In this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we interviewed Jill, Nicholas, and Eric from Aurai, an eye massager for those with eye condition. Aurai is eco-friendly, gentle, temperature-controlled and has the feature to fit any face shape. Learn how the Aurai team raised more than $350,000 with 1,900 backers on their first launch and what’s to come with their second.

Topics Discussed and Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How a relative who used Coke cans to relieve eye strain and fatigue inspired the Aurai team to create this high tech eye massager
  • The process of virtually soliciting feedback from backers during COVID
  • How the Aurai team applied lessons learned from their first crowdfunding campaign
  • What upcoming healthcare products Aurai has lined up
  • Why creators have to be more prepared than ever when launching their products and why working with an agency helps

Links

Sponsors

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Transcript

View this episode's transcript
Roy Morejon:
Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host, Roy Morejon, president of Enventys Partners, the top full-service turnkey product development and crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped startups raise over $100 million for our clients since 2010.

Roy Morejon:
Each week I’ll interview a crowdfunding success story, an inspirational entrepreneur or a business expert in order to help you take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding. Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by Gadget Flow. The Gadget Flow is a product-discovery platform that helps you discover, save and buy awesome products. It is the ultimate buyer’s guide for luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Now let’s get on with the show.

Roy Morejon:
Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today I am joined by the team from Aurai. I have Jill, Nicholas and Eric from the Aurai team with me today. Jill, Nicholas, Eric, thank you guys for joining me today on Art of the Kickstart.

Nicholas:
Thank you.

Jill:
Thank you for inviting us.

Nicholas:
It’s our pleasure.

Eric:
Thank you, Roy.

Nicholas:
Yeah.

Roy Morejon:
You’re very welcome. So I’m really excited to talk about your company. Obviously you’ve formed this team of creative talents, industrial designers, mechanical engineers, you’ve built this full team, and you’re about to launch your second crowdfunding campaign.

Roy Morejon:
The original Aurai launched back in 2018, was super successful, over 350,000 US dollars raised with 1,900 backers. You’re a Good Design Award winner, and now you’re coming back with version two of this. So if you would, for the audience, give a little bit of the background of where did this all start and what inspired you to create Aurai?

Eric:
Okay. It starts with a Coke from my father-in-law. He suffered from eye fatigue and eye strain for years. He told me that he has been using Coke cans to soothe his eyes because there is no eye massager with cool compress on the market. So I told him, “Why don’t we create the eye massager which suits your needs, and perhaps help others with similar eye conditions?”

Roy Morejon:
Yeah, no, it’s a truly impressive product, so I actually backed the original campaign that you guys did. And I’ve been using them weekly now as part of my routine in terms of the overall eyestrain, and I think a lot of folks have been dealing with that now during the pandemic itself.

Roy Morejon:
So in terms of creating Aurai, what was that process like in terms of the engineering behind it and deciding what features to include in the design?

Eric:
Yeah. Because there was no reference models on the market, so we tried our best to collect the most popular eye massage models on the market and started to list their advantages and disadvantages. By doing that, we know what features to include and what problems to fix.

Eric:
And Aurai is actually breeze nymph of Greek mythology. So we will like our product design to be used and felt as gentle and easy. And the closest element to breeze would be water, so water is actually one of our key features we would include, regardless eye massager or other healthcare products we are working on right now.

Roy Morejon:
Amazing. So let’s talk about some of the challenges that you’ve encountered over the way when designing the original product, and now version two.

Eric:
Yeah. Firstly, it’s challenging to deliver low temperature and make sure the user can feel it. Just to achieve the technique, it took us three years, which also became one of our key patents. And secondly, the different face shape. We tried more than five materials. In the end, we found that silicone, which is eco-friendly, flexible, and nonallergenic, has the feature to fit different face shape.

Roy Morejon:
So given that this is your second crowdfunding campaign, how long have you guys spent preparing for the upcoming launch?

Eric:
Oh, okay.

Jill:
It takes about six to nine months because, besides the product development, we spent a little more time to source for the logistics solutions, and also for the marketing as well.

Roy Morejon:
So talk about, a little bit, some of the prep work leading up to the campaign this time verse the previous campaign. What’s changed?

Jill:
Because, as you mentioned, this is our second campaign, so basically we had done extra than the previous campaign. We have contact with our previous backer, and to arrange the beta testing. So in terms of we will understand more on the design for the temperature, vibration, and also the posture for the wearing the massager, it’s better than the last version. So this is the extra we have done compared with our previous campaign.

Roy Morejon:
Impressive. So we always talk a lot with the founders on the show, the month or two leading up to that launch. What did you do prior to the launch to put yourself in a great position to fund on this go-around?

Jill:
Like I say, we have contact with our previous backer to do the beta testing. Normally we went to the trade show for people to try out our products before the launch, or we can meet the press in the CES, the electronics show, to present our new product. But because of pandemic, we tend to bring everything online. Yeah, so this time the difference is, instead of when go to the trade show, we actually contact the special professional PR agency to handle the marketing parts for us.

Roy Morejon:
So in terms of experience with backers and getting feedback, since CES was completely digital, how have you gone about getting feedback and managing that feedback for the version-two launch and some of the changes that you’ve made with the product?

Jill:
Yeah. We actually contact more, around 10 backers who backed us in previous project, so basically they have two product for comparison. So in previous project, last product, some people had problem with… like they feel troublesome to refill waters, or the first version, we have the remote controller and eye massager come with two pieces.

Jill:
So I have been in contact with them, explained to them, and ask them if they would like to try. And luckily they got very impressive with our new product. They all loved it. The water refilling process is easier, and the important part is they will come with one unit. And also the heading, the head strap, they love it, because it’s thicker and it’s stretchable and it’s more comfortable.

Roy Morejon:
Yeah, I can’t wait to try one on.

Jill:
Yeah.

Roy Morejon:
So you’ve been working with us here at Enventys Partners for a while now. What were some of the biggest considerations when you were choosing an agency to partner with on this launch?

Jill:
The first very important factor is we need a really professional team to work with us. And also the second one is the communication, because we think the communication is very important for our team and also the agency. So they actually delivered what we want into the whole campaign, the values, and also the value and also the importance of the product, the features and everything. So I think that communication plays a very important part in the partnership.

Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. So what would be the biggest thing that you’ve learned through the whole process of the upcoming launch on Indiegogo?

Jill:
The biggest things for this project would be everything go online. I know crowdfundings actually go online, but because before we have a trade show to support us that provide a place for people to touch and feel, but this time it’s actually 100% go online, so we can only contact them by email or video calls. Yeah, so this is the biggest challenge for us for this year, and also, yeah, the logistic as well.

Roy Morejon:
Yeah, I think that’s a shared difficulty amongst many startups launching their products out there.

Jill:
Yes. Yeah, correct.

Roy Morejon:
So I know, Eric, you had mentioned something earlier in terms of potential new products. So I’m interested to hear potentially where you guys are headed next.

Eric:
Well, we focused on healthcare products, so next project, we are going to launch the product which includes water, as I mentioned earlier, the key features of our design, and which is detachable, can be patched anywhere on the body. Just imagine you have a Aurai with cool and warm compress, but can fit your different body shape.

Roy Morejon:
Impressive. Can’t wait to try that one.

Eric:
Yeah.

Roy Morejon:
Well, this is going to get us to our launch round where I’m going to rapid-fire a handful of questions. Nicholas, you’ve been quiet on the call, so you’re up. You ready to go?

Nicholas:
Yeah, I’m ready.

Roy Morejon:
Excellent. So, Nicholas, tell me what inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

Nicholas:
I think the inspiration comes from my dad, who used to be a very successful entrepreneur in manufacturing area. Even he retired last year, but he’s always been my role model in life, and that is why he inspired me to achieve something in my life. So when Eric approached me with his product idea and he shared his vision, I thought this is one of the biggest challenge in my life. So that’s why I gave it a shot, and that’s why we’ve been working until now. Yeah.

Roy Morejon:
Excellent. So if you could meet with any entrepreneur throughout history, Nicholas, who would you want to have a coffee with?

Nicholas:
I think definitely Elon Musk, not because he’s the wealthiest man in the world right now, it’s also because he’s the kind of person he’s a genius, and he’s solving some of the biggest issue in the world right now, from daily traffic jam to air pollution or sustainable energy, or even explore the space at a more affordable cost for the future.

Roy Morejon:
Absolutely, a true pioneer.

Nicholas:
Yeah, he really is.

Roy Morejon:
I saw yesterday that he invested 1.5 billion into Bitcoin, which will be very interesting for folks to be able to purchase their cars now with cryptocurrency.

Nicholas:
Yeah. Mm (affirmative).

Roy Morejon:
So if you got the chance to have a coffee with Elon, what would be your first question for him?

Nicholas:
The first question is whether he is interested in letting our Vision Plus and Rio Plus to be part of his partner in his Tesla channels. But just kidding. But in terms of the technical aspect, I would definitely ask him, what does he see in the future that our product can probably develop too, to get our product to the next level?

Roy Morejon:
Sure.

Nicholas:
Because he just has the sense of knowing the technological advance and all the new aspects.

Roy Morejon:
Yeah, certainly on the bleeding edge of what’s next. So I’d be interested to know, any books that you would recommend to our listeners?

Nicholas:
I’m not really a big fans of reading the business book, but one of the books that I recently read is called The Story Factor by Annette Simmons. This book is all about how to be a good storyteller, because not just when you are entrepreneur but even if you are parents or you’re a teacher or even you’re just a employee, trying to convey some your ideas or messages to your colleagues, to your children, because everyone has their own views or perspective.

Nicholas:
So instead of telling your idea or giving your comments to others, it’s always easier to tell them with a good story. That way, it’s easier to get them to understand you more, and also it’s easier to connect and associate your idea with them.

Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Well, last question, and given that you’ve run a successful Kickstarter campaign and now about to launch on Indiegogo, what’s your take in terms of what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Nicholas:
I can’t give too much comments on what the crowdfunding will look like for other… the books or other aspects. I probably talk about more on the crowdfunding of the hardware. I think the first point is you’ve got to be more prepared than ever, because as the backers are getting smarter and they have higher expectation of your projects.

Nicholas:
And we also see there are some bigger brands participate some crowdfunding platforms in Asia, such as the one we did earlier in Taiwan. We saw some of the Chinese Xiaomi, Xiaomi subsidiary companies, they also participate there. So I guess the backers have higher expectation.

Nicholas:
So that’s why I would suggest the listeners just to be ready, I would say at least 95% ready of your development. You can probably leave maybe 5% remaining just for the final testing or something. And as well as the development, you’ve got to be ready, lined up with the stable manufacturing partners, as well as have a very strong relationship with your part suppliers.

Roy Morejon:
Absolutely.

Nicholas:
And the second point is, probably I would see a deeper online and offline collaboration. From the current online marketing tools, you probably will already have email marketing, advertising on Facebook, IG or Twitter, but we will see more. For some of the products like ours, backers might tend to seem to feel and even try to get to know about your team.

Nicholas:
So in previous campaign, what we did in Taiwan, we had some experience events for our backers when the campaign was going, in life, so the backers can actually talk to the team. And they can actually, they can literally put the eye massager on to feel the product, to get the benefit of the products, and to know us, to talk to the team, and to understand the benefit of the product more.

Nicholas:
And last but not least, to work with a professional marketing agency like Enventys Partners, because they’ll be able to uncover some of the angles or the points that our team might not be able to find it out on the way, and also to leverage their networking medium to explore any new promotion opportunities out there, and most importantly, to keep our project going on schedule.

Roy Morejon:
Absolutely.

Nicholas:
Yes, thank you.

Roy Morejon:
Yeah, thank you, Nicholas. So this has been amazing. Whomever wants to jump in, this is your opportunity to give our audience your pitch, tell people what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should check you out.

Jill:
Okay. I will do this. Aurai’s the world’s first water-propelled eye massager to help revitalize your eyes, relieve discomfort, and promote better sleep. We’re going to launch on Indiegogo in another hour, so please back us now and enjoy the limited super-early-bird special. Go and check us out on Indiegogo.com. Thank you.

Roy Morejon:
Awesome. Well, audience, thanks again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for the notes, the transcript, links to the campaign once it launches over on Indiegogo this hour. And of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, The Gadget Flow and Product Hype. Jill, Nicholas and Eric, thank you so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.

Jill:
Thank you, Roy.

Nicholas:
It’s my pleasure.

Eric:
Thank you, Roy.

Roy Morejon:
Thanks for tuning into another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a business, world and life with crowdfunding.

Roy Morejon:
If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, awesome. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com and tell us all about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes, our Kickstarter Guide to Crushing It, and of course if you loved this episode a lot, leave us a review at artofthekickstart.com/iTunes. It helps more inventors, entrepreneurs and startups find this show, and helps us get better guests to help you build a better business.

Roy Morejon:
If you need more hands-on crowdfunding strategy advice, please feel free to request a quote on EnventysPartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in, and we’ll see you again next week.