Seva Mouler and the team behind the Solar Wallet set out to take an object most people use everyday – the wallet – and update it for the 21st century. Tune in to learn more about how to design a product and launch it on Kickstarter.

World’s 1st smart wallet with solar + USB charge & tracking

Key Crowdfunding Takeaways

  • How to use choose the best features for your product
  • How to decide if Kickstarter is the right choice for your product
  • Why Facebook Ads are so critical to a Kickstarter projects’ success
  • Why it’s important to really understand the Kickstarter platform before you launch
  • How to get design feedback before you launch on Kickstarter

Links

Connect with Solar Wallet

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!

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

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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 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 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 buyers 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 Seva Mouler with the Solar Wallet. Seva, thank you so much for joining us.

Seva Mouler:

Thanks for having me, Roy.

Roy Morejon:

You have created the world’s first smart wallet with USB and solar charge. Tell us, where did this all begin? What’s the backstory here?

Seva Mouler:

Well, about a year ago I was in China and I was completely shocked by how many people had battery banks in their hands walking around. Just about everybody just had a huge power bank in their hands walking around, to the bars, on a taxi, wherever, and I realized that time is going to come soon. What’s happening now is as phones become more capable, obviously, processors become more efficient, but the … Basically, kind of how Moore’s Law works is, the gist of it I would say is the phones and the devices are getting thinner, but the progress of the battery is just not keeping up with that. It’s a huge problem.

Obviously, energy’s a huge problem, so people are going to start carrying around, just like China now, a bunch of batteries, a bunch of external batteries, which a lot of people are already, but I don’t think that the US has caught up just yet. I realized that hey, what’s a way to kind of integrate having a battery, but not taking up any of your personal space? What do we have every day we can’t … We don’t want to put anything else extra in our pockets so I had a buddy that was doing wallets at the time and I realized that could be a great match of getting a wallet and making sure it’s still slim and integrating a power bank into it.

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, I mean, impressive design. Real slim, real beautiful in terms of something that people aren’t going to not want to carry in their back pocket especially. I know the campaign’s been covered by a bunch of top sites like Engadget, Men’s Health, Trend Hunter. You guys have gotten over 85,000 in revenue right now. Over 700 backers in the campaign. When you were thinking or at least creating the Solar Wallet, what did that process look like? I mean, how did you go about deciding what features to include and the designs that would resonate with your target audience?

Seva Mouler:

Well, the main thing we wanted to do is to keep a beautiful wallet. We wanted to make sure the wallet is just as premium as about any wallet you see in terms of like if you’re going to a high-end wallet with, whether it’s Prada, Gucci, whatever it is, but make sure it’s slim. Obviously, a lot of those wallets, we went on multiple shopping days to a bunch of malls and just trying to check out many, many different designs of wallets and seeing which we liked best. Just making sure it’s slim, but it still carried your essentials. A lot of wallets are too slim where you kind of have to compromise, like okay, I’m not going to bring this card with me today or I’m not going to bring this with me today. We wanted to kind of have all in one.

Roy Morejon:

Certainly think you’ve accommodated that and certainly the crowd has spoken with the demand on the product itself. We always ask this question in terms of first time crowdfunding creators. How did you decide or why did you decide to launch on Kickstarter?

Seva Mouler:

Honestly, I have a finance background. I graduated college really with a finance background and I worked in finance. I absolutely hated it and then a few of my friends, they were in Kickstarter since kind of the beginning of Kickstarter and I just spoke with them. They kind of gave me their background of what they’ve been doing and I figured, you know, I really want to try something like this and I learned a lot from them and just gave it a shot. I spent a good chunk of my time trying to just understand how they manufacture and I read a lot online and just like with any new skill, just spend a lot of time researching. Try to find somebody that can help you and ask a lot of questions.

Roy Morejon:

Outside of your personal connections, what were some of the resources you used in terms of preparing for the crowdfunding campaign?

Seva Mouler:

Honestly, I definitely listened to this podcast along with just nonstop Google searches until 4:00 a.m. in terms of how to find a manufacturer, how to get a good manufacturer, how to get samples, how to not get ripped off and just a bunch of books as well. Actually, there’s a book by like a game’s creator that isn’t really geared towards games. It’s just kind of geared toward creators in general in Kickstarter and just kept reading a lot of books. Reading a lot of articles online and stuff like that.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. With all the marketing efforts that you’ve put forth into this project, where have you seen the biggest return thus far?

Seva Mouler:

Definitely Facebook ads. Definitely Facebook ads.

Roy Morejon:

Tell me a little bit about your experience with your backers so far. I know you’ve got a few hundred backers. Have they been giving you much feedback and how have you been taking their feedback into consideration into potential new product offerings, colors, styles, sizes, etcetera?

Seva Mouler:

Yes, it’s actually interesting. We, about a week ago, we reached out to a tracking company called Tracker and a lot of people are asking about stretch goals, which we personally, we want to keep the SKUs low because the more we offer a different color, for example, we have to add at least three different skews because we’re integrating our cables into the battery. It’s a completely custom design, which allows it to be so slim. The moment we add a different color, for example, it’s three extra skews and the more skews, obviously, the more risk you have in delivering and delays, etcetera. With this tracking company, we are actually considering integrating just Bluetooth tracking and crowdsource GPS. There’s a few ways we can integrate it and that’s actually something that’s going to come up. We’re going to get a poll from our backers.

There’s one way we can integrate it actually into the battery. A different way we can integrate is just have one of their standalone solutions that they are building right now and it just be kind of like a credit card that you would put in to one of our pockets. Both have their pluses and minuses. One, you can ring your phone from this card and you can ring, actually, you can ring your wallet also from your phone, from the app if you have that standalone solution, but if we integrated into the battery, the issue is that we’re only going to have GPS tracking.

Roy Morejon:

Impressive. Yeah, reaching out to another crowdfunded technology. What’s been the biggest thing that you’ve learned through the whole process of launching this Kickstarter campaign?

Seva Mouler:

The biggest thing I’ve learned through launching is patience is a virtue. You have to really be okay with, for example, you launch a product, I think everybody has great, high aspirations, but you have to understand that kind of how the market works, how you can test, and honestly, just Kickstarter as a platform. Obviously, it’s very curated, but there’s a lot of things that aren’t. They’re not flexible, like you can’t really remove rewards. You can’t do a lot of things that limit the way that you can present your offering. You can’t really A/B test and we did a lot of pre-launch work where we were able to A/B test, for example, pricing and stuff like that. You can’t really do that.

No matter how much you’d work on pre-launch, until you have an actual product for sale, that pre-launch data, for example, when you’re price testing, it’s not a hundred percent accurate because you don’t have that product. People aren’t actually buying that product and now, it’s just you kind of have to be okay with hey, you know what? Kickstart is giving me a great opportunity. You’re getting a lot of organic traffic from Kickstarter as well as whatever other promotions you’re doing and you have to be okay with the limitations that the platform gives you.

Roy Morejon:

Absolutely. What advice would you give to someone else looking to Kickstart their wallet?

Seva Mouler:

I would say try to get as much design feedback as possible and once you have narrowed, let’s say two, three different designs, go and try to sell it. Just go outside, literally, go outside [into 00:09:49] Union Square, wherever you live and just be like hey, would you buy this product? How much would you buy it for? Just ask a lot of any random people. That’s really how the best way you can get a feel for the market or you can set up a landing page and kind of start getting a little bit of pre-orders and stuff like that, which is also definitely a possibility, but you have to pay for traffic to get to that landing page.

Roy Morejon:

I think that is awesome advice. I think everybody needs to get outside, first and foremost, and step away from the computer, but certainly getting that critical feedback on the product itself and really engaging potential customers. Get that feedback. What would they like? What features are they looking for? Is this a new innovation that’s even interesting to them? Solid advice there, man. Where are you headed next when the project ends?

Seva Mouler:

I’m going to China. Actually, we already have manufacturers locked in, but we’re going to go again just to make sure that we actually … We’re always trying to optimize. That’s the number one thing you want to do with, I think, any e-commerce website, any e-commerce product is, any way you can optimize, do it. You never know. Just like one store offers a product for $5.00 and a store across the street offers it for $4.00 and it’s even better quality or the expiration dates, you know, it’s farther out or something like that. There’s so many different manufacturers, especially for wallets, because everybody has a wallet. Even females have wallets and you need to explore your options because the most expensive did not always mean highest quality and vice versa.

Roy Morejon:

Well said. Seva, this gets us into our launch round where I’m going to rapid fire a few questions at you. You good to go?

Seva Mouler:

Absolutely.

Roy Morejon:

What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?

Seva Mouler:

Going to college and working for a finance company and realizing how much I don’t like working nine to five for somebody else.

Roy Morejon:

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

Seva Mouler:

Tim Ferriss.

Roy Morejon:

Awesome. What would you ask Tim?

Seva Mouler:

I would say he has an amazing history of just tracking his body and stuff. He made kind of like a name for himself from tracking everything from his body. Taking his glucose, whatever it is. It’s kind of its own little entrepreneurship in of itself and I’d just say what kind of gave him the idea to do that at such a young age?

Roy Morejon:

Yeah, Tim’s a huge fan of one of our other clients, the ChiliPad, in terms of the sleep technology so we love Tim from the [show 00:12:22]. Who did you look up to when you were growing up?

Seva Mouler:

I’d say my father. He’s also an entrepreneur and he works very hard every single day. Yeah.

Roy Morejon:

What was the last book that you read?

Seva Mouler:

Book, I would recommend just about anybody, even if they’re not entrepreneur or e-commerce, it’s called A Hundred Principles of Neuromarketing, or something like that. I try to read audible, audio books, as much as I can. Just wake up and read. It’s called Brainfluence, basically it’s a hundred neuromarketing techniques. It kind of gives you a quick overview of so many things that you already know about how people think and stuff like that, but it gives you science to back it and a few other great ideas that you’re like, wow. It’s definitely a book I’d recommend to everybody.

Roy Morejon:

Oh, I just bought it off Amazon. Can’t wait to read it. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Seva Mouler:

In five years, we want to keep producing great things. Keep producing products that people use on a daily basis and anybody can use, but I think I really want to get in to integrating software or something with software. I think software, it already is the future, it is what it is now, but I think it just, it’s the future, at least for me and it’s just that’s what the world is going to be surrounded by.

Roy Morejon:

Speaking about the future, last question in the launch round, what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Seva Mouler:

The future of crowdfunding or as you see, [Indiegogo 00:13:53] just implemented the equity crowdfunding. I think that’s already huge and it’s just going to get bigger. It’s just going to get bigger. A lot of people talk about there’s going to be soon no actual salary for people. Everybody has a baseline salary, I forget what it’s called, the term. I think something like that is going to happen soon.

Roy Morejon:

Interesting. Seva, you’ve been great. Please give our audience your pitch. Tell them what you’re all about and where people should go and why they should go buy a Solar Wallet.

Seva Mouler:

Well, the most frequently carried devices every single day, your phone and wallet and your phone obviously has evolved persistently over the past years. Your wallet stayed the same. It’s gotten a little slimmer, but with the technologies that we’re integrating and keeping it slim and tracking your wallet and obviously, being able to charge your devices on the go, I think it’s a huge breakthrough to make sure that while you have all those features, you’re not really taking up any of your personal space. You can go to L-U-C-C-A B-O-Z-Z-I dot com, Lucca Bozzi, and you’ll see a link to our Kickstarter page and thank you very much.

Roy Morejon:

Seva, you’ve been awesome. Audience, thanks again for tuning in. Make sure to visit ArtoftheKickstart.com for all the show notes, the full transcript, links to everything we talked about today and, of course, thank you again to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, the Gadget Flow and BackerKit. Seva, thank you so much for being on Art of the Kickstart.

Seva Mouler:

Thanks, Roy.

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 guide to crushing it. If you love this episode, leave us a review at ArtoftheKickstart.com/iTunes. It helps more inventors and entrepreneurs find a 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 EnventysPartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in, we’ll see you soon.