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Crowdfunding Electronics Products

I keep coming back to The Internet of Things, which is not surprising, given that all things seem to be getting smart (at least in a technical sense) in a hurry. One item that recently caught my eye –  the Goji Smart Lock – did so largely because its design resembles the Nest thermometer, which I blogged about earlier. For the most part, what sets the Goji aside from other smart locks is its look and feel. Very slick!

I also found it interesting that Goji is crowdfunding this product on IndieGoGo, where the company raised over $300K – over 2.5 times the $120K they were looking for.Goji Lock

Goji’s not really funding their development here, or a big-splash launch – remember they were only looking for $120K initially. But what they’ve done is pretty smart in terms of using this social-meets-dollars approach to line up their initial customers by offering their funders discounted product. Funders who contributed $235 will get the Smart Lock for $235 – a 15% discount – when it ships in January. And Goji will have some early adopters who are known social types, and who may help out with viral marketing for them.  These efforts can always backfire, but it’s an interesting and smart way to gauge product interest and to spread the word.

While I was on IndieGoGo, I also looked at the other electronics-related ideas looking for money. There were a few RepRap (3D printer) projects; some service offerings, including a few for green disposal of electronics; and one kind of scary product concept that puts a keyboard on your steering wheel.  I didn’t look exhaustively, but didn’t see much that was of the same level of sophistication as Goji.

Interesting, although Critical Link’s world is industrial and scientific applications, we’ve lately been getting occasional inquiries from companies or individuals with consumer product ideas, and a few have looked for funding on IndieGoGo or Kickstarter (also a crowdfunding site, but one where it’s all or nothing: if you don’t make your goal, you don’t get any of the funds). Some of the consumer ideas we’ve seen are intriguing, all have been interesting, and some have been just plain weird. But what they have in common is that they’re all part of The Internet of Things, a universe that will continue to keep growing, with or without crowdfunding.