What if a smart idea combined with sleek design, canny campaigning and humans’ love for pets was the ultimate recipe for a success story? This is, at least, what led Petcube to enter the club of the happy few companies whose fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter have known a dazzling success.
Indeed, only six days after launching its campaign on the crowdfunding platform, Ukrainian startup Petcube has already met its goal of raising 100.000 dollars with the help of over 800 backers.
For over a year, the young company, now based in San Francisco, has been developing a technological device coupled with a free app allowing pet owners to interact with their animals from remote locations via their smartphones and to share it on social media. The project, initiated by Yaroslav Azhnyuk, Alex Neskin and Andrey Klen, consists of a wifi-connected cube equipped with a video camera, a microphone and speakers to check on pets, while a laser pointer controlled by the user can keep them entertained.
CEO Azhnyuk told inventures.eu about the team’s excitement sparked by their recent hit on Kickstarter. “We expected that we would be successful, but reaching 100.000 dollars in six days and getting all of this super-positive feedback – this is what was really unexpected. We are overwhelmed with support, people really love Petcube.”
Photo credit: PetcubeFrom media buzz to consumer hit
The company’s participation at Seedcamp Week Berlin in May this year played an essential role in its current success. Azhnyuk stresses the importance of such conferences for startups at early stages, as they help get a lot of feedback as well as new connections and inspiration.
“After the Seedcamp we made our first media push, revealing the concept of Petcube to the world. This resulted in publications in some major media … and gave us a few thousand email subscribers, interested in the product. A week ago, part of them became our first backer on Kickstarter,” he added.
Crowdfunding, a popularity test
“From the very beginning it was obvious for us that we should launch on Kickstarter. It’s not only a great way to get money for initial hardware production, but also a way to validate demand, gather feedback and make good PR,” said Azhnyuk. The team also chose the platform because of the new partnerships, ideas and opportunities that it offers, and uses it for recruiting by inviting people to write them.
To Azhnyuk, crowdfunding was more a way to prove there is demand for the product than a way to raise capital. “If people were not willing to back us on Kickstarter – maybe we would stop doing it or deeply rethink the concept and make a product that people actually need. I’m glad that Petcube became a hit from the first shot,” he said.
Having already exceeded its initial target within the first week, Petcube has stretched its objectives. They now propose to add new features based on backers’ suggestions such as sound alerts, autoplay mode and motion detection, if the respective goals of 150K, 200K and 250K are reached by the end of their campaign on 5 November. The company plans to release its first batch of products by May 2014.
Read more about their project on Petcube’s blog.