This week on Art of the Kickstart we spoke to Glen Gunawan about Sonic Soak, a portable ultrasonic cleaning tool! Learn more about how he invented a tool that can clean nearly anything, and how he’s raised over $400,000 on Indiegogo with more than three weeks left to go!

Sonic Soak: The Ultimate Ultrasonic Cleaning Tool

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How to decide if crowdfunding is the best way to launch your project
  • How to decide what features to include when you develop a product
  • How to determine your target market
  • How to create a great crowdfunding video
  • How public relations and paid advertising can make a big difference for your campaign
  • How to get great feedback from your backers during an Indiegogo campaign
  • How to choose the right crowdfunding marketing agency

Links

Connect With Sonic Soak

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!

backerkitArt of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, raise additional funds with add-ons and manage orders for fulfillment, saving creators hundreds of hours. To learn more and get started, click here.

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 $100 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 you take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding.

Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit and the Gadget Flow. BackerKit 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, let’s get on with the show.

Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today I am joined with Glen Gunawan, with the Sonic Soak. Glen, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Glen Gunawan:

Thank you so much for having me Roy. Real excited to be here and talk with you.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah. I’m excited to talk about this product. We’ve been working together for some time on it, and this ultimate ultrasonic cleaning tool is the number one project on Indiegogo right now. I’d love for you to just give our audience a little bit of the background and what inspired Sonic Soak to come to fruition.

Glen Gunawan:

Yeah. I actually used to be a management consultant, so I did a ton of traveling back and forth when I was more corporate. A big issue for me, especially when I had longer business trips, was always actually having to deal with all my clothes that I could never really afford to pay for dry cleaning. I mean, I just couldn’t justify paying 10 bucks per shirt to dry clean at the hotel or something. I wouldn’t really have time to like find a nice like laundromat or something to clean my clothes with.

I got to talking with a few friends about what the problem looks like, and we started kind of seeing if there were any options out there. We didn’t see a lot of, I guess, portable cleaning solutions out there. Then we saw that there was this really cool technology, ultrasonic cleaning, that actually my girlfriend at the time used quite a bit to clean her jewelry, to clean basically a lot of things that I didn’t even think you could really clean very well. We did some research, saw that it has the potential at actually cleaning a lot of what’s in your house, including clothes, and so that’s kind of how we got kicked off and started this adventure with Enventys Partners.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah. We’re obviously really excited to be working on this campaign with you, now that we’re well over 300,000 and a couple thousand backers on it. When you guys were creating Sonic Soak as your product, was this the first product that you guys have developed?

Glen Gunawan:

Not really actually. We’ve done, between myself and my partners involved in this, we’ve launched a bunch of products before, just not really through crowdfunding. We actually wanted to go to crowdfunding just because we had seen that there’s so much community, so much hype, I guess, that doesn’t really come with traditional product launches. When I say traditional, I mean launching a product on Amazon, on a traditional eCommerce channel with ads and what have you.

We saw in crowdfunding, it formed like a certain sense of brand loyalty with a lot of our customers. A lot of press picked it up quite easily, and it was just something that seemed really fun, and something that we felt was a growing space or opportunity that we wanted to tap into and learn how to do really well. Which is a big part of why we went and did this was making sure that we did everything right, and planned way ahead, and talked with a ton of marketing partners, as well as previous founders, to kind of see the best practices and things.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. When you guys were creating Sonic Soak, what does that process look like for you guys? How did you guys go about deciding what features to include in it?

Glen Gunawan:

In terms of the design aspect, I mean we have a pretty strong engineering team behind this. While my focus is much more on the marketing, as well as the more like team building and I guess more of like the business development side of things. We have [Nado 00:04:43], who’s our chief scientist. Between he and his team, he owns the patent and everything on this product, it was much more a finding the right person to work with this idea, that could really bring this idea to reality.

We had already launched successfully on Asia, for this product, just because we weren’t sure of the market in the US at first. We launched this successfully in China. You can read all about it in our campaign page and our history. After that, it was a matter of thinking, okay, well that was a good trial run in Asia, let’s go after what we really wanted to tap into, which is like the US and international market, where people just have a bigger appetite for these kinds of goods, except higher quality than the ones we had in China.

It was always just a more stepping stone thing for us. Then we slowly added on features, added on durability, added on better quality materials, as we started from a more basic product. We weren’t sure of the appetite yet, so we couldn’t invest in a ton. It eventually grew to the higher end version that we’re bringing out here in the US.

To your point about features, in the end, what was great about the Sonic Soak is we could focus on just one thing really. All we needed to focus on was getting a strong ultrasonic, I don’t want to say vibrator, but ultrasonic generator that could generate sound waves as strong as possible. Anything beyond that was superfluous in a way.

For us, it was always like a very focused mindset of trying to find a way to create the strongest ultrasonic waves. In that sense, it was just a bunch of iteration, putting into mind one target. Which was kind of nice, I didn’t have to worry about, I know some crowdfunding projects have to really worry about like the ergonomics and comfort of someone wearing a jacket or something. For us it was much more technical in that way, to pursue just being really good at one particular thing.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. It’s always good to focus on that one thing, right?

Glen Gunawan:

Yeah. Exactly.

Roy Morejon:

In focusing on this product, on the crowdfunding side, what made you decide to use crowdfunding as a means to launch this to the US and international market, and how long have you spent preparing for this campaign?

Glen Gunawan:

Well, we wanted to go after it … To be honest, we wanted to go after the US market primarily because people just have a larger wallet size here in the US. Because of that, it allowed us to actually pursue our kind of vision, which we were pursuing with the first place of a high quality, portable ultrasonic generator that could actually be the best in its class. Whereas in Asia, we all just have to worry, there aren’t really a lot of competitors in the space yet, but it always felt like in Asia there’s a chance that someone would catch up to us. Just because in Asia people just have a smaller wallet size for what is basically a luxury good, in a way.

I guess it’s kind of more of engineering pride, I studied electrical engineering in school, so I was always kind of a techie kind of guy. I really wanted to pursue making something that was really good, and the best in its class. We felt like we couldn’t really get that in Asia.

In terms of preparing for the campaign, it took awhile. We actually ended up investing quite a bit of our time into it, as well as our team’s time. We had done it successful in Asia before, so we had some experience already. In the US was a whole different ballpark. We had to find a new videographer that was familiar with crowdfunding. We spent a ton of time doing due diligence, in terms of finding the right marketing partner to work with. We spent a ton of time trying to network with other founders, and trying to see what the best practices were.

I’d say we’ve been exploring the idea for close to a year, in a way, and we’ve been focusing on developing like the marketing assets and things like that, for the past I’d say three to four, maybe even five months. Now the campaign is underway, we’re two weeks in, and we’re expecting to invest at least like a couple years of time just on this first generation of ultrasonic cleaners.

Roy Morejon:

Interesting. How did you guys decide about, in terms of targeting the market and the audience outside of the Asian populace, in terms of focusing on the US and the international? How did you guys decide on who and where to target?

Glen Gunawan:

Yeah. We had done quite a bit of focus group testing actually, and at first we were thinking, well, maybe my target are only like these subset of people that are looking for like a small laundry device or something. Then we quickly, when we asked around customers and we asked our family and friends, as well as our, actually our SAS family and friends as well for input. We got a lot of feedback for a lot of use cases we didn’t think of.

We have engineers on the team, and we had some of them research about the use cases of ultrasonic cleaning. We talked to companies as well, that also do ultrasonic cleaning. Tried to see what kinds of use cases they have for the customers. Even though we started with like, okay, well we can use this to clean jewelry, or we can use this to clean cloth. We also learned about the potential in cleaning hairbrushes, razors, about baby bottles, toys. Then we got a ton of really good research in terms of how just nasty that stuff is, which only just made us more passionate about the project. Just because we saw, there was a real pain point here.

Then we realized that a lot of people not only didn’t know that this stuff was really gross, there’s no really good way of cleaning it. Let alone like a, there are some ways of cleaning very individual things, like you can dip a razor in some alcohol bath or something, but there’s no real way of cleaning like fruits as well as razors as well as hairbrushes. We saw that this was a tool that kind of bridged that gap.

It was a pretty interesting process, in terms of just seeing how we, even during the campaign actually, we started getting a lot of feedback, a lot of comments on our campaign, as well as on Facebook, about industrial use cases. We were like, “Oh, we didn’t even think this was a big market.” We knew it was a big market, but not necessarily on crowdfunding. That was an interesting aspiration process where we talked with the Enventys Partners team, to try to get them to, let’s explore some industrial use case audiences. We’re seeing a lot of traction there as well, which is fantastic to see.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. Let’s talk a little bit about your campaign video. I think it’s one of the better ones that we’ve seen this year. What was that process like, and how did you guys decide on what to include in the video?

Glen Gunawan:

Oh yeah. That was actually a very manual process on our end. We work with videographers quite a bit, but our network isn’t very strong in the US. Also, we wanted to find one that was experienced with crowdfunding in general. We interviewed a lot of videographers along the way, a lot of like more traditional commercial/product videographers, and we didn’t really find that they clicked very well. They just didn’t really get crowdfunding, in a way. We were new to this, so we didn’t really get it either. At the very least, you want something that’s very high …

You don’t want it to sound like a commercial, or like you just want to showcase the product in a pretty way. You want it to show like a real pain point. You needed a videographer that could put themselves in the shoes of being a founder themselves, in a way, and trying to deliver the pain point and making it relatable. We talked with a ton of videographers, at least like a dozen and a half, that were referred to us by previous founders, by friends and family, just by looking around on various videographer platforms and things like that.

Then we eventually found one that was a really good fit. It makes a load of difference if you have a videographer that can actually help you with your scripting, as long as you have an idea of kind of what features, what kind of, I guess “chapters” you want in your video. He drafted up the script, and then it was honestly a back and forth for, I’d say like a month or so, in terms of really finalizing that script.

Then what was difficult is actually, so we worked closely with Enventys Partners, with your team, during the video creation process, as well as with some folks at Indiegogo actually. We got a lot of input from the folks at Indiegogo, at Enventys, at other previous founders. That’s kind of what caused a lot of churn, in a way, but it ended up being fantastic. We’re so happy we got all that input, because we came out with a video that we’re extraordinarily proud of, and we’ve gotten a lot of good reactions to.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. I mean, outside of the video, what do you think about all the other marketing efforts that we’ve combined to put together for this project? Where do you think you’ve seen the most ROI from that, for our listeners?

Glen Gunawan:

Yeah. I’d say for Indiegogo specifically, what’s really helped with us is support from the Indiegogo team themselves. What I love about Indiegogo is the fact that they support their founders so much. They’re willing to talk with us. They’re willing to engage us and give us input where we’re needed. I mean in the end they can only do so much. They’re still a neutral third party. They can’t really give us that much of a internal boost or what have you, but getting placement in the newsletters. Getting placement in trending, and some of the teams, just by applying some interest in those placements, has been tremendous for us.

Beyond that, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of digital ads. We talk about it all the time with the Enventys team. I’m sure you get a lot of that, Roy. It’s the only way to really keep your campaign alive, in a way, and even have a chance to stay in trending, to stay in anyone’s mind basically. We’ve had a ton of success there.

Another huge plus to our campaign has been reaching out to big email lists actually. For example, this is an unpaid for sponsorship, but BackerKit, for example, has been tremendous in the fact that they’ve been able to place us in their newsletter, and we’ve had a ton of conversions from there as well. At this stage, we’re kind of in the middle of the campaign, sort of saying, where things are a little bit slower. We’re focused on those two things basically, really trying to ramp up ads to keep sales coming, as well as trying to get published, or trying to get access to these newsletters.

Just because at this point we’ve been really hitting the Indiegogo audiences, just through our placements, and we’ve been hitting a lot of our friends and family networks at the same time. We need to really expand our target customer base. At this point the only scalable way to do it is really through a lot of ads, as well as through a lot of these placements with external email lists or what have you.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. In talking about the backers so far, what’s been your experience with them? How much feedback are you guys getting? Are they leading you guys down the path of new ideas or new product innovations?

Glen Gunawan:

Yes, quite a bit actually. A really interesting one that we actually didn’t really think of was someone mentioned it would be great if they could put it, if we could somehow make like a heater element attached to the Sonic Soak. There are a lot of difficulties in incorporating that kind of thing, and in the end it would be something that would need to be plugged in as well. It was a really interesting idea that someone, that a couple people had brought up, that we didn’t really think about. That was just tremendous input.

In a way, we found that a lot of our backers are like a free focus group, in a way. Because they’re so, I guess hyped and loyal and interested in the product and passionate, and they’re the kinds of people that are letting their imaginations run wild in terms of how they could use this. We’re receiving a lot of great input like that.

Another really interesting idea that we’re thinking about for our next rendition of this is trying to make it like completely wireless, and just having it attach to a battery pack or something like that. It’s something that we’ve thought about before, but there seems to be so much interest in it we’re putting a lot more resources onto that right now. Just a tremendous amount of feedback from our backers.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah. That’s interesting on the heating element. That’s like one of the campaigns we did in the past for Rinse Kit was basically an add on device to heat the water, so instead of taking a cold shower you get a nice warm one after you’re in the ocean. I’m sure that would be an interesting integration product for you guys in the future.

Glen Gunawan:

Yeah, definitely. I think I’ve seen that campaign. I go surfing. Not that often, but we always bring one of those portable showers, so that could be really cool.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah. Killer product. I’ll get you one Glen, just for being on the show.

Glen Gunawan:

Thank you for that.

Roy Morejon:

What’s been the biggest surprise so far with your Indiegogo campaign?

Glen Gunawan:

That’s a good question. This whole experience has been so new to us. I mean in a way everything’s kind of surprising. We were very surprised I guess at how engaged people could be in a product, in a way. We’ve launched a lot of traditional eCommerce products, like headphones, we do health and beauty as well. We’ve done some food products. We’ve never, ever seen this much engagement on a product.

It just feels like people are emailing us daily, people are like coming to our Facebook page and engaging us, trying to learn about the product. Trying to learn even about our history a little. I’ve never really had that with a traditional product launch. Most of the time people like make the purchase, and then you don’t really hear back from them unless they’re complaining about a return or trying to figure out an issue with the product, or have some questions about the setup or something like that. It’s been a new experience in that sense.

The second one is actually, this is a very good surprise. There is a lot of interest in distributors. There’s a lot of interest in media outreach as well, just cold. With us, for our traditional product launches, once we launch a product we have to kind of reach out to our distributors, maybe reach out to some traders and say like, “Hey, put this in your catalog.” What have you.

In this case we’re having a lot of international distributors, from Japan, from Australia, from Hong Kong, from Vietnam, Thailand. Literally at least a dozen countries with some very seriously interested distributors that are very open to working with us. That’s really great, because it gives access to these countries that we don’t really have a good network or infrastructure in, that we can partner with. We haven’t really had that with more traditional product launches either. Tremendously great surprise, but something that we’re quickly trying to adapt for and trying to figure out how to think about in terms of who we want to partner with and how we want to filter who we want to work with.

Roy Morejon:

Interesting. I know this’ll be a little self-serving, but you’ve been working with us at Enventys Partners for a while now Glen. I think it’s good to know in terms of, what were some of the considerations that you were looking at when choosing an agency to partner with?

Glen Gunawan:

Yeah. A big thing that we … I mean, to be honest, in the crowdfunding space there’s a lot of, I hate to use the word scam, because it sounds so bad, but there’s a lot of scams in both. Not only the products that sometimes get launched, as well as the marketing partners that are out there. There’s even during our campaign, I’m sure you get this from a lot of the clients you work with, but we get a lot of people coming in, “Hey, we’ll work with you. We’ll do your ads. We’ll do your media press. We’ll do XYZ, and all you need to do is pay this amount of service, or give this percent of the uplift.” What have you. To be honest, a lot of these firms just have like no traction. Their people aren’t super qualified. We can’t find anything about them.

What kind of made us move a little bit closer to Enventys Partners was because you guys are an actual company, with an actual history, with a very public profile out there, in a way. You can find a lot about Enventys on the web just by searching them. You can find a lot about their staff just by looking on LinkedIn and seeing that their staff has a strong, I don’t want to say corporate, but a strong professional background. We saw that basically Enventys Partners were actually qualified. Not just a one man, two man show, that had like a reputation or just had a couple strong referrals.

The other thing that Enventys Partners was great about is they worked with a ton of really great founders already. That they’re very open in terms of trying to get us to talk with them. Basically, we actually got to talk with these founders. Got their input in terms of, got their very transparent input in terms of what they liked, what they didn’t like. The other marketing partners we talked with, they kind of just trade off with us there.

We talked with all the major marketing partners that your audience might have heard of. Rainfactory, Funded Today, Enventys Partners, with LaunchBoom, Agency 2.0. Literally like at least a dozen agencies out there, between referrals. We found that Enventys Partners was probably the most, I’ll say put together, in the sense that they have the biggest company behind them and the most experience, not just in crowdfunding campaigns, but in traditional marketing consultants and as a digital marketing agency in general.

Whereas, a lot of these more crowdfunding specific ones, I see them, they’ve been around for three, four, five years. Funded Today or LaunchBoom for example, they haven’t been around for that long. They just kind of got started, only does crowdfunding. To me that’s kind of a red flag. We also do digital marketing for some clients, and we also have a lot of experience working with digital marketing companies.

In a way, a lot of what we’re doing is the same, and so it’s surprised … Then when you realize that, oh it’s better to work with someone who has just a lot of digital marketing experience than someone who just “specializes” in crowdfunding specifically. There’s no reason you should specialize in that kind of thing, basically. We saw Enventys had a little bit of both, and had a very streamlined operation, and we just kind of took the plunge and we’re all the more happy for it.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely, as are we man. What advice would you give to someone else looking to crowdfund their techie product like Sonic Soak?

Glen Gunawan:

Yeah. I would say the biggest thing is really, that’s a good question. There’s a lot of things I want to say. The biggest thing is just to really ask around for help for when you launch a product. In terms of the techie side, honestly there’s so much advice to give there. From a development and production standpoint, you need to make sure that, I would say that don’t go into crowdfunding at this stage nowadays. Don’t go into it expecting that they’re going to seed your company or seed your whole development.

It’s a little bit misguided in this space that I see, having talked to other founders and having seen kind of their turns and the flow of traffic to our campaign. The issue is it’s just very difficult to have, after you raise your campaign, to market your product effectively, plus have enough money left over to fulfill your backers and commit to the R&D process in this way.

In terms of production, I would say expect to put in a lot of your own or some investor capital in at the beginning to actually develop a product. I recommend trying to launch where you can get a lower end version of your product, like we did in a way, and slowly scaling up features and development and what have you in the US.

Now, there’s a high barrier of entry to doing this obviously, but I would say that’s where a lot of founders have found difficulty, even if they launch successfully and raise a lot of money. It just takes a lot of time and money to develop a product. Then after you crowdfund you don’t have a lot of large work with that.

The biggest thing I would still say is, during the marketing campaign itself, just ask around a lot of people in terms of how to do it properly. Basically the best practices. Whether it’s other founders, and you know, for us it was really as easy as just looking up on LinkedIn. We just looked up some company name, like we talked with the founder of Bluesmart, for example, the smart luggage travel suitcase company, or what have you. We just found them through our direct network, for example. We reached out to them, asked them, how should we do this? What is your story? What are some best practices?

Then we also talked with a bunch of marketing agencies. We just frankly asked them, hey, what are some tips that you can give? We might go with you. You say this a lot more politely, obviously, but we might work with you but we’d love to kind of hear your best practices and what an agency does for us. All these things. Then you’re quickly going to learn a lot about what the best practices are, and then it’s a matter of executing them. When you have a marketing partner, it helps tremendously, because they’ll be a fantastic sounding board who’s done this dozens and dozens of times.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. I mean, the crowdfunding community is truly a community where you can ask for advice and people are readily open to be able to give it, because they want to make sure that the community continues to thrive.

Glen Gunawan:

Yeah. It’s actually tremendous. I haven’t ever been in a community of founders that are so open about talking about their process, story, and being willing to be so helpful. I mean, I’m not a big fan of being overly competitive and kind of hiding everything, hiding your cards so close to your chest in a space where, especially when someone’s not really competing with you.

I feel like the crowdfunding community, we’ve had so much support from other founders, and even the marketing partners, in a way, we’ve talked with, even if we didn’t end up working with, were very open with being helpful and transparent and just actually supporting us, which has been something I’ve never really experienced. It feels like a cohort almost, of like, oh we’re peers, we’re in this together, which is extremely helpful.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. All right Glen, this gets us into our launch round, where I’m going to rapid fire a handful of questions at you. Are you good to go?

Glen Gunawan:

Yup. Let’s do it.

Roy Morejon:

What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

Glen Gunawan:

Well, when I worked corporate, I would say that I felt like I wasn’t really doing anything for myself, or for the world, in a way. As a consultant, you’re basically hired by clients to basically have some kind of effect on their bottom line. While it was kind of interesting work, I really didn’t feel like it was financially very rewarding for the hours I had to put in. Nor was it very satisfying. I wasn’t creating anything. I wasn’t affecting the world in any way. In a way, a lot of my friends felt the same, which is why we went on this path, and realized that hey, let’s go on this path of entrepreneurship. Let’s create something and let’s try to make more money.

Roy Morejon:

If you could grab a beer with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Glen Gunawan:

That’s a really good question actually. I mean, I’ve always been a big fan of Jeff Bezos, in a way. I don’t know if he qualifies as an entrepreneur now, but I would have loved to talk to him back in the mid 90’s. I mean, this guy quit his extraordinarily well paying job to work out of his garage in Seattle, which was not that great back then either, and pursued his dream of basically founding what Amazon is today.

I’d kind of love to hear, back in the 90’s the environment was so different versus now, but I’d love to kind of hear about his inspiration. I’d love to hear about what still drives him. What drove him back then and what drives him today, and kind of what he … I’d love to kind of hear his input as like basically one of the founding fathers of eCommerce, in terms of how he sees the outlook on eCommerce, on the internet economy and everything like that.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. I just got mail delivered, so he’s on the cover of Entrepreneur as the 50 most daring entrepreneurs of 2017. I think he classifies Glen.

Glen Gunawan:

Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. That’s great.

Roy Morejon:

What book would you recommend to our listeners?

Glen Gunawan:

What book? That’s a good question. I was always a big fan of Naked Economics. It’s not like a Rich Dad, Poor Dad kind of book, but it’s more like a … It was a book that I read when I was a little bit younger. It goes into economics in a very relatable way. I think a lot of entrepreneurs that I talk with have like a dream and have a lot of passion, but a lot of them don’t really understand economics in a way. In terms of pricing economics, in terms of implications of that, when you launch a product, when you price a product, and when you market a product. Kind of when you think about all these things and how they stick together.

There’s no one cure all book in terms of teaching how to know how to do everything, but I think a lot of people lack, I guess, the understanding of basic economics. Even for me, I often just forget, and I need kind of a recap here and there. I try to read as much as I can in general, but a lot of it nowadays, when you’re a little bit busy, is much more reading articles, analyst reports, things like that, to kind of still stay sharp

Roy Morejon:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Glen Gunawan:

Five years. Well, I’m pretty optimistic about the internet economy, in a way. I still see myself hopefully launching interesting and new and novel products in the US and internationally. What I’m hoping to do with a lot of the product lines that we’ve been developing, is to actually scale them to the point that we can immediately go to market with them through a bunch of distributors, or eCommerce partners in various countries. In the US I think we’d rather do it ourselves, just because it’s at a point where we could scale and we can capture a lot more margin in the US.

What I’m hoping to do within five years is to actually set up a much better infrastructure in the US, not only for Sonic Soak specifically, but for all the various products that we launch, and to have a system to go about it. I’d love to be kind of like Anker or something, just developing a lot of products and launching it all. Whether on Amazon or on traditional eCommerce channels. They’re even doing a, they just recently finished a Kickstarter as well. I’d love to be kind of in the midst of all of that.

Roy Morejon:

Nice. Last question Glen. What does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Glen Gunawan:

Future of crowdfunding. That’s a good question. I think that Kickstarter and Indiegogo, as the two biggest and oldest and well known players in the space, have an uphill battle. I think crowdfunding has gotten a really, really bad rep over the past four years. I know Kickstarter just released numbers that indicated 2016 wasn’t, there’s been a slight decline basically.

I think that’s because of, on one hand there’s a lot of pushback from a lot of people that are not familiar with Indiegogo or Kickstarter, not really understanding the implications of backing a product, in terms of getting returns or delayed timelines, things like that. A lot of people were feeling scammed, and that’s an uphill battle for Indiegogo and Kickstarter to fight that.

On the other hand, there’s this burgeoning market internationally of increased spending power, of increased interest and access to these, just more knowledge of the English language, more access to internet, things like that. There’s a lot of international. For example, for our product right now, for Sonic Soak, more than 50% of our sales are actually outside the US. I would say more than 30% are in what I would consider as more “developing” countries, where you wouldn’t traditionally launch. Yes, we have the Germany, Japan, Singapore, the UK’s of the world. We also see, like I said, Thailand. We also see Indonesia. We see like these smaller countries we wouldn’t have even thought about approaching.

I kind of see in the future this international marketing growing and growing. At the same time, Indiegogo and Kickstarter have their work cut out for them in terms of working with the right founders, developing a better model, in terms of attracting audiences more organically, so that alleviates a lot of the burden off the founders, in terms of cost. To really get more traction here in the US, where there’s just a poor reputation. While I’ve seen Indiegogo and Kickstarter get better, in terms of filtering their founders and their projects, I still see a lot of issues there as well that hasn’t been really resolved.

Even now we’re still dealing with customers on our Facebook page or what have you, saying, not even engaging about Sonic Soak specifically, but just saying like, “Indiegogo’s a scam.” Or they tried to back several products and none of them have gone to fruition and they’ve just taken their money. That’s something that is just going to have to, a PR issue that crowdfunding as a theme, or as a industry is just going to have to tackle.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. Day by day. Well Glen, this has been awesome. Please give our audience your pitch. Tell them what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they need to go buy a Sonic Soak on Indiegogo.

Glen Gunawan:

Yes. For all you listeners, please check us out at Indiegogo. You can just google us at Sonic Soak, or you can search for us on Indiegogo. You might find us in trending or hardware, if that’s kind of your category of interest. The Sonic Soak is the world’s most portable ultrasonic cleaner. As far as we’ve seen, we’re the only one that really does this very well. We use the most powerful sonic generator that money can buy. We would really love your support.

You can use this thing for cleaning literally anything, and I mean literally anything. I said hairbrushes and razors before. I’ll also say jewelry. I’ll also say, for you more industrial users, we’ve had a lot of fun testing it on rusting like car parts, as well as some gun parts as well. We can’t advertise that too heavily, just because of terms of use.

You can also use it to clean fruits as well, especially for me, what I use it for is a lot of blueberries, strawberries and what have you, which is just really impossible to clean by hand and clean thoroughly. You can learn about how nasty this stuff is and how Sonic Soak pulverizes all the germs and contaminants and all this different stuff right on our campaign page, where we’ll cite all this research and studies for you guys. Please support us on Indiegogo to bring this product to market and bring this product to the US for the first time ever.

Roy Morejon:

Well Glen, this has been awesome. Audience, thank you again for tuning in. Make sure to visit ArtoftheKickstart.com for all the show notes, a full transcript, links to everything we talked about today. Of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, the Gadget Flow and BackerKit. Glen, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Glen Gunawan:

Thank you for having me. I’m glad I ended up giving BackerKit that placement then.

Roy Morejon:

I know they will be too. Cheers.

Thanks for tuning in to 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, 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.