Logistics of Ultraportable Audio – Boombot REX Delivery Update

Facepalm Monkey

chinese may day holds back dangerous goods certifications

SAN FRANCISCO, CA- After pulling all of our strings with our logistics relationships, we were unable to expedite the certifications process for our Boombot REX delivery.   We are all disappointed about our inability to get around the red tape of Chinese logistics. We ran into May Day which has put our certification on hold till MAY 10th.  

As something to take note of, whenever you’re transporting goods out of China, talk to your freight forwarder MONTHS in advance and be sure that all certifications have been taken care of.  We had the Boombot REX go through CE, FCC, ROHS, CTIA and many more. Even with that, this last UN38.3 one put a halt on our shipment in a very untimely manner.  You can move product at smaller volumes without much restriction, but when you’re dealing with bulk shipments with batteries, there are different rules of engagement that need additional attention.  Lesson learned.

WTF IS CHINESE MAY DAY

As a day for the working people worldwide.  I guess it’s kind of like Labor Day for China.  It was established on May 1st in 1886. In China.  They probably have BBQs and sip PBR in their own form.  

tell me something good

G6 Kickstarter

So the good news is that we’re jumping the boat.   Yup.  No more 30-day chug across the Pacific Ocean.  That’s RIGHT.  We are putting these puppies on a jet and we are getting them out of China ASAP.  Between pick-up, transit and customs, we could see product stateside as soon as MAY 16-18th window.  The White REX early backers will have their Boombot REX and wall charger delivered to them with first priority.  We will have some units at our SF studio if anyone wants to come in and grab one by hand.  You can come party with us at Bay to Breakers Block Party and it will be all good.

who wants to get the first Boombot REX?

We have ONE lucky unit coming over via DHL Express for our favorite Kickstarter backer.  Leave a comment on why you deserve the best portable speaker and what you will use it for and we’ll send you your Boombot REX.   Be the FIRST.  We will pick a winner this Friday.  Enter the contest HERE.

Thank you all for your patience and we hope that we’ve been doing a good job keeping you updated and in the loop on our startup woes.

 

The Lean Hardware Startup Model


Lean Startup

what to do after your crowdfunding success

First off, you need to build the product you promised and deliver it to your backers.  That is first and foremost.  Let go of being a perfectionist and ship out your MVP (minimum viable product).  If you even got within 90% close to what you promised, you will have your backers support.  If you can deliver it even within several months of what you promised, you will still have your backers support.

While you’re building your product, you should spend some time thinking about what your next moves are.  The best entrepreneurs are visionaries that are able to see where their company is going months or years in front of where they are.  They are also able to see where the market is going well before it’s already there.

securing additional financing

Anything you can do to get some additional runway is a good thing.  Here’s the tricky part.  If you want your business to really be bankable, you need to figure out how to get it to a $3-5 million yearly run rate.  More likely $5 million before players and strategic investors will really take notice to your brand.  Do it being either profitable or really close to break even.  In hardware, unlike software, your margins are important.  Your growth will be looked at with as much scrutiny as your gross margin.

Don’t even bother wasting your time with traditional banks.  You really have three options.  You can raise equity based financing (selling part of your company), getting SBA loans, and non-traditional financing through AR (accounts receivable).  If you can spike your sales and create the beautiful problem of demand exceeding supply, then you’re in good shape.  This model with an insanely lean overhead is the way to go until you can get more support from a bank.

Do not bank on getting support from Venture Capital in MOST hardware cases.  Right now, the exception is that if you have some really dumb rudimentary hardware with a monetization off high margin software, you can look at VC funding.  In the case of most consumer products, plan on proving yourself for a long time and building up slow and steady.  If you don’t plan on investing a MINIMUM of three years on your product/idea, you should probably walk away right after you ship off to your crowdfunding backers.   There is no shame in this.  Life is short and you should pick a career path you will be happy doing for a long time.

The financing niche righ tnow

So how do you get from $50k to $5 million without much capital?  It’s HARD.  Leveraging your balance sheet in AR financing (or factoring) is tricky.  We’ve used Bridge Bank for a $500k A/R line and Marble Bridge for factoring.  The factoring was pretty sweet because in the wholesale business, they actually act as your A/R department and they proactively make calls to do collections.  It is pricey, but it helps cash flow and it also saves you from hiring someone to do A/R.

What I see in the market is that there are a lot of companies that can reach the initial success of product inception, but few that have support to scale into a successful operating business.  Lighter Capital is providing some revenue based financing which offers facilities based on the business run rate.  To me, crowdfunding has become the new platform for seed stage, but there is a big gap in the early stage $1M-$5M.  Finding the right partnerships to get your business to be bankable is tricky.  My best recommendation is to pitch till the end of the earth, get struck by lighting in a bottle, while maintaining a healthy viable company.

Kickstarter project tickles the spine with the beats of your favorite song

Back massager gives new meaning to feeling the music

SubPac audio technology

Toronto-based Studiofeed has just launched one of the more fascinating pieces of music technology we’ve ever come across. Their product is called the SubPac and it’s a backrest with audio interface designed to transmit bass frequencies through actual physical contact with the user.

Designed to mimic club-level bass intensities, the SubPac has a frequency response of 5Hz to 130Hz.

In layman’s terms, what headphones are to speakers, the SubPac is to subwoofers.

Continue reading

Finger mouse gives literal meaning to point and click

Future of mobile computing is getting much, much smaller

Mycestro mouse

The web is abuzz right now about the Mycestro, and for good reason. The device is being heralded as a 3D mouse that not only can be used for standard, desktop computing but mobile computing too.

Mycestro is easy to set up — it gets placed on the index finger and is used on a flat surface. From there, it allows the user to control their computer with hand gestures and mouse-click functionality.

Mycestro being hooked up

The device itself is small, lightweight, and conforms well to the finger. It incorporates Bluetooth 4.0 low energy protocol and has a range of about 30 feet (good for, say, PowerPoints). It’s turned on with the user’s thumb touches the side, so when it’s not being touched, the cursor pauses until it’s ready to be used again.

Mycsestro thumb control

Movement of the cursor is controlled by gesturing one’s hand in the direction they want it to go. To make a selection, the user releases the touch panel and then taps it again on the left, middle or right button.

Mycestro being clicked

The whole device is powered by an internal battery that gets charged via USB. Estimated run time—eight hours. It’s raising funds on Kickstarter — check out the campaign video below:

Boombot REX stolen from Fast Company Office

Boombot REX stolen from Fast Company

Right before CES, we got a call from Fast Company asking us to send them a REX prototype for photographs to go into April print.  Naturally, we ensued in a round of high-fives, fist pumps, and popping of bottles.  Being featured in Fast Company was a dream come true, and thanks to the success of our Kickstarter campaign, it was becoming a reality.  With less than a handfull of prototypes, we whisked the unit off directly from the CES show floor to Fast Company’s headquarters.

Do you know where Fast Company is located?  World Trade Center of New York.  Your finest toys are not safe anywhere.  True story.  New York has been a city that has got the better of me on numerous occasions.  I’ve had wallets and cameras stolen from my blazer pocket.  Had taxis drop me off at the wrong terminals causing me to miss flights.  I don’t know why I keep going back.  New York always wins.

This is the email directly from Fast Company:

Hi Chris,

Thanks for checking in, and hope you had a great MLK Day as well.

I actually have some bad news to report. We’ve had an unfortunate situation in our office, and some items were stolen last week, including the Rex speaker. We’ve never had an office theft in the seven years we’ve been in this building, and our facilities manager and HR director are looking into this and checking security footage. But in the meantime, I can’t tell you how awful I feel. I understand that you and your team hurried to send out the speaker, and needed it back as soon as possible.

We need to reimburse you for the value of the item. Send me an invoice for the cost of the item and whatever damages necessary, and I can ask to have that expedited. If you would like to proceed another way, just let me know.

Again, I’m incredibly sorry about this. Thanks so much,

Margaret

This isn’t the first time stolen prototypes have come to light.  April 2010, one lucky guy came across a new iPhone prototype.  The Boombot REX is no iPhone, but if we were a multi-national corporation with a endless mountain of cash, we’d be keen on getting the FBI involved.  We have to wonder if the Boombot REX is on the black market.  If so, where is it? Who has it?  eBay?  Craigslist? GIZMODO!!!!!!

The way that Fast Company (and Margaret) have gone about handling this so far is great.  Don’t worry guys.  We know what it’s like.  Honestly, we’re flattered that someone would go the lengths to steal our product.  We are pissed off a little because it is one less unit we have to demo (and mind you, there aren’t many here).

We’re going to try to get them some original pictures in time.  This is an unfortunate little bump in the road (one of many), but we still love you Fast Company.  Thanks for thinking of us.  Next time, line of sight or chain+lock.  Take notes from NYC bike messengers.