Think about all the gear and equipment you own in order to perform your favourite sports – skis, a snowboard, a bike, running gear – it’s not cheap. Now, if you are going on a trip, you’re probably dreading to transport all this heavy stuff. That’s exactly what our most recent Startup Pick, Austrian startup Bergaffe thought, and came up with a solution to make a tool not only more versatile but also easier to transport.
Their multi-functional tube system can be turned into a rake, a shovel, a bench, a trophy, a hanger, etc. At the end of last year, the team decided to start a Kickstarter campaign and now, four days before the official end, they have not only met their goal of 25.000 pounds but have exceeded it by over 700 pounds.
Back to the beginning
It all started in 2012 when co-founder David Dietrich – a sports enthusiast – wanted to impress a girl with a creative idea by building a snowboard bench for her. “I do have two left hands though so I got in touch with Lukas Bürger and the DeWhiteSign agency,” he told inventures.eu. “Since we are all winter sports enthusiasts, the plan was to turn a snowboard into a tool we could use all 365 days a year.” They developed a tube and installed four of those on a snowboard. “Once we had finished the bench, we realised the potential of the tube and made it our main focus,” said Dietrich .
In May 2013, Bergaffe was accepted into build! Gründerzentrum in Carinthia. “We received financial support and were provided an office space, so I decided to move to Carinthia,” said Dietrich. “Over time we builta competent and determined team.”
Making it as a hardware startup
The young team quickly realised that being a hardware startup isn’t exactly easy. “You need to have guts because many investors aren’t necessarily interested in you as it’s difficult to scale,” Dietrich explained. “What’s more, you have even more costs than a software startup: spending money on materials, prototypes and minimum order quantity. Our advantage, however, is that we can cover these costs with the first revenue of our product.”
Eventually, they decided to go for Kickstarter, which required lots of planning and organising. “Our product is for a niche, not a mass, so we really had to step up our PR work,” he said. “We managed to get covered by several regional, national and international media outlets, mingled in the scene and got investors interested in our product.”
The raised money on Kickstarter will be used to improve and finalise the existing products and the team is already working on other products. “In order to scale we need further capital and build up a distributors network,” Dietrich said. “From March on, investors will have the possibility to take a share.”
Shipping of the first Bergaffe tubes is planned for February and March this year.