For this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we spoke with Mandu Dragos of Dagadam Watches. Learn more about how he designed the product, how he found manufacturers and how he found so much success on Kickstarter

Dagadam Watch – Think Beyond

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How a product can change throughout the design process
  • How long it takes to design a smart watch
  • What to expect when you travel to China to find manufacturers
  • How to decide if crowdfunding is right for your project
  • Why patience is key to a successful crowdfunding campaign

Links

Connect with Dagadam

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!

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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 start ups raise over a hundred million dollars 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 start up to the next level with crowdfunding. Art Of The Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by Backer Kit and The Gadget Flow. Backer Kit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data and manage orders for fulfillment by automating your operations and helping you print and ship faster.

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 lets get on with the show.

Welcome to another edition of Art Of The Kickstart. Today I am joined by Mandu Dragos with the Dagadam Watch. Mandu, thank you so much for joining us today.

Mandu Dragos :

Hello Roy, thank you so much for having me here.

Roy Morejon:

So I love this technology, you guys have created the world’s first round, functional, curved touch bezel smart watch with an AI-based system notification center. Compatible obviously with both Android and IOS. So you guys have an active Kickstarter campaign that we’re working on. Raised over a 100K, got a few hundred backers on it. Please tell our audience, where does this product start? What’s the backstory?

Mandu Dragos :

Yeah so, first of all I want to tell all of the guys who listen to us that I’m not a native English speaker so maybe I will have some mistakes, forgive me for that.

The backstory is, we started three years ago and we didn’t think anything like is out today, was only the app was an app like the notification center. And you receive all the things that you are, are important for you. So for example, you have a CNN app or something like, I don’t know, maybe other news app. You like very much the technology stuff but not other things. The application would sent you notifications with the technology ones in the top.

So the mainly was to learn your behavior on social media and on the internet. And from that start, we was thinking to make it a little bit achievable. So we started thinking to do like a phone. But in my opinion, the phones would be overtaken by the wearables so in that moment we started to think that the smart watch would be a better option for our app.

So we started to develop, first of all we started to develop the design because design is the most important thing for us. We design, I think it took like, almost one year to design it and have a final design project. And from that we, I personally go to find the factory that could help us develop the first prototype.

So I think in April 2016 I went to China to find a factory that can help us.  And in September I think we have some, one of the first prototypes of the Dagadam Watch. Yeah, we started thinking that we want to do our own OS but we didn’t have enough money to develop the entire OS. So we were thinking that we need to license one. And we meet the Ticwear guys, great guys and we start playing on their OS and mainly with [inaudible 00:04:40], that is a very nice assistant, I don’t know if you know it.

Yeah, and we set a partnership with them and from that we started our campaign.

Roy Morejon:

Impressive. So lets jump back a little bit. You said you spent over a year doing the design work, what were some of the challenges that you guys encountered during that phase?

Mandu Dragos :

Yeah, mainly we changed our details. When we started the design we were set on doing a round watch. So never was other shape or something. And also we set that the watch must be curved because curves are, I think beautiful. So, from that we started to develop. First of all we did the curved gorilla glass, that is the first smartwatch that has a curved gorilla glass. And after that we said that we need to continue the glass with the case and also to be curved.

And yeah, we didn’t expect to have that much things to do and details to add to the watch. Took almost, over actually, over one year. I think almost one year and a half but, yeah was a little longer.

Roy Morejon:

So you also mentioned that you traveled to China to find a manufacturing partner. Talk about that process a little, did you have, where did you start that process and once you were there, talk about your experience there in touring other factories and such.

Mandu Dragos :

Yeah the experience in China. I think it’s very interesting because when we started this project we didn’t have so much money so we collaborated with one of the actual collaborators that found some factories for us. So when I go there I met some factories, choose one but the thing was that it was the first time when I traveled to China, I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know the culture, I didn’t know nothing about them. Just meet the people that I need to meet and choose one of them that can help us do the prototypes and of course the mass production after Kickstarter.

Yeah I think we, we meet the factories like two weeks. And after two weeks, we stayed one week to think which one will be the best one for us.

Roy Morejon:

So talking about China and all of the options that are over there, what one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur looking to launch their hardware project or watch projects for instance … of your experience over there?

Mandu Dragos :

My advice is that to everything, they should do everything that they love and to be sure that they will find somebody that can help them there or anywhere else with the manufacturing. Because it, you can find everything. Like, it’s I don’t know how to explain it. It’s, you can find from cables to gadgets to music instruments to everything. You can do bottles, everything. You can think about it.

I tell them to don’t worry about manufacturing because this is a … of course with a little bit of searching, you can find the one that can help you.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, I mean it looks like you’ve jam-packed this smart watch with not only wifi and customizable options, smart notifications, sport trackers, GPS, Bluetooth, IOS and Android compatibility and it goes on from there. I mean it looks like you guys have packed so much power into this smart watch.

Mandu Dragos :

Yeah, we tried to cover all of the things that we think our customers will want to have. And also we think that our smart watch needs to have. I mean, in my opinion these functions and features are the standard things that a smart watch should do.

Roy Morejon:

So Mandu what, you know with crowdfunding, when did you guys have the moment that you knew you wanted to bring this product to market using crowdfunding as a means to launch?

Mandu Dragos:

When we realized that we don’t have enough money to finish satisfying product and to sustain a mass production. In that moment we realized that we need the help from the people that really trust us and maybe support us. Because things that, it’s great product and yeah, from that moment.

Roy Morejon:

So what’s been the biggest surprise that you’ve encountered thus far during the campaign?

Mandu Dragos:

I really didn’t expect that many people would see our project and our product this interesting. I really didn’t know that, I think we were backed, fully funded in one week or something like that? I didn’t look at the statistics but yeah, I was impressed that people seen our product and in our project a potential.

Roy Morejon:

The people have spoken and they certainly love this product. And it comes through in the form of backers. So if you could do anything differently, in starting this whole process over, what might you do differently?

Mandu Dragos:

Probably nothing. I’m really glad with what happened until now.

Roy Morejon:

Excellent. So if you could give advice to someone else looking to kickstart their technology product, what advice would you give to them?

Mandu Dragos :

To back with a lot of patience and hope because they will have a lot of things that will throw them down but they need to hope and have patience to reach this level and it will be, if you trust that your product and if you trust that your work is done great, you will be successful.

Roy Morejon:

Great advice Mandu, this gets us into our launch round where I’m going to rapid fire a few questions at you. Are you ready to go?

Mandu Dragos :

Yeah.

Roy Morejon:

So what inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

Mandu Dragos:
I feel like I need to do this. I did went to a Med school in Romania for years and in the moment I started this project I let it down because I feel like this is my path.

Roy Morejon:

So if you could have a beer with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Mandu Dragos :

Steve Jobs.

Roy Morejon:

What would be your first question for Steve?

Mandu Dragos:

How he handled this much pressure?

Roy Morejon:

Great question.

What business book or life, what book are you reading right now?

Mandu Dragos:

Actually Steve Jobs, yeah, his biography.

Roy Morejon:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Mandu Dragos:

A great company that makes great products.

Roy Morejon:

Excellent, last question Mandu, what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Mandu Dragos:

The crowdfunding will be the only thing that can help start-ups have a, I mean a push.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. Mandu this has been great, please give our audience your pitch, tell them what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should go buy a Dagadam Smart Watch.

Mandu Dragos:

So we are an Irish startup with a team from Romania, Ireland and also the U.K. Of course the collaborators are from China, our manufacturer. We partnership in February with Mavoy, that’s a tech company that was backed by Google.

They can buy our smart watch from Kickstarter and why should they back us? I don’t know maybe they will look at our project and our work.  Maybe they will see that we really love what we are doing so if we love the product, the product will be great.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. Mandu thank you so much for joining us today. Audience, thank you again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artkick.wpengine.com for all the show notes, a full transcript, links to everything we talked about today and of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, the Gadget Flow and Backer Kit.

Mandu, thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Mandu Dragos:

Thank you too, Roy.