In this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we interviewed Ismail Miah, founder and product designer of Burger Buddy, a mess-free eating experience. Burger Buddy is an interactive, hygienic and eco-friendly way to hold your burger (as well as bagels, doughnuts, pies, and so much more) together, and keep all of the fixings inside. Learn about how a passionate pair of engineers turned their love of burgers into a successfully crowdfunded campaign.

Topics Discussed and Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How the idea for Burger Buddy came from a search for the best burger in London
  • Why silicon was the best material to accommodate all the product’s features
  • How they were able to use influencer marketing as part of their communication strategy
  • Which marketing effort became their biggest return on investment
  • The biggest surprise they learned during the course of their Kickstarter campaign

Links

Sponsors

Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by The Gadget Flow, a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. The Gadget Flow is the ultimate buyer’s guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Click here to learn more and list your product – use coupon code ATOKK16 for 20% off!

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 Aventus 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. 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, we are talking with Ismail Miah, the founder and inventor of Burger Buddy. Ismail, thank you so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.
Ismail Miah:
Thank you very much for having me, man. Appreciate it.
Roy Morejon:
Ismail, I absolutely love this product, because who doesn’t enjoy a good burger? But obviously, there’s a big mess that comes around with that. And then for all of us who have kids, you know that eating is always an experience. Not only the food, but the clean-up afterwards, and usually, most of the food ends up on the floor anyway. So I’m really excited to have you on the show. Please give our audience a little bit of background in terms of what inspired you to create Burger Buddy.
Ismail Miah:
Yeah, of course. So whilst we were at university, my group of friends and I, we used to have this challenge where every week, we would go out searching for the best burger in London and we were all design students at the time. And what we found was we really didn’t like the whole mess side of things, and also as designers who are really eco-conscious, we just didn’t like the idea of wasting a lot of napkins. So we thought, “Surely, there must be a way around this.” So after we graduated, my friend and I, Muhammad and I, we started working on this concept whilst juggling our full time engineering jobs. So yeah, it took us about a year or so to come up with the whole concept. Lots of trials and errors, but we are here.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah, let’s dive into some of those trials and errors, because it’s always interesting again to hear the… not failures, but the learnings along the way. So when you were creating Burger Buddy, what did the process look like to begin with, and how did you go about deciding what materials to include, what design elements to have? Talk a little bit about the design and development process.
Ismail Miah:
For sure. So as designers, graduates, we kind of know the whole process of how to go from an initial concept to all the way to manufacturing. So the concept was to create something that holds the burger, but at the same time, enough of the burger is exposed so that you can eat it, so what we started doing was drawing around the burger shape itself and trying to come up with different type of shapes and forms, things like that. After we had some sort of idea of the shape that we wanted to go with, we started trialing different types of materials.
Ismail Miah:
So we started using things like AVS and polypropylene, 3D printing and things like that. So after a while, we realized that burgers, they all come in different size and shapes and things like that. So we needed a material that can expand to accommodate all of this different sizes of food, and at the same time, keep all the mess in there. And also, you had to be food safe, you had to be dishwasher safe. We want it to be reusable, and after a lot of trials, we stuck with a silicon. We tried other materials as well, but a silicon was the best thing to go with. We partnered with our manufacturer to trial out these initial batch, so we got some products made. We’d done initial testing, and it all kind of worked out.
Roy Morejon:
Oh, it’s a beautiful product. So what were some of those challenges that you encountered when designing the product initially?
Ismail Miah:
So I guess when it comes to round-shaped food, so after you eat, let’s say, half of it, the remainder is kind of stuck at the bottom, and you will have to use a hand to dig in to bring that food out. So we wanted to use a material that would allow the user to dig out the food without touching it. So it had to be a very flexible material. So after trying TPE and things like that, silicon just happened to be the best concept.
Roy Morejon:
Let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about the crowdfunding campaign now. When you first encountered crowdfunding in your life or your team, how did that first get introduced to you as an option to potentially launch the campaign with a Kickstarter campaign?
Ismail Miah:
Yeah, of course. So whilst we were at uni, I mean, as design students, we were already exposed to Indiegogo and Kickstarter, and we used to always talk about how, “Imagine one day we had our own project on one of these crowdfunding platforms, that would be so cool.” And then that’s when we first were introduced to crowdfunding, during our uni days. And then after a while, throughout uni we thought that will be the best way to go about it because we didn’t have the funding to start going into manufacturing straight away.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. So let’s talk about the preparation upcoming to the crowdfunding campaign. How many burgers did you guys have to eat?
Ismail Miah:
Oh, we went through dozens. Dozens, I guess hundreds of burgers [inaudible 00:05:40] to the end. I got to state where I had enough of burgers now. But of course, we had to try different types of not only burgers, but we tried to broaden out. So sandwiches, pita breads, doughnuts, bagels, it was just a whole [inaudible 00:05:59]… Okay, I’m messing up here.
Roy Morejon:
No, I can only imagine all of the food you guys went through to do all of this product testing with, right? To make sure that you got not only the perfect bite each time, but also you were talking about the remaining sandwich that was left inside there.
Ismail Miah:
Absolutely.
Roy Morejon:
So in terms of the prep work leading up to the Kickstarter campaign, we always talk on the show about how important that month or two leading up to the launch is. So what were some of the things that you did to put yourself in such a good position to fund, where I’m looking at your campaign now, you’ve got over 600 backers and tens of thousands of funding on it.
Ismail Miah:
Yeah, so for us, with our manufacturers, we managed to get an amazing deal where we had samples ready-made. So we had some amazing, quite large number of units that were ready to go out to influencers and social media influencers so that they could trial out and give their reviews of the product. At the same time, we were very fortunate enough to partner up with Enventys Partners personally. As designers, we don’t really have much experience in marketing, on how the whole process works. So having them on board, they managed to talk us through the dos and don’ts, clarified the whole process, refined. We had a couple of weeks of pre-launch, where we gathered customer emails, potential clients’ emails, and when we launched, we managed to keep them in touch and told them about the launch.
Roy Morejon:
So with all of the marketing efforts that you’ve put forth for this project, where have you seen the biggest return? Has it been sales side, on the ad side? On the influencer marketing side?
Ismail Miah:
I think the biggest for us was email marketing. So by gathering customer email pre-launch, we were able to convince them, we kept them informed every few days about what’s happening, the launch, what stage we’re in even after launch. The biggest retailer was through our email marketing, and of course, whilst doing a running of adverts during the live phase, that converted a lot of customers as well.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. So what’s been the biggest thing that you’ve learned throughout this whole process of launching your first Kickstarter campaign?
Ismail Miah:
It’s having a good team behind you who knows what they’re doing. Because a lot of it pretty much all comes down to the marketing. So if you’re teamed up with a good team, and if you have people around you who can take care of different aspects of the whole process, then you have a better chance of succeeding.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. So what’s been the biggest surprise of the Kickstarter campaign so far?
Ismail Miah:
Oh, the amount of feedback we are getting. So when we launched the campaign, we thought the product is for children and messy eaters like myself. That’s great, and then whilst we found during the launch phase, during the pre-launch campaign, a lot of people are commenting, saying things like, “This product will be ideal for people who have disabilities, people who might suffer from arthritis and other type of disabilities that may stop them from holding food steady,” so that’s another market that we’re looking into right now as we speak. But we wouldn’t have known this if we didn’t go through with the whole process.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. No, another great reminder of the beauty of crowdfunding and launching campaigns is truly to get that insight from the crowd and open up new opportunities or targeting options or communities that this product solves their problems for.
Ismail Miah:
Absolutely. So you’d never know until you’ve tried and until you’ve received the feedback from the community, and you realize there’s more potential than what you may have already thought of, or the things that you’ve never came across, people will bring that to your attention.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Well Ismail, this is going to get us into our launch round, where I’m going to rapid fire a couple of questions at you. Are you good to go?
Ismail Miah:
Yeah, sure. Go for it.
Roy Morejon:
All right. So what inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
Ismail Miah:
I guess I like the whole idea of working for myself. And as a designer, I just wanted to invent my own products and bring it out then to see people use my own designs.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. So if you could meet with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?
Ismail Miah:
Definitely Elon Musk.
Roy Morejon:
Elon, yeah. He’s a common one on the show. What would be your first question for him?
Ismail Miah:
How does he do it? I mean, the work ethic that he has is incredible, the amount of hours he puts in, I just want to know his motivation, why he does what he does.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. What’s your favorite condiment for a burger?
Ismail Miah:
Straight-up ketchup.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. What book would you recommend to our listeners?
Ismail Miah:
I’m not a big book guy, but if I could, I would recommend Laws of Simplicity. So it goes through how the most simplest design is the most effective for most solutions.
Roy Morejon:
Very nice.
Ismail Miah:
Recommend looking into that.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah, I hadn’t heard that book yet. I’m looking it up right now. It looks good. Last question in the launch round, and I know the campaign still has a few days left in it, but really interested to hear your take on what does the future of crowdfunding look like?
Ismail Miah:
I think during this lockdown, after this whole pandemic, that everything’s going into online, where we start shopping and try helping out smaller businesses, and I think this is the best place to be right now as we speak, during this pandemic.
Roy Morejon:
Oh, absolutely. And I know you guys are facing an active lockdown right now over in London and maybe something globally. But Ismail, this has been amazing.
Ismail Miah:
We are, yeah.
Roy Morejon:
This is your opportunity to give our audience your pitch. Tell people what you’re all about and where people should go and why they should check out Burger Buddy.
Ismail Miah:
Yeah, Burger Buddy, it’s the revolutionary new product that lets you enjoy the messiest of food mess-free. It’s hygienic, eco-friendly, dishwasher safe, ideal for adults to children, like my colleague always says, “How Leonardo da Vinci invented the wheel, and today, we see every wheel has a tire on it.” Very soon, we’re going to see… We won’t see a burger without a Burger Buddy. So, Burger to Burger Buddy, it’s like a tire to a wheel.
Roy Morejon:
Like peanut butter to jelly. I love it. Audience, thank you again for tuning in. Make sure to visit ArtoftheKickstart.com for the notes, the transcript, links to the Burger Buddy campaign and of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, the Gadget Flow and ProductHype. Ismail, thank you so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.
Ismail Miah:
Thank you so much for having me, man.
Roy Morejon:
Thanks for tuning into another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a business, world, and life with crowdfunding. 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. 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.