product development, Crowdfunding, ecommerce
The Path to Smarter, Safer Cooking
After a frightening experience accidentally leaving the stove on while not at home, Inirv cofounders Ranjith Babu and Akshita Iyer saw a need for a device that would let you control your stove from your smartphone, helping to protect you and your loved ones from the devastating effects of house fires. Once they began developing the product, they quickly realized their device could also fulfill a need for an easier way to turn a stove into a smart cooking device.
Initially, the Inirv team reached out to a local design firm to help create a prototype. During this time, they decided to use crowdfunding as a means for launching their product and raising funds to manufacture it, so they approached Enventys Partners for Kickstarter marketing help. However, they soon discovered that their prototypes were lacking in some areas, so they also engaged Enventys Partners’ product development team to assist with prototype refinement.
Refining the Product and Bringing it to Market
The product development team at Enventys Partners had the challenge of giving the Inirv React a new look in a smaller package that could be launched on Kickstarter and at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2017.
The design team began by studying the kitchen environment, as well as trends in the Internet of Things (IoT) marketplace. They drove the conceptual development of the project and gave the sensor and motor units a new, iconic style. Simultaneously, the engineering team set out to reduce the diameter and the height of the unit. They reviewed the existing CAD files and found solutions to shrink the drive train while still delivering the torque required to turn the stove knobs. The electronics team immediately started breadboarding the circuit with Cypress Bluetooth Low Energy development modules and began working on the code to read the sensors, control the Bluetooth communication and drive the motors and LEDs.
The design and engineering team used CAD software to design the shells and drivetrain that housed the internals while maintaining the new aesthetic, then 3D-printed parts were created and assembled in the shop. Eventually, the functional prototype was ready for a Kickstarter launch and for demonstrations at CES.
In simpler terms, the Inirv team and the Enventys Partners team worked hard to bring Inirv React to life in time for CES, creating a product with a combination of sensors and electronics that enabled it to not only detect high levels of smoke, natural gas and lack of motion in the kitchen, but also react and turn the stove off to keep the house and its occupants safe.
After CES, the development team continued to refine the engineering and design to be manufacturer-ready. Ultimately, they brought a new generation prototype to life that had better compatibility, IoT connectivity and a fully-functioning app to control the device.
Once the product development team had a solid prototype in place, the crowdfunding team began to prepare for a Kickstarter campaign and a launch in time for CES. A pre-launch landing page was created ahead of the Kickstarter launch in order to generate interest in the product and gather leads. The landing page offered interested parties an opportunity to win an Inirv React of their own simply by entering their email address. Those who entered their email address were informed once the campaign went live so that they could back the project and become a part of bringing the product to life. This landing page was promoted through a combination of organic social media, Facebook Ads, press outreach and more. Simultaneously, the crowdfunding team’s content marketers got to work writing copy and designing the entire campaign page.
Because Inirv launched the day before CES and also had an interactive booth at the event, the crowdfunding team worked with Inirv to create press strategies, distribute press releases and coordinate their time at CES to maximize efforts and help boost their Kickstarter campaign. These efforts helped them reach their Kickstarter goal while at CES.
Once the Kickstarter project launched, Enventys Partners’ crowdfunding team continued to manage the campaign, running Facebook Ads, sending out updates, managing social media, coordinating cross promotions and more. Because Inirv was a completely in-house client, the crowdfunding team was able to communicate directly with the engineers and not only relay customer feedback, but also brainstorm ideas for stretch goals, significantly reducing the turnaround time on execution to continually boost the momentum of the campaign. As a result, the team implemented stretch goals such as Alexa integration, dynamic position-sensitive stove knobs and a Google Home integration, all within the time of the Kickstarter campaign.
Other marketing tactics, such as a Kickstarter Livestream, also supplemented these efforts in order to bring the campaign maximum exposure, and thus, maximum funding.
After the Kickstarter campaign ended, Inirv continued to refine their prototypes and prepare for manufacturing in order to fulfill orders placed by Kickstarter backers. Because of this, they knew they would not be ready to open a full ecommerce store for some time, but they did not want to lose the momentum they had built up during the Kickstarter campaign. They enlisted the help of Enventys Partners’ ecommerce marketing team to build, host and maintain a website that would allow them to continue marketing the product and offer the option for interested buyers to reserve units when they became available for retail purchase.
Launching at CES, Raising over $175,000 and a Shark Tank Appearance
Inirv began to see results from the work Enventys Partners completed almost immediately. At CES, the high-tech, well-designed device caught the eye of several major companies in the industry, as well as many venture capitalists.
Additionally, Inirv’s Kickstarter campaign hit its $40,000 funding goal before CES was over, and the project ended on February 15, 2017 with over $175,000 raised.
Inirv’s social media presence grew significantly before and during the Kickstarter campaign as well. When Enventys Partners began managing the Inirv Facebook page, it had 15 Likes, and by the end of the Kickstarter campaign it had 1,188 Likes. Similarly, Twitter began with 15 followers and ended with 270 followers.
Furthermore, the Kickstarter campaign garnered significant press coverage from outlets including The Verge, CNET, Engadget, Forbes, Digital Trends, MSN and more.
Within a year of launching, Inirv also made an appearance on ABC’s hit series Shark Tank.
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