As I hear more about the concept of “crowdfunding” -- asking the public to help fund your idea in small increments of money -- I have found myself wandering onto websites like Kickstarter.com and Indiegogo.com that help connect willing donors with these ideas.
It's fun to browse and to see what ideas are popular in various areas -- technology, music and movies, home items, toys, etc., which the sites broadcast in email digests or lists online.
A Kickstarter campaign for a stylus caught my attention a few months ago since I would love to use my iPad for handwritten notes and at the time had not yet found a stylus that worked as well as a pen on paper.
I loved the concept of this thin stylus, called the HAND Stylus, and noticed that its recently ended campaign had received more than $310,000 in funding (well above its $25,000 goal) from 7,511 backers, most who paid $30 for the idea and the promise of receiving a stylus if the project got off the ground.
My interest piqued when I received an emailed press release promoting this new stylus: Even though I missed the chance to contribute to the campaign, I felt like I had inside scoop, having watched the project go from idea to manufacturing to media campaign in just a few months.
“There would be no HAND Stylus without Kickstarter, and I feel like the rest of my life I'm going to be indebted to them,” Alameda, Calif., designer Steve King said in a phone interview. King designed the stylus with a 4-mm tip, the smallest on the market, and founded the company behind it. “I'm still reeling a little bit that this thing happened and that it's real.”
The stylus is the smallest on the market today, King said. Even though it doesn't quite mimic a ballpoint pen, it is as close as possible: Touchscreen technology doesn't yet allow a device like the iPad to read a conductive tip smaller than 4 mm.
I have used the one King's company sent to try off and on at various meetings, and while I cannot take notes as fast as I can on paper, it comes closer to feeling like a pen than others I've tried and I will keep working with it. The HAND feels as comfortable as a pen in my hand and it retracts like a ballpoint would. The latest version of the stylus also comes with extra tips that will come in handy when I wear out the first one from pressing hard (which is necessary due to the small size of the tip).
The HANDS Stylus is currently available in various bright metallic colors at the website at handstylus.com and through the Herrington Catalogue (herringtoncatalog.com) for $29.95.
Crowdfunding sites offer a way to test the demand for your creation and get it to the marketplace without the need for venture capitalist backing. Many don't get funded, but when they do, it's a great way to launch your ideas.
King said he had to manufacture about 9,000 units to fill orders from the Kickstarter campaign and quickly had about 5,000 more through the website. The HAND has already gone through a redesign to make the mechanics work better.
“I'm proud of the fact that I made my way through the gauntlet,” he said. A crowdfunding campaign “will be harder than you probably anticipate but the rewards can be substantial.”
See photos and read a few more tips about crowdfunding from King on Get App-y's blog at blog.NewsOK.com/get-appy.