecting its design on Kickstarter or the Menehunes website.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

Subscribe to the 3D Innovations newsletter on our Facebook page!

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Startup Connector: Hardware Startups Are Gaining Momentum

February 26, 2016
3D Innovations

Silicon Valley, and much of the startup community, has been enthralled with software for years, but the tides are turning and hardware startups are gaining momentum. Investors are taking hardware startups serious—since 2010, venture capital investment in hardware startups is up more than 30x (Tech Crunch). Venture capital investment in connected device hardware startups reached approximately $1.48 billion in 2014, more than triple the amount of two years earlier.

A New Wave Of Opportunity

3D Printing Services | Rapid Prototyping Services | 3D-innovationsAdvances in technology, coupled with hardware accelerators and incubators, are ushering in a new wave of opportunity for hardware entrepreneurs. Creating a functional prototype is no longer a hassle thanks to design software advances and 3D printing technology. Entrepreneurs are able to design and develop prototypes in a matter of days instead of months. After the prototype is complete, many of these hardware incubators and accelerators then help turn this prototype into a working, production-ready product within a matter of months.

By reducing the product development timeline, startups are able to get their idea built, tested, manufactured and on to store shelves much faster than we have ever seen before. Fitbit, Nest and GoPro are prime examples of companies that have paved the wave for hardware startups and demonstrated to investors that there is tremendous profitability in this startup segment. While distribution and manufacturing still have their inherent challenges for hardware startups, they are becoming more and more accessible.

Reaching Out To The Crowd

Hardware startups are tapping into their network and reaching out to the crowd. While crowdfunding has continued to revolutionize investing as we know it, hardware startups are reaping the benefits. A quick search on Kickstarter shows you that there are hundreds of hardware startups at any given time searching for funding. One of the most notable, The Coolest Cooler, raised $13 million (26x their funding goal) in 2014. Reaching consumers used to be a challenge, but that is no longer the case. Crowdfunding is not only helping raise capital, it is also validating ideas and build a relationship with consumers early-on.

An Exciting Future

“When building a new hardware product becomes as easy as making an iPhone app, we will have truly ushered in a golden era of innovation.” Hardware startups are playing a critical role in making the new industrial revolution a reality. As barriers to entry continue to diminish, we will begin to see more hardware startups debut and increased investor activity.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Failure: An Essential Part Of Invention And Success

February 18, 2016
3D Innovations

churchhillFailure is inevitable, however it is how we handle this failure that shapes our future.90% of startups fail,” yet many entrepreneurs who experience failure would rather bury their head in a pillow, sweep it under the rug and move on. While this is human nature, taking time to reflect on the failure is essential for future success. With failure there are always lessons to be learned, and as we see it, failure is just a hurdle on your way to success. Below are three types of failure that entrepreneurs experience but rarely want to talk about.

Product Design Failure. Product development is a complicated process and design failures happen for a number of reasonsthe solution is to minimize failures through prototyping and testing. The last thing you want to do is find a defect once your product has been manufactured. Avoid this costly mistake by taking the time to design, prototype and test your idea. Rushing to the manufacturing stage before the product has been adequately tested by your team, and market test group, significantly increases your potential for failure.

Funding Failure. The simple truth is that not all crowdfunding campaigns are successful and not all investors are going to believe in your project. If you plan to pursue crowdfunding for your idea, then take the time to set up a campaign that creates momentum, excite people with a superb video and provide incentives that people actually want. The great thing about crowdfunding is that it is forgiving, and if your first campaign failsreevaluate, redesign and relaunch a few months later. Remember the Coolest Cooler? The first campaign for it was a total flop in 2013, but in 2014 they tried again and the campaign raised a total of $13 million (26x their funding goal)!

If you plan on meeting with investors to help fund your startup, keep in mind that it is rare to find the perfect investor during your first pitch. Research investment companies that are interested in your product offering and target investors that have similar business interests as your own. Master your pitch and present a flawless presentation to get investors excited about your idea.

Startup Failure. Out of the three types of failure we are discussing, this is the hardest one to move on from. Entrepreneurs pour their heart and soul into their startup, so when it fails, it is particularly devastating. While startups fail for a variety of reasons, the top reason startups fail is that they are making a product no one wants. “A careful survey of failed startups determined that 42% of them identified the ‘lack of a market need for their product’ as the single biggest reason for their failure.” If you are going to spend time and energy making a product, make sure it’s the right product for your target market.

Business failure in any capacity is not particularly enjoyable, however it does not mean that it is the end. While success is easy to talk about, keep in mind that no great success was ever achieved without failure.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

Startup Connector is a Manufacturing Accelerator helping companies commercialize—turning ideas into products.

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Crowdfunding Moves Mainstream

December 3, 2015
3D Innovations

There is no question that crowdfunding is revolutionizing the way business is conducted. Crowdfunding has movedrelatively quicklyfrom an ‘alternative’ financing method to mainstream. These statistics breakdown and help quantify the popularity of crowdfunding…

  • Kickstarter crowdfunding statistics show more than 22,000 projects were successfully funded in 2014.
  • More than 3.3 million people around the world backed a project on Kickstarter in 2014 of which 2.2 million were new backers.
  • More than $1.9 billion has been raised on Kickstarter as of mid-2015 with a success rate of 37% across all projects.

*Statistics are from Crowd101 (link below)

The crowdfunding industry is experiencing huge overall growth. Entrepreneurs are using crowdfunding for proof of concept, early idea validation and customer pre-orders. This is shifting the business funding and financial ecosystem, and really putting the power of fundraising in the hands of individuals.

However, before you head out to launch a crowdfunding campaign, there are a few basics that should be worked out first.

Step 1: Develop your message. Before explaining the benefits of your product, demonstrate the problem(s) it solves. This helps potential investors recognize the problem in their own life and acknowledge that a solution is necessary. Once your message is developed, work on honing it until it is short, concise and perfect.

Step 2: Clarify how much funding you need. This involves research, and lots of it. Pulling a nice round number from the sky is exactly what you shouldn’t do. Prove to investors that you have what it takes by researching each stage in the product development process, and provide realistic estimates for each phase and how you came to these amounts. Meet with product designers, manufacturers and other key players to firm up costs and timeframes for yourself and investors.

Depending on the size of your project, it is a good idea to focus your crowdfunding requests on specific parts of your business or certain phases of development. This way you won’t be asking for too much money, and left disappointed if your goal is not obtained.

Step 3: Avoid a cold start. There is an innate psychological avoidance to being “first”. People tend to hesitate if they see that no one else has backed the campaign yet. Increase your chances of gaining investors by starting out with initial investment capital. This money can be raised with your starter crowd.

A “starter crowd” are those in your inner circle and community that want to see your campaign succeed. These are the people you reach out to before your campaign has even gone live. That way, once your campaign is up and going you already have a certain percentage of funding accounted for and avoid a cold start.

Keep in mind that raising funds is really the first step. If you didn’t reach your goal, find out why. Analyze the feedback and then adjust your goals accordingly. For example, you may find that your message wasn’t getting across clearly and investors weren’t sure what value your product served in the marketplace. Now is the time to address this. Listen closely to what people are saying and adjust your campaign, message or product accordingly.

If you had a successful round of funding, maintain a relationship with your investors and show your gratitude. Work hard at fulfilling the promises made during your campaign because regardless of how much someone invested, they may be willing to invest more during a second round of funding.

Here are a few more powerful statistics to highlight from Crowd101:

  • Keep your community active. Campaigns that updated followers regularly raised 126% more than those with no updates.
  • Teams raise 38% more than one-person campaigns.
  • Campaigns with a day-to-day marketing plan raise almost three times as much! This is a great idea. You’re daily to-do list doesn’t have to be earth shattering but plan on doing at least one thing each day to promote your campaign.

Like infographics? (We do!) Crowd 101 has a great “Crowdfunding Success Statistics & How You Should Raise Money Online” infographic here.

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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Prototyping: Bringing Ideas Into Existence

November 19, 2015
3D Innovations

The startup community is flowing with fantastic ideas, but if you want investors to take your pitch serious then you need a prototype. Investors have figured out that asking for a functional prototype is one way to separate the ‘wannabe’ entrepreneurs from serious players. As the old adage goes, “talk is cheap”. Entrepreneurs who are prepared to show a prototype to investors, whether angel investors or a crowdfunding community, demonstrate that they know how to execute.

3D Printing Services | Rapid Prototyping Services | 3D-innovationsHaving a prototype shows that you have already tested the idea, worked out the design challenges and researched manufacturing partners. Completing all of this before seeking funding brings a new level of credibility to you and your startup.

If you find yourself sitting on the fence as to whether or not you should go ahead and develop that prototype, here are a few points to consider…

  • Show your commitment. Demonstrating that you are willing to move this product past the idea phase lets investors know that you are serious and should be taken seriously. The process of designing, building and validating a prototype does take time, but it also greatly reduces risks and challenges later on.
  • Test your idea in the real world. When your idea is brought to life, you are able to validate the idea and garner consumer feedback. Let potential customers get their hands on the prototype to test its functionality and decide whether it does in fact fit their needs. When you talk about your idea, each person imagines it in their own manner, but a functional prototype is a concrete way of bringing your idea into existence.
  • Implement design feedback without dire consequences. Make pre-production design changes without losing inventory. Nothing is worse than having inventory that you cannot sell. Investors and consumers will have design modification ideas, and testing them out with prototypes is much more cost effective.
  • Reduce costs and time-to-market. Time is money. Validating your design before it heads to manufacturing lets you get the product out of the door while staying on schedule. A three-dimensional prototype will also allow you to effectively negotiate contracts with manufacturers.

The benefits and advantages of a physical prototype should not be underestimated. Building a prototype will help you validate your product early-on and gain credibility.

 Do you have additional questions about the prototyping process? Please feel free to contact us at info@3d-innovations.com

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3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

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