Watcher enterprises, the company behind Kidswatcher, raised € 185.000 on December 1st. They raised the money in one of the fastest crowdfunding campaigns ever. The money will be used for bringing a first series of their watch to the market. “We have about 12.000 people on our waiting list who expressed interest in the watch” told founder Erik Recter at a startup bootcamp press event. With the extra money, these people should get the watch next year.
Watcher enterprise is one of the companies accepted into Amsterdam Startup accelerator Startupbootcamp. They are part of the ‘NFC and contactless’ class, that consists of startups that you use some sort of wireless technology. Unlike the other startups in the program, Kidswatcher already has a large team of 8 people and has an office not in the accelerator but merely very close to it. The team includes an industrial designer, hardware engineer, a graphics developer and software developers for the website. This team composition already shows that making a hardware product is more difficult than just a software service. Besides a larger team also more funding is needed, which is why the startup has already raised funding during the Startupbootcamp period. It is likely that Kidswatcher will seek more investment after the Startupbootcamp demo day on January 17th, since most startupbootcamp companies raise funding after demo day.
The Kidswatcher watch is aimed at children from 3-12 that are too young to have a phone. With the watch the parents can call the children, the children can call three pre-programmed numbers, and most importantly, parents can locate their children. The watch uses a combination of techniques for localization, including Wifi so that it will also work indoors. At the press event, several 3D printed design dummies were already on show, but the team is still working on the first actual prototypes. The parent apps have already been released and are available for download for iPhone and Android.
Founder Erik Recter was inspired to create the watch after he had lost track of his niece. “I lost sight of her when she was playing outside. Luckily she turned up later and nothing bad had occurred, but while she was gone I was truly distressed. The Kidswatcher should help in these situations”.
The funding was raised on platform Symbid, an equity based crowdfunding platform. All investors will join a corporation that will be a direct shareholder in Watcher enterprises. The investors will not get a watch but share in the value growth and dividends of the company, so it is truly a financial investment. The advantage of Symbid is that it had a low start amount of € 20,-. “Symbid makes it possible for all friends and family members that wanted to invest in us, to invest small amounts” according to graphics and user experience designer Dave Clark.
The campaign opened on Friday 29th and closed on Sunday afternoon December 1st, making it the fastest campaign on Symbid so far. The campaign goal was € 180.000, but one of the transactions was not processed properly, so an additional € 5000,- euro was raised by accident. The money was raised by a total of 38 investors, so the average investment was almost € 5000,-. A high amount for Symbid, but a low amount for investing in a hardware startup.
Disclosure note: The author’s investment fund (Otterloo Ventures) is one of the investors in the Symbid campaign of Watcher enterprises.