Monday Sep 9, 2013 by Dennis Keohane - Staff Writer, VentureFizz
Since launching on Thursday morning, the new Dragon Innovation crowd-funding site has already started to shake up the entire crowd-funding universe. Two of the companies raising money, for flat-tool Ollie and the programmable internet-enabled microcontroller Tessle, have almost raised twice as much as their initial thresholds (Technical Machine's Tessle has raised just shy of $100,000).
Impressive as the two rocket-fueled fundraising campaigns are, I am more interested to see how two of the more (unbelievably) innovative products do. Both products, Weartrons Read-n-Run and Hammerhead Navigation's bicycle tool, are the kind of "way outside-the-box" technologies that, I believe, will eventually separate Dragon's crowd-funding platform from some of the more established kids on the crowd-funding block.
New York-based Weartrons has solved one of the problems that often causes treadmill running folks the most consternation, not being able to read while working out. With their new Run-n-Read product, a device that clips on a shirt, hat, or headband and syncs with a mobile phone, tablet, or e-reader, the company is able to track a user's movements and adjust the text on the screen in real-time.
Basically, the tech allows for text to stay in the same place in your line of vision as you run. To someone standing next to a user working out and wearing the device, the on-screen text appears to be bouncing up and down with the runner, but to the user, the text stays in place. This unbelievable technology can also help people who have trouble reading in cars and busses avoid carsickness.
As Weartrons' Co-Founder Praveen Elak explained, “Run-n-Read is providing an elegant solution for a problem that many people can easily relate to and have assumed that there is no fix for."
As for the attraction of Dragon, he added, “We are launching on Dragon Innovation’s platform as we believe that their deep experience and practical knowledge in volume manufacturing of electronic products will help us recognize and address – all of the second-, third-, and fourth- order problems. Those are the things you can’t learn elsewhere unless you try and fail, something we cannot afford.”
Specifically, Dragon was the best opportunity to evaluate the product's market demand as Elak said.
Incidentally, Dragon Innovation Founder Scott Miller mentioned in our interview last week that the Read-n-Run was one of the products he was looking forward to getting his hands on.
Another New York company that has connected with the Dragon Innovation platform is Hammerhead Navigation and their awesome Hammerhead bicycle navigation tool.
The device, which attaches to the handlebars of most bicycles, connects with an iPhone's GPS/navigation system and provides light-guided turn by turn directions without having to pull-out a mobile device. Hammerhead has a ton of other features including being able to connect with other riders and has been designed with bike-sharing projects, like NYC's Citibike and Boston Hubway, in mind.
As Hammerhead's Laurence Wattrus said, "Our decision to partner with Dragon Innovation was based on the risk profile of hardware products."
"There simply is no replacement for experience and understanding of manufacturing and Dragon Innovation brought a lot of that to the table," he added. "We felt it was good timing for the crowd-funding space and the refined focus would result in bolstering the overall health of crowd-funding hardware."
Both the Hammerhead and the Run-n-Read campaigns will be running for the next few weeks. Make sure to get involved on Dragon Innovation before the chance to become an early part of these innovative crowd-funding campaigns ends.