In this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we interviewed Adrien Beyk, co-founder and CEO of Quanta Vici, creators of smart heated gloves and socks. Through integrated, real-time temperature sensors, Quanta Vici wearables (and smartphone app) let you maintain an exact temperature of your hands and feet for up to 6.5 hours. Listen in and learn about the smart wearables’ product development journey and their Kickstarter experience.

Topics Discussed and Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • The inspiration behind Quanta Vici came from living in chilly Toronto and wanting to help those with medical conditions negatively affected by cold weather.
  • How finding gaps in the electric heated glove and sock market led them to design a more precise, longer-lasting glove and sock that looked good too.
  • Why the team started working with Enventys Partners, a marketing agency, when figuring out how to find a broader audience, beyond the initial (and smaller) target of the medical market.
  • The challenges that came with designing a fashion item (instead of just a lining) as a tech company and how they were able to come up with truly smart and wearable gloves and socks.

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 a $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.
Roy Morejon:
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 really excited because I’m talking with Adrien Beyk, co-founder and CEO of Quanta Vici. And if you haven’t heard about Quanta Vici yet, you’re going to want to check this out because for the winter time and potentially the crazy winter that we’re about to have around the world, just because 2020 has been a crazy year already, Adrien is the founder and CEO of this company that’s created the world’s first smart heated gloves and socks. So these are a really amazing, amazing technology that you’re going to want to put on your feet and your hands equipped with built-in temperature sensors. This stuff is amazing. So, really excited to have Adrien on the show. Adrien, thank you so much for joining us today on Art of the Kickstart.
Adrien Beyk:
Hi, Roy. Thank you so much for having me today. It’s a pleasure being on Art of the Kickstart.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. I’m really excited to one, hear about your background and two, talk about the inspiration of where all of this started. What inspired you to create Quanta Vici Smart Wearables?
Adrien Beyk:
Sure thing. Okay, so I live in Toronto and as you might’ve heard, it gets kind of chilly here in winter. So back in 2017, this is about four years ago, we were looking into how the cold weather affects people who suffer from medical conditions that are negatively affected by cold weather. And my field of study is engineering. So I look at everything as a problem that has to be solved. And these statistics are that one, every three Canadians suffer from these type of medical conditions. And these are very common ones, for example, asthma, migraine, arthritis, diabetes, which can cause poor blood circulation in your feet. And the list just goes on for carbon millions of people. So we saw this and we also saw that despite the fact that there are heated wearables on the market, people are not using these.
Adrien Beyk:
So a lot of people are facing these challenges on their daily life, not able to enjoy the beautiful days in winter because of their medical conditions. And so we identified this gap between what people need and what’s really available and that’s when it all really started, trying to provide a viable personal heating solution that can be practical and realistic for everyone to use.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah, Toronto is definitely a beautiful city, cold in the winter-
Adrien Beyk:
Yeah.
Roy Morejon:
… I had the wonderful chance of getting up there last year for the Collision Conference, moved up to that area of the world. A beautiful area, amazing people, but yeah, winter time, definitely frigid. So I get the need for creating a product like this. But talk to me about when you were creating this product because you’re dealing with different extremities. What’s the process like there? How do you go about deciding what features to include, how to design it correctly, how to make sure we don’t burn our fingers and toes off? Talk a little bit about the engineering behind this technology.
Adrien Beyk:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. This is what we spend the majority of our time on actually. So I’m a very data-driven type of person. And I took the same approach with this company. What we did was that first of all, as I said, heated wearables have existed for a long time. And the problem is people are not using them. For example, if you’re dressed in your casual daily clothing or you’re going for a run, we don’t really see people using them. But if you search for heated wearables, you’re going to be saturated with the results that come out. And so here’s what we did to identify what features to work on, and especially if you’re a startup [inaudible 00:04:53] resources, everything’s very limited. So you have to focus on what’s really necessary. So we looked at thousands of product reviews, we got those products, we tested them for ourselves to see what’s correlating between people’s feedback and what we are seeing hands on.
Adrien Beyk:
And so basically it all came down to three things, temperature, battery, and fashion. People have been complaining that even though these products that exist on the market, they heat up to 55 Celsius, but that’s not enough people complain about that because what’s usually offered is that you have three preset settings and they indicate heat levels, not temperatures. So you have low, medium, high. People really needed to be able to set the temperature degree that works for them. And so looking at that problem, it was very interesting because we couldn’t just change a small thing. We had to make a whole new technology for this. You had to make this heated wearable smart. And what that meant was adding sensors that sense the temperature. They are aware of what’s going on inside your wearable and working algorithms, working on control systems that are able to take this real time sensor temperature reading and managing the heat so it would maintain the exact temperature you choose. Basically a thermostat for your body.
Adrien Beyk:
And this in turn, we figured out that if we developed such technology, it would also address the issues with battery life. So we worked on it from 2017 and finished our proof of concept in 2018. And it was a very interesting journey because we had to overcome obstacles that were basically cutting edge. Things that our team, even though we are… Our team is made up of people who worked with industry leaders, we were facing new problems, new challenges every day, but to have been able to overcome those issues and make a solution that works has been amazing.
Roy Morejon:
So talking a little bit about the prep work leading up to the Kickstarter campaign, which will be active once this podcast gets published to the thousands of listeners out there, target market audience for this, obviously the folks that are in the cold weather and up north or wherever it may be certainly get that. The folks that are extreme sports, skiers, snowboarders, what have you, I can see that. And then maybe also I’m assuming like the parents that sit on the sidelines and watch their kids play a soccer match or something in the fall. How have you gone about potentially marketing to those three drastically different audiences?
Adrien Beyk:
Very good question. So, as I mentioned, we started this, working on this solution as something that would address the need that people have who’re suffering from medical conditions. So basically we had to start the project with a medical level of perfection in mind for our designs for everything. And when you take an approach like that, when your standards are so strict, you end up covering a lot of different areas. So our research showed that even though almost all of the heated wearables that are on the market are targeting sports and recreational activities, that’s actually 1% of the reason people buy these products. The majority of people just want heated wearables for their day-to-day life, whether it’s in the morning and you’ve got ice on your windshield, and you just want to get it off and your fingers are freezing, or if you’re a student waiting at a bus stop, or as you said you’re parent watching your kids play, or even if you’re walking your dog or you’re a motorcyclists.
Adrien Beyk:
So we took the approach of first making a technology that works perfectly. Simple goal, hit up strongly and with precision and for a long time. So once we accomplish that, it was a matter of how we deliver that to people and that’s fashion. We are a tech company and usually tech companies are known for not being good with design. So it was challenging for us to really find a way that our product wouldn’t be limited to a certain group of people. For example, how most of the existing solutions targets recreational activities and extreme sports. So what we did for our product was that we made it thin and because of the heating system, it doesn’t really need the extra [inaudible 00:10:08], we could get rid of that. And when came to the design, for a design, we had to take a approach that would be artistic, mixed with engineering.
Adrien Beyk:
So basically we had to… We didn’t want to, again, we didn’t want to risk losing a part of the market because different people from different professions, age gaps need this. And so we made a product that has a simple design yet it looks elegant. We looked at what works in fashion, what would basically prevent someone from wanting this type of wearable. And once we finished the tests, the surveys, the demos, and we got the feedback, it was a matter of marketing it and for marketing, that’s where you guys come in. And of course, every founder should perfectly understand their product, their market, and of course we did that, but really it comes down to having a solution that’s perfect having the product and showing that it works for all of these cases, whether you’re doing a workout, whether you’re a professional working outside and so on.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. I think you nailed it, Adrien, in terms of the design of this product. It’s much thinner than I had expected in terms of… I’m thinking of large big mittens with lots of wires in them and super extra padded, same with the socks, right? I’m thinking like nice big moccasins and those sorts of things, but you’ve made a beautiful, elegant, thin, well-designed product that nobody would know is heated unless they ask about it, right?
Adrien Beyk:
Exactly. Yeah. The point was to really not stand out, it was to seamlessly solve this problem because that’s how I believe smart apparel can become a thing.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. So you had mentioned earlier in terms of starting to survey backers as well, people that hopefully will back the campaign before the campaign goes live and getting all of their feedback. How have you gone about managing that feedback as well as potentially making changes to the product or the manufacturing, or what have you, in terms of getting ready for this launch?
Adrien Beyk:
Okay. That’s a great question. I learned [inaudible 00:12:36] the hard way to be honest. As someone who starts a project, we often get short-sighted. We fall in love with the vision and we’re convinced it’s perfect as is, but you have to really be open to scratching the whole thing and starting over at any point if it’s not making sense. And the only way to confirm whether it’s making sense or not is by talking to people, simple as that. Fortunately, I had some really tough mentors that got me to get out of my comfort zone, got me to go to demos, got me to push myself to have samples early on. We started back in 2017, even back then, we were making samples, very different from what we have today of course, but nevertheless, it was a part of the growth stages that we had to go through.
Adrien Beyk:
And we went through a lot of changes. I can share with you some internal stories. For example, there was a point where we thought that we should make these products as layers because advisors were telling us that you’re a tech company, you don’t want to get into fashion. That’s too complicated. How are we going to avoid basically screwing up the fashion aspect of this project? So the solution was to make this as a liner, basically. Something that you would wear under your favorite clothing, but after a while, we did some tests and stuff. We also, we were very fortunate to be able to work with some really talented people in the industry. People who have worked with some big names. If you check out the theme section on our website, you can see all of the amazing people who joined us on this journey to help make this happen and you’re able to make it happen. Yeah.
Roy Morejon:
Yeah. You talked about the team and obviously you’ve been working with us here at Enventys Partners for a while now.
Adrien Beyk:
Yeah.
Roy Morejon:
What were some of those considerations that you went through when choosing an agency to partner with to launch your baby?
Adrien Beyk:
Okay. So I don’t want come off as I’m advertising Enventys or anything. I’m just being honest. Okay? I am super picky when it comes to picking anyone who I work with. And that’s just because I’ve worked with different companies in the past. I know, I’ve seen startups fail. I’ve seen startups succeed and it’s really worth doing the extra research. And for me and my team, relying on an agency to handle our campaign, it meant really handing off the fate of all the four years of our work. So it was a big deal. I have the same process for all types of contracts, hirings, recruitment that I do, whether it’s for my own company or other companies that I’ve worked with. First of all, you have to really figure out where the candidates are, search them and understand what you need from them.
Adrien Beyk:
So that’s what I did for also find the best agency to work with through the same process. Meet with people, talk to them, understand what you really need. It means actually going out there and learning what has to get done, so you have realistic expectations. So I did that and I remember it was at CES that I heard about Enventys. And right now it’s been months since then, and a lot of things has changed since then. Reed can tell you. We’ve been going back and forth a lot. I must have been the most annoying client ever. And yeah, so like I basically interviewed everyone and really I even got sample email marketing templates of each of the candidates that I was considering or each of the agencies. And I am very impressed. This is a huge project. A lot of things can go wrong with huge projects. Honestly, it’s been really delightful experience working with you guys. We’ve not had even one hiccup. Everything’s been going perfectly well. Again, despite the fact that there’s so many different elements and the fact that I am very picky.
Roy Morejon:
No, I appreciate that and the team is super excited about this upcoming launch, Adrien. I know it’s going to be huge and the world is going to love this innovation. So-
Adrien Beyk:
Thank you.
Roy Morejon:
… really appreciate you for one, trusting your baby with us and putting it in our hands and getting this thing out there and launched here in the next week or so. And with that, Adrien, we are going to get into the launch round where I am rapid firing questions at you. You good to go?
Adrien Beyk:
Okay, let’s do this.
Roy Morejon:
So what inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Adrien Beyk:
Man, as long as me or my parents can remember, I’ve always been obsessed with creativity, whether it’s making a new song or drawing something. And I really like to make stuff. And early on, I realized if I want to be a successful inventor, I have to understand how to sell it. And it means understanding business financials, marketing, and it basically means entrepreneurship. So entrepreneurship for me is a consequence of my core passion.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. So if you could meet with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?
Adrien Beyk:
Gosh, there are so many amazing entrepreneurs. Honestly, it would be an honor to meet any of them. Ford would be a very amazing example to meet. There was a lady who was an actor and also an inventor. I think Hedy Lamarr, that’s also very inspiring example to meet and just pick their mind.
Roy Morejon:
Interesting. So what would have been your first question for Mr. Ford?
Adrien Beyk:
I would ask them what’s their process for planning and decision-making and what are their professional values?
Roy Morejon:
Nice. What’s what’s your favorite winter spot?
Adrien Beyk:
Winter spot? Well I have a lot of great memories from Toronto downtown having been a student at Ryerson University. So I have a lot of good memories. I would say that’s like downtown Toronto.
Roy Morejon:
There you go. Staying at home. I love it.
Adrien Beyk:
Yeah, yeah.
Roy Morejon:
Any books you would recommend to our entrepreneurial listeners?
Adrien Beyk:
For sure. Everyone talks about a few bunch of books. Stay with the basics, you can’t go wrong. Art of Strategy, Think and Grow Rich, Rich Dad Poor Dad. There’s like a list of top 10 books every entrepreneur should read. I would just stress reading those great reads.
Roy Morejon:
Nice. Last question for you in the launch round. And I know the campaign hasn’t launched yet, but really interested to see and hear your insights on what does the future of crowdfunding look like?
Adrien Beyk:
Future of crowdfunding? I think that this is just the beginning. I think with technology making it easier and easier for creators to bring their visions into reality. And with agencies such as Enventys helping professionally cover the parts that a curator might not be good at, or might not just be interested in taking care of themselves, I think it’s just going to grow much richer. I see a future where something like crowdfunding is at least 50% as popular as something as basic like Amazon Prime.
Roy Morejon:
Absolutely. Yeah, we’ll see how it evolves. But Adrien, this has been amazing. This is your opportunity to give our audience your final pitch, tell people what you’re all about, where people should go and why they should check you out.
Adrien Beyk:
Okay. All right. Hey, everyone. Thank you so much for listening. I’m here today promoting Quanta Vici obviously. It can be simply said that Quanta Vici is launching world’s first smart heated gloves and socks, but this is much more than that. We are building a company with plans, not for just one year, for 30 years. We want to do some amazing things. We need your help. So back us on Kickstarter and because we are a transparent company and we highly value honesty, I have my own YouTube channel, where I can be in touch with you directly and share stories from this very, very interesting venture creation journey. And it’s my name, Adrien Beyk. Follow me and let me know your questions.
Roy Morejon:
Awesome. Well, Adrien, thank you for being on the show. Audience, thank you for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for the notes, the transcript, links to the campaign and Adrien’s YouTube channel and everything else we talked about today. And of course thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors the Gadget Flow and ProductHype. Adrien, thank you so much for being a guest on Art of the Kickstart.
Adrien Beyk:
My pleasure. Thank you for having me, pleasure talking to you.
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 love 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.