How Supermechanical raised $550000 for a new wireless device — without VCs or …

January 28, 2014

supermech-sm.jpgThe biggest bump, Kestner says, came in December, when Kickstarter featured the project at the top of an e-mail newsletter. “We got $70,000 in pledges the day that went out,” he says. (In the photo, Carr is on the left and Kestner on the right.)

Running the Kickstarter campaign involved answering “thousands of e-mails” about how the product would work, Kestner says. But after 42 days on the crowd-funding site, the Twine project had raised $550,000. (That sum placed it among the five most-successful fundraising campaigns Kickstarter has seen, he says.) Combined with pre-orders placed through Supermechanical’s Web site, Kestner says they’ll be making more than 5000 Twine devices in their first run.

“We’re not absolutely locked down on our contract manufacturer,” Kestner says. “We’ve found some competitive pricing in the U.S., and on our tight schedule, we need to get it right the first time. I think it’ll probably be made in the U.S.”

After avoiding the VC and angel route to getting a company off the ground, Supermechanical’s founders suddenly find themselves fielding calls from venture capitalists in Boston and beyond. “We’re flattered,” says Kestner. “We’re trying to figure out if, when, and how much we’ll need. It’s tough when you’re doing hardware and you need to have inventory. It takes capital to build a lot of stuff.”

The start-up’s future projects will involve “objects that take the best of the physical world, and overlay the digital world onto them.” One research project from the Media Lab was the Proverbial Wallet, which could grow or shrink inside based on how much money you had in your bank account, or become harder to open when your monthly budget was getting low.

The company is still mostly virtual, but they’re using incubator space at the Boston Globe (’s parent) part-time.

Originally posted 2012-02-01 07:37:30.

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