Jan 25, 2016 • 18M

#353: How These Dads Created A Reading Robot From The $61k Raised On Kickstarter

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Some of the world's great changemakers join host Devin Thorpe to share leadership lessons you can use to increase your impact.
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Read the full GoodCrowdinfo article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/1ZNi2XK. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher. Chris Harden and Jeremy Scheinberg created Trobo, a robot that is an educational toy focused on teaching young children STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). They successfully raised $61,000 on Kickstarter. Here’s how they did it. Chris explains, “We got started at an event in November 2014 called ‘Startup Weekend.’ It’s a 3 day weekend where you pitch a brand hew business idea, form teams, and create as much of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as you can. You also go out to a market place and get feedback, specifically to determine whether people would buy and how much they would pay.” The biggest challenge, Chris explains, was to actually do what they’d promised with finite resources. Our biggest challenge to overcome how to turn a $61K Kickstarter into what is now roughly a $240K+ investment. The physical product, the marketing, the patent, and definitely the application cost a lot more than $61K dollars (which is even less after Amazon and Kickstarter’s cut). We were fortunate enough to get a Phase 1 SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation for developing the product and trying find a fit for it in the Education space. We interviewed 40 administrations and 60 Educators which ended up improving our approach to the product as well as helping us vet that market. We also invested personal funds as needed. Ultimately, Chris attributes their success to luck–and the media. We have been lucky with TROBO. The dolls, our STEM for Very Early Education concept, and our story has been compelling enough that we have been graced with loads of exposure from like-minded publications such as USA Today, Tech Crunch, People, Xploration Station, and Popular Science (who gave us Best of Toy Fair 2015). This kind of PR is extremely helpful to a startup, because all of our money has gone to executing on the product and infrastructure. We didn’t have money for Marketing. So the exposure has brought in others who have helped us along the way, whether it be investing in our Kickstarter, connecting us with significant influencers, or just sharing the word on social media. All of that has helped us build a core audience of loyal early adopters that we rely on heavily even now for sharing announcements and growing word of mouth. Read the full GoodCrowdinfo article and watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/1ZNi2XK. Please consider whether a friend or colleague might benefit from this piece and, if so, share it.