If your uncle invented the waterbed, you’ve probably already got an advantage over other entrepreneurs. For this episode of the podcast, we spoke with Todd Youngblood, creator of Kryo, an entirely new sleep technology, about launching a new product on Indiegogo.

Kryo Sleep Performance System

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How to balance the inventor’s dilemma when creating a new product
  • How to know when it’s time to launch your Indiegogo project
  • Why it’s important to understand your target audience before launching a product geared toward
  • them
  • How to engage the community built around your product
  • How do deliver your crowdfunded product to backers on time
  • Why it’s important to have a clear supply chain in place before launching a product

Links

Connect with Kryo

Sponsors

FIN 2000X2000Art 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 25% 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 Command Partners, the top, full-service crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped raise over $70 million for our clients since 2010. Each week I’ll interview a crowdfunding success story and inspirational entrepreneur or a business expert in order to help take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding. 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. To learn more, visit TheGadgetFlow.com. Now let’s get on with the show.

Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today I am joined by Todd Youngblood. Todd, thank you so much for joining us.

Todd Youngblood:

Thanks Roy, thanks for the opportunity.

Roy Morejon:

All right, so Todd, you launched a project on Indiegogo a while ago called Kryo for sleep performance. Please, tell our audience what the product is all about.

Todd Youngblood:

We’re super excited about Kryo. After quite a few years in the sleep technology space, we have an opportunity to bring the most advanced sleep technology product to market. It’s a product that optimizes sleep quality by modulating the sleep temperature, and in simple terms means we help you sleep cooler and sleeping cooler helps you sleep better.

Roy Morejon:

Impressive, so you mentioned that this product has been in the works for years and years. Tell us the back story.

Todd Youngblood:

Well this product in particular has been in development for about 2 and a half years. The underlying market knowledge and technology, understanding really goes back almost about 11 years. It all has to do with the technology we’re leveraging using thermoelectrics to heat or cool water. We circulate that water in a mattress pad that’s on top of the mattress. That’s the technology that’s been utilized in a predecessor product called the ChiliPad. What we’re doing now is we’re taking that technology and building into a product that’s part of a IoT, internet of things, and making a smart product that sits on a WiFi platform that integrates with sleep tracking devices.

Roy Morejon:

Impressive. We’ve had great success with the campaign so far, well over 6 figures with a few weeks left in the campaign. How long have you spent in terms of developing Kryo itself as a system, and talk about the surprises that you’ve met along the way?

Todd Youngblood:

Yeah, we’re really excited about where we’re at in the campaign. We’re less than 30 days in, we’ve already, like you said, exceeded our campaign goals significantly, a couple times over. We’re excited about that. I think the challenges of bringing a product to market is it’s a balance of inventor’s dilemma type of issues. When are you done developing and when is the product ready for a commercial activity, and when are you ready to take orders, when are you ready to start talking to the public about the product? That certainly was an issue that we had to deal with, with this product. I think we just decided that it was really time to let it see the light of day and put ourselves against the tight production and finalize development timeline to make sure we could bring a great product to market.

Roy Morejon:

You talked about bringing the product to market, what were some of the marketing activities that led up to the campaign and the great success that it’s seeing so far?

Todd Youngblood:

We’ve been talking to our customers or getting an understanding of who our target demographic would be. When we went about both developing the product as well as identifying the price points we wanted to be at, that was all based on understanding the demographic that we wanted to be targeting for this product, and setting the feature sets and our cost goals to make sure that the product was well aligned with what our customers are looking to spend for this technology.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, I can’t tell you time and time again how important that is, and obviously a lot the campaigners that we speak to truly engage their community and ask for that critical feedback on the product and what they want to see. It’s great that not only did you engage them but create a product that the crowd truly wanted and obviously seeing great success so far.

Todd Youngblood:

Yeah. We’re pretty excited about it. We think we’re really just scratching the surface. This is our first crowdfunding project. Despite bringing almost a hundred different other products to market in many different other categories, this is the first product we’ve ever taken direct to consumers on the crowdfunding platform.

Roy Morejon:

Todd, you’re obviously an experienced entrepreneur. How do you prepare in terms of manufacturing and distribution of this product to make sure that you deliver what the customer is asking for and doing it on time?

Todd Youngblood:

I think the big things that get people in trouble are not having a clear supply chain. Understanding what factory the product is going to be made in or where is the product going to be made, and what are all the miscellaneous cost that are likely to escalate through the process, even just understanding what are the shipping cost and the duty and what is the fulfillment platform. I think bringing a lot of other parts to market and being involved in other businesses that have commercialized technology, we had a really cooler sense on what the gotchas were likely to be. Ask me again in 9 months how accurate we were, but at this point, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of anticipating what our costs are and knowing what our supply chain challenges might be.

In this case, we also really leaned on our network of colleagues to find reliable subcontractors, so for the things that we don’t know how to do or don’t have any experience in like developing software platforms or WiFi connectability, WiFi backends or exchanges, since we don’t have experience with that, we really need to lean on people that do that as their core competency. Rather than us trying to learn how to do it, just because we can afford to hire the right people, we know we had to build in the cost to hire the right people out of the gate.

Roy Morejon:

That’s a key component as well is knowing what you’re good at, obviously, and then hiring the experts to handle exactly what they’re good at to make sure that you ensure delivery of a quality product. What have been some of the biggest surprises so far in running your first campaign Todd?

Todd Youngblood:

I think we had a hard time getting the right quality of content to make sure that there’s not a disconnect on the quality of product we’re capable of delivering. We were certainly challenged out of the gate to not shortcut ourselves or shortchange ourselves on the quality of the video or quality of the prototypes or even photography, knowing that if we are not delivering it with the level of excellence on the media content in our presentation, it’s going to cast doubts with our backers and they’re going to question whether or not we’re really up to the task of delivering a high quality product.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. If you were to do this differently in terms of starting this process all over again, to launch your Indiegogo campaign, what would you do differently?

Todd Youngblood:

I’m not sure. I think we would probably spend a little bit more time understanding our target demographic. Finding a way to test on what marketing would really draw in new audiences. So far, the Indiegogo direct email marketing campaigns has been the most productive in terms of converting eyeballs to backers. I think looking at what are some of the other tricks that we could be leveraging with Facebook video ads or other creative content-related ads, pay-per-clicks, I think that’s one thing that we would want to do a little bit more of in advance. The other thing is finding a way to use our network of subcontractors or industry partners to get the word out more, and that’s something that we’re continuing to do even as we’re almost 30 days into the campaign.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely, and full disclosure to our listeners, Command Partners has been helping Todd with this campaign from the beginning and has been a client for some time. We appreciate working with you and obviously on this campaign. If you were to give someone a piece of advice that’s looking to launch their first campaign on crowdfunding whether it be Kickstarter or Indiegogo, what would that be to our listeners?

Todd Youngblood:

Granted you just gave out the disclaimer, but the reality is of all the things you need to do as an entrepreneur to be successful, you can’t do everything yourself. You have to make sure you’re spending time doing what you do best at, and so essentially, to get to the quick of it, hire the right talent to make sure that the campaign is up to snuff. We would absolutely not have been able to accomplish what we’ve done so far without the right help. Command Partners as a marketing partner has really done a great job of helping us understand the platform and how to attract the right people. We wouldn’t have had the first thing to … We wouldn’t know where to start.

We’re a company or a group of people that have sold a whole lot of product, over $100 million of product into the market over the last 15 years. We know how to sell stuff. We know how to develop stuff that sells well, but we would not have been successful on the crowdfund platform without the right know-how.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely, so Todd this gets us into our launch round where I rapid fire questions at you, you good to go?

Todd Youngblood:

All right, sounds great.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome, so what inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

Todd Youngblood:

Probably the easiest answer is my uncle who invented the waterbed going back 45 years ago. I saw how one person with a great idea can really change an industry. In his case, it was a $5 billion a year business, at its peak who sold almost a billion dollars a year of their product. One idea, regardless of how simple, well executed can really change an industry. That got me pretty fired up to think outside the box and really feel like I can change the world with my little crazy ideas.

Roy Morejon:

That’s awesome. If you could meet any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Todd Youngblood:

I think I’d probably go with Richard Branson. He has done so many diverse businesses. He’s an active entrepreneur now. He’s a crazy guy that’s done all kinds of different things, and he has found a way to innovate in everything from cellphones to airplanes to resorts. It’s pretty amazing what that guy has accomplished.

Roy Morejon:

If you had only 1 question to ask Sir Richard Branson, what would it be?

Todd Youngblood:

How does he spend the most time doing what he is best at?

Roy Morejon:

Solid. Who did you look up to when you grew up?

Todd Youngblood:

I’m not sure. My vantage point growing up was a bit unusual. I didn’t really think that much about dreams or about what I wanted to do when I grew up. I’m not sure. I guess the closest will probably be my uncle.

Roy Morejon:

Definitely. What book- … Sorry, go ahead Todd.

Todd Youngblood:
He was a guy carrying around a suitcase cellphone in the 80s before anyone knew what it was, and a guy that was buying Ferraris and making money on buying cars when everyone else would see it depreciating assets. When you’re engaged with somebody like that, that he just broke all the rules of what everyone would think was normal, it definitely changes your perspective of it.

Roy Morejon:

Well, I’m sure that was very inspiring. What book is on your nightstand?

Todd Youngblood:

Let’s see, I think it would be The ONE Thing, it’s sort of a pick your one thing. Make sure you’re choosing the most important thing and you spend enough time working on it to get it fully accomplished before you jump to the next.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Todd Youngblood:

I think where we’re going to be in 5 years is working on a product, a company that’s been very successful accomplishing our revenue goals. We’re a group of great investors that’s enjoying the ride and we’re in the midst of changing the way people sleep.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. Final question Todd, what does the future of crowdfunding look like to you?

Todd Youngblood:

I see the law of commerce is that it always gets more efficient over time. When I look at the capability of you buy something on Amazon, and you very well might get it shipped directly from the factory in China. The B2C business to consumer or what they talk about in China, the F2C, factory to consumer, that’s here to stay. I think when I look at the future of commerce it’s understanding your customer is absolutely critical to the success of companies in the future. We have to have relationships not with our retailers but really understand how our products are used and what the customer expects from us a brand or as a technology partner.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. Todd, you’ve been great. Please give our audience your pitch. Tell us what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should go buy a Kryo.

Todd Youngblood:

Yeah, thanks for the opportunity. If you go to SleepKryo, and that’s Kryo with a K, Sleep K-R-Y-O dot com, you’ll get all the details on our campaign. If you know anyone that doesn’t sleep well, if they sleep cooler, they sleep better. The number 1 cure for insomnia is to sleep cooler. Sleep doctors recommend people sleeping between 60 and 68 degrees. The reality is with mattresses, the way they’re made today, it doesn’t matter how cold you make your room, you can’t get your mattress down in those ranges unless you’re actively cooling it, and that’s what we do.

Beyond the cooling technology, we can, in real time, take information off of a sleep tracking device and automatically change the temperature of your bed to increase your sleep quality and your sleep quantity. Can you imagine you get an extra hour of sleep every single night by still sleeping your same 7 hours? The difference is you’re getting 20% more REM and deep sleep. The performance and the results are just off the charts.

Roy Morejon:

Todd you’ve been awesome. Thank you so much for being on our show. Everyone thank you again for tuning in. Make sure to visit ArtoftheKickstart.com for all of the show notes, a full transcript, links to everything we talked about today including a link to the campaign as well as the coupon for The Gadget Flow. Todd, thank you so much for joining us on Art of the Kickstart.

Todd Youngblood:

Absolutely, my pleasure Roy, thanks again.

Roy Morejon:

Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a better business, world, and life with crowdfunding. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to visit ArtoftheKickstart.com and tell us about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes and our Kickstarter’s Guide to Crushing It. If you loved this episode, leave us a review at ArtoftheKickstart.com/itunes. It helps more inventors and entrepreneurs find the show and helps us get better guests on here to help build your business. If you need a more hands-on crowdfunding strategy, please feel free to request a quote on CommandPartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in. We’ll see you soon.