For this episode of Art of the Kickstart we spoke with Ray Wu of Wynd, a portable smart air purifier designed to clean the air around you. Tune in to learn more about building a team for a crowdfunding project, what to do during the pre-launch phase of your project and how to use Facebook ads to your advantage.

Wynd – The Smartest Air Purifier for Your Personal Space

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How to build the perfect team for a crowdfunding campaign
  • How to connect with people who can help you launch a new product on Kickstarter or Indiegogo
  • Where to find early adopters to back your project as soon as it launches
  • How to use early bird rewards to fund quickly on Kickstarter
  • How to use Facebook ads to gather leads before launching
  • When to choose crowdfunding to launch your product

Links

Connect with Wynd

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 AOTK 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 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, an 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. Let’s get on with the show.

Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today I’m joined by Ray Wu with the Wynd product. Ray, thank you so much for joining us.

Ray Wu:

Thanks, Roy. Happy to be here.

Roy Morejon:

Tell us about your Kickstarter project. This is, as you claim, the smartest air purifier for your space. What is Wynd all about?

Ray Wu:

Sure. Wynd, at a high level, is an air quality system. It generates clean air for your personal space that removes things like allergens, germs and even industrial pollution. On top of that, it’s also an air quality monitor. We’ve designed the smallest air quality monitor in the world that you can actually use by itself to alert you of any air quality issues. The air quality monitor works with the purifier all in one to maintain a healthy environment for you and your family. The last thing I would mention on just the hardware side of things is that it’s portable. You can actually bring this with you. Most air purifiers are very big. Ours is smaller than a water bottle. You bring Wynd with you, set it down wherever you want, and it cleans your personal space.

Roy Morejon:

Killer. I know you guys had engineered this with a bunch of smart MIT grads. Obviously it’s super effective at cleaning the air, and obviously with mobile size in terms of the product itself. Where does the technical background come from for you and the team in terms of putting this together.

Ray Wu:

There’s several pieces to what makes Wynd really work. I’ll separate them into the software and the hardware side. On the hardware side, we needed, number one, to make a really effective purifier but we’re limited by volume. We can’t use very large fans and very big filters. Everything’s very compact. The technical challenges around making the air flow really smooth, very powerful was pretty tricky. Luckily we had a guy by the name of Eric Munoz on our team who really specializes in air flow. He’s an MIT Stanford grad and before joining our team he designed jet engines, basically the turbine placed jet engines. He knows a lot about air flow.

The second part is sensors. We actually invented our own particular sensor for air quality. Another person on our team, also from MIT, used to design professional sensors for NASA. They actually monitored space shuttle launches, and using a lot of the same expertise, we made one for consumers. They’re much cheaper, much smaller. Not as accurate, but accurate enough that we could use it for our purpose. Last part is the software, which I really didn’t get into. We want the data from the Wynd devices, especially the sensor, to be essentially aggregated and create these waves of air quality. We have 13 developers who have a lot of experience in building both the app as well as all the Cloud components to make that a reality.

Roy Morejon:

It’s a really interesting story, Ray. I read your post on Medium. You were born in China in the 80s and moved over to the States in the 90s. Talk about where the painpoint came from for you to start envisioning this product.

Ray Wu:

Sure. I go back to visit my relatives in Beijing pretty often. My dad lives there, quite a lot of other relatives. About 15 years ago as I was [inaudible 04:26] a visit, I noticed that the environment has really changed. You see a lot of economic development, but the air quality is poisonous and affecting people that I know and love. I was always thinking about, “What can we do to help people? Even more than my immediate friends and family?” As we started getting into Wynd, we realized air quality’s a much bigger thing than just something you see in Beijing or New Delhi. People even here in San Francisco where we don’t talk about air pollution, but there are 30 million people in the United States with allergies. That could be from pet dander or pollen, and that affects their quality of life. Other people travel and they might go to places where they can’t control their environment. Many people have come to us to tell us their stories about how they use Wynd to ensure that they breathe healthy.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, it’s a truly incredible product and obviously fulfills a need that not only many Americans but many people worldwide need. I think it’s obviously going to be a continued issue going forward with the pollution that we’re putting into the air. I think the product design is really interesting and how you guys have put it together in a mobile version. Talk about how your team came together. Obviously you’ve got a ton of smart people as well as advisors as well. How did that all get started

Ray Wu:

Well, a lot of us just knew each other. Some of us were friends, some of us knew each other from school. I had met some people at hackathons actually, and we just started working on side projects until Wynd came along and it was something real that people were passionate about, and we got together and started this. It’s really just from our friends and our network. We were very privileged to get introduced to Mike Nuttall. He’s our industrial designer and his background is quite long and very successful. In short, he’s the co-founder of IDEO which is a pretty famous and successful industrial design firm. He mostly works in startups these days and we’re very happy he’s on board. He really contributed to the look and feel of the product that you see today.

Roy Morejon:

I know that you guys have gone through dozens of iterations on that. I think that the final designs of what you guys have done is truly impressive. In terms of some of the prep work that you guys did leading up to the crowdfunding campaign, can you tell our listeners a little bit about that?

Ray Wu:

Sure. This is our first crowdfunding campaign. We’re relative newbies to the crowndfunding launching products. We did talk to a lot of people about how to do marketing, how to set up the content. A lot of tactical things about how to prepare for the campaign. That helped a lot, just hearing it from other people who were very kind and generous with their time to give us advice and were making introductions too. Very happy about that.

Roy Morejon:

You guys started off with a bang. What led to your initial success of basically funding on day one and then your continued success so far through the campaign? Any advice there?

Ray Wu:

I would say there’s no one thing, but if I have to think of several attributes that might have led to it: A, we really tried to get our own network to support it so all of our friends, our family. They would probably buy it anyway, but really get them to do so on day one, and also to tell our friends about it so hopefully other creators can really count on their own network to help be the mouthpiece on the first day and also to pledge. On top of that, we did get some good publicity on day one. I think we had a dozen or so different outlets that were very reputable like Tech Crunch, for example, who wrote about us. That helped for sure.

We were building our email list as well. We had in the thousands of people on our email lists in the weeks leading up to their campaign. These are people who knew that we were launching soon and knew somewhat about the product, not all the details. They didn’t know the price. We wanted them to be excited that they were going to be one of the first people to know about our campaign. I think a lot of them bought on the first day or two. I would say the last part is we did have Early Bird, so Early Bird helps the tactical thing. Giving people who pledge on day one or day two a nice little treat in the form of a discount. I think that makes everyone happy and also helps us get a lot of momentum going into the campaign.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. You mentioned you built up an email list. Where was your initial targeting done from in terms of qualifying and bringing those leads in?

Ray Wu:

There’s probably much more sophisticated ways about going through this. We use Facebook primarily. We use creative ads that don’t reveal everything about our product because we weren’t ready to do that yet, but I think enough that they understood this was a new form of air purifier that monitored and cleaned and was even portable. We didn’t show everything, and that if you wanted more information give us your email on our landing page. There’s probably better ways of doing it. For us, this was what worked. We primarily used Facebook because there’s almost two billion people on it, so it’s an easy way to target people.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely, yeah. We’ve seen great success with all of our Facebook advertising as well. You guys have a couple weeks left in the live campaign. What has been the biggest surprise so far for your team doing this campaign?

Ray Wu:

I think the first few days, really we were super honored that so many people came out and supported our project. Even with the email list, it’s really hard to tell whether people would actually buy it because it’s obviously a different game when you ask them for their money, their hard-earned money. I feel a great deal of responsibility about that as well, to deliver a product that they’ll love. I think I’m not really surprised by it, but I guess going into campaign, it could be surprising for people. The first few days are always pretty good, a lot of volume, a lot of traffic. It will follow somewhat of a backer curve. We are in the middle right now. It slows down a little bit, and it’s up to us and our backer community frankly to drive continued excitement.

We try to offer news and something useful that people can share with their friends and get more people to join in. Every day, we’re thinking about what can we do to tell our community to get more excited, not just the app that they but also to help us and help themselves get a much bigger community. For our specific news case, we want that big community. Not just because of dollars and all that stuff, but what we would love to do is create the waves of air quality. That happens when many users of our devices who can help share data about their environment with everyone else, even people who didn’t buy Wynd, and hopefully educate people about what places are safe, what places might not be so much and how they can live healthier lives. Having a bigger community works toward that goal, so we’re always trying to drive toward that.

Roy Morejon:

It’s great to hear you talk about community. I think that’s what crowdfunding is all about. Give me an idea about what made you guys choose crowdfunding to truly launch your product.

Ray Wu:

For us, it was pretty straight-forward. We were a startup. We don’t have the brand before this. We didn’t have any visibility of anybody before this other than our tester and whatnot. To launch the product and have people believe in you and even find you online is challenging if you don’t target existing market people who are generally very excited about new product launches from startups, from companies that previously haven’t maybe established themselves. Kickstarter’s one of the biggest communities out there. There are, I think, 20 million, 30 million people who have a habit of backing early slate projects. We wanted to leverage that and communicate with them.

Kickstarter also offers the credibility of being on that platform knowing that you’re not just, for example, entering your credit card information on somebody’s random website. You do it via this platform that has had a history of very amazing product stories and backers. We wanted to be part of that and make it easy for any potential backers to trust us and to work with us.

Roy Morejon:

I think you’ve absolutely done that. Congrats on the success of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars on the campaign. Ray, this gets us into our launch round where I rapid-fire questions at you. Are you ready to go?

Ray Wu:

Sure.

Roy Morejon:

What inspired you to quit your job and become an entrepreneur?

Ray Wu:

I just wanted to do something on my own and really build something on my own.

Roy Morejon:

If you could meet with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Ray Wu:

Probably Edison.

Roy Morejon:

What would be your first question?

Ray Wu:

How have you thought about what projects to work on?

Roy Morejon:

Who did you look to growing up?

Ray Wu:

Jobs.

Roy Morejon:

What business book or life book is on your nightstand?

Ray Wu:

Elon Musk’s biography.

Roy Morejon:

What would you say your biggest weakness is?

Ray Wu:

Not sleeping enough.

Roy Morejon:

I think everybody in the entrepreneur world suffers from that. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Ray Wu:

I hope to continue to be working at Wynd and creating a wonderful platform.

Roy Morejon:

What big thing do you want to accomplish in life?

Ray Wu:

I just want to hopefully make people happy with products that we build. Also on personal note, I’m getting ready to raise a family and be a caring person.

Roy Morejon:

Last question: what does the future of crowdfunding look like to you?

Ray Wu:

I think crowdfunding will be more mobile. I think as people from other parts of the world that maybe aren’t used to preordering and waiting, I think that will change over time. I do think that crowdfunding will gravitate a little bit more toward more professional projects that can build very high-quality products as well. That actually could splinter a little bit; you could have projects that are very well funded, professional, bigger teams. They’re still small companies. On the other side, you have very garage independent indie creators who are really doing it for the love of just making a few products. I think there will be some type of splinter. I think that’s fine, I think that’s great.

Roy Morejon:

I agree, Ray. You’ve been awesome. Please give our listeners your pitch. Tell us what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should go buy a Wynd.

Ray Wu:

Sure. I’m Ray and I’m one of the co-founders of Wynd. We created a smart air purifier that cleans your personal space. You can bring it with you. It monitors and cleans your air automatically. I talked about how we built a software platform where you can get more insights about air quality and even share air quality information with the rest of the world, help them be more healthy. You can check us out on Kickstarter. You can go to the website hellowynd, spelled W-y-n-d, Hellowynd.com/Kickstarter, or you can find us directly on Kickstarter and you can preorder today. Our campaign ends on July 12th. If you could buy before then, you could get a pretty substantial discount. We hope to see you there, and if you have any questions please ask us directly on Kickstarter. Thank you.

Roy Morejon:

Ray, you’ve been awesome. Listeners, thank you again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com where all the links and everything we’ve talked about today including the full transcript. Ray, thank you again for joining us.

Ray Wu:

Thanks, Roy. Thanks, Art of the Kickstart.

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 artkick.wpengine.com and tell us about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes and our Kickstarter guide to crushing it. If you loved this episode, leave us a review at artkick.wpengine.com/itunes. It helps more inventors and entrepreneurs find the show and helps us get better guests on here to 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.