When I first heard of the Pillow Talk, a wearable device that allows you to broadcast the sound of your heart to your loved one a pillow, I could not decide whether it was crazy, genius, or somewhere in between. But after talking with Joanna Montgomery, founder of the Little rebellion, the company’s product, then it is clear that a trip to startup a little crazy.
Five years after the concept went viral a few investors, almost bankrupt and several unsuccessful industrial partners later, the unit finally launching on Kickstarter.
Little riot crowd Fund seeks to £ 75,000, to bring the socks on the market since the early backers of receivers in May next year. The product itself consists of a strap in combination with the mobile application that monitors your heart beat and flows remotely on a tiny speaker that can be placed under the pillow of the recipient.
“It was originally intended for couples in long distance relationships,” Montgomery says to me. “People who are like I was at university, young, in love, their boyfriend or girlfriend. It is still the main target market / user demographics, but we also see great interest to military families with young children, or people in their 30s who travel a lot. “
asked to come up with a new product idea for the exhibition of the University in the summer of 2010, just a few years after the iPhone was launched, Montgomery said that she was struck by how much depends on interaction design began to press buttons or swiping touchscreens. And somewhere along the way the excitement of interactivity were lost.
I made more progress this year than I did in the previous four combined
This led to her thinking of ways to bridge the gap between how people interact digitally, and when they are physically in the same room, in particular, in connection with the long-distance communication, where something like a video call, Skype may feel unnatural and contrived compared to just being in someone’s presence.
“I find it strange that we just accept technology like that,” she says. “It’s totally different to actually be with someone and do not fit into our lives.”
Video Pillow Talk of its concept went viral saw almost 50,000 people registered their interest, showing that there is a pent-up demand for alternative ways to connect remotely to your loved one. “This is what still keeps me at night,” Montgomery said, although she never planned to start a company, noting that the launch of Kool aid has been in short supply in the recession-hit 2010
How to spread the word, Montgomery won £ 25,000 in the UK government grant to build the first prototype, which led to another prototype, and then another. Then, in the summer of 2012, little rebellion raised seed funding from VC based in Newcastle, UK, to help turn the idea into a full-fledged start, and I hope to bring the device to market.
, but it is difficult to do the hardware, and making some important changes in products, such as ring ditches on the basis of the detection pulse for something wrist basis, for Christmas 2013, and for unknown reasons, investors pulled out.
This left the launch of a convertible debt that his venture was called at the time, bringing a small riot on the verge of bankruptcy and making it almost impossible to raise additional funding. He also had a negative impact on their own finances and the health of Montgomery. And, of course, the product was arrested again, perhaps indefinitely.
“The hardest part is” doing a startup hardware “that people are always asking, what took so long,” Montgomery said. “Well, that does not work, and now we have to re-invest the time and money to have another go. We can not just make another version of the code. Another issue is that there is no MVP for equipment companies such as Apple, which create beautiful products with a beautiful user experience sent a ship sailing for us. “
I knew that if I did not go on, I would just regret ever
Finally, in late 2014 are unlikely hero came to the rescue as a corporate lawyer and accelerator. In particular, little is used in a riot in Telefónica Wayra Academy and was accepted to the program. That’s where the legal head Wayra Stuart Griffin, “saved my company,” says Montgomery, helping to neutralize the rogue investor startup, though they remain a minority shareholder.
“I have made more progress this year than I did in the previous four combined, only because they pushed me and challenged me,” she says Wayra. A little rebellion now has Jonathan Rad-Frizman (CEO of Cano), and Aza Raskin (VP at Jawbone) as advisers.
But after such a hot time and a huge sacrifice, why not just throw in the towel Montgomery? “I do not know if I’m honest,” she says. “Part of it is that actually I just need to see it through, and I knew that if I did not go on, I would just regret it someday. I carry it in me like this overwhelming sense of purpose that I need to follow through on. “
“But basically, every time the thought of giving up ever crossed your mind, another email landed in my inbox from someone asking if they could buy it! And you can opt out of this ? I read that startups fail because nobody wants their product … and that, of course, was not a problem for us. “
You can support the project on Kickstarter here.