iDoorCam, From Ideation to Finished Product | Founders Interview with Andrew Thomas and Desiree Mejia
IndieGoGo has help crowdfund thousands of successful campaigns. One of the more popular campaigns as of now is the new iDoorCam. iDoorCam simply is a doorbell with a camera. As simple is it may sound, the little device is one incredible tech device. The device gives homeowners the ability to see whoever is at their door (day or night) and alert them directly to their mobile phone. The iDoorCam reached its goal within a matter of days, but the campaign is still up for early bird grabs. TechZulu catches up with both co-founders, Andrew Thomas and Desiree Mejia, and they talk to us about the iDoorCam, the IndieGoGo campaign, and crowdfunding.
TechZulu: What is the origin of the iDoorCam?
Desiree Mejia: I travel a lot. I sometimes feel disconnected from my house because of the time I spend away from home. I was curious on who would stop by my house when I am not home. I wanted to be able to see who stops by and what goes on around my home. With all the available technology smartphones have enabled us to do, we thought of the idea of the iDoorCam. A device helping me and others see who is at my door no matter where I am in the world.
Andrew Thomas: The “i” in iDoorCam is an identifier to our entire market. This is a wireless device based off the internet. It is the latest product in the digital lifestyle segment.
As of now, the iDoorCam only has an app available for the iOS. You guys have specified that an Android version is currently in the works. Why have you chosen the iOS platform before the Android platform?
AT: The iOS platform was a great place to start to get our app going. And as you said we are developing for the Android devices as well.
DM: Also, Andrew and I have made apps before. We are a little more proficient with the iOS and it is easier for us to identify and fix any of the bugs within the app. So, the Android app will be a little more robust when it comes out.
AT: We describe it as a “smart” doorbell that replaces your current doorbell. The iDoorCam uses the same wiring as the current doorbell it is replacing. Once the device is installed, sync it through the app and you are ready to go. Whenever a person comes up to the door and “rings the doorbell”, you can either answer or ignore the call. If you do answer the doorbell, you can hear, speak, and listen through the iDoorCam.
How is the design process been going so far?
AT: The device has a brushed aluminum finish. It is actually a hardened plastic with a UV coating. The device was designed to be simple and clean from the beginning. We wanted it to still look like a regular doorbell, to some degree. We didn’t want it to stand out too much. We went with things like plastic, so the device won’t rust and there will be no wi-fi interference with the iDoorCam.
What are the specifications of the camera?
AT: We like the specifications of the camera. The resolution output is at 640×480 and the camera will be able to rotate and pivot, letting the user get the best view of the person at the door. We are also designing the app to allow photo capture and video capture.
How is the campaign going so far at IndieGoGo? How hard (or easy) was it for you to reach your goal?
DM: I think it is going very, very well. We have a great validation from 38 countries and a huge number of backers around the world. It will also help us fine tune our message when we move to a bigger launch.
AT: Reaching our goal in a couple of days has been really flattering and overwhelming in the support for our product. To see our product was a great solution to a problem for people around the world. It took a lot of effort to setup a campaign and create a product that was compelling. It means a lot to us that people agree and support our product.
DM: I think the IndieGoGo backers have been very vocal about our product. It has helped develop our app in ways we haven’t thought possible.
AT: We have been really pleased on how the campaign has gone so far and we hope that it continues. We hope people continue to support our vision and our product. Again, we developed this to make life easier. One of the cool things about IndieGoGo is that we do get all this feedback. So we are finding so many different ways on how people want to use this product and different types of customers that want to use it.
Our hope is that people continue sharing our vision. We hope people keep going to our IndieGoGo campaign and keep funding our project. And we hope to take as many orders and gain as much support as we can. We are grateful for all the backers and for those who are just excited about the product that share our campaign through social media. We are still going to be pushing the IndieGoGo campaign and keep executing and trying to get our product delivered as soon as possible. We want to create a great product, so we just need to continue to execute and keep our eye out on finished product.
Why set the goal at $100,000?
DM: It was a realistic threshold. The goal is going to allow us to get into production and deliver these units. We set the goal not low enough for us to reach the goal easily, but it was high enough to validate our product.
Say hypothetically, what would have happened if you guys didn’t reach your goal?
AT: We were confident that we were going to reach our goal with our product. We never saw the iDoorCam failing from the start. We believed it was going to be a well-received product and went head-on with the campaign.
DM: Yes, we never saw our campaign failing. We just kept looking forward and see what needed to be adjusted, if ever. We never doubted our inner selves.
AT: I would say the next step for us is to keep continuing our execution. We never missed a beat. Since the beginning of the IndieGoGo campaign, we have received such great feedback and questions about our product. Getting the app through and continuing to develop the software and get it closer to launch. We have our eyes on the target, which is keep going and continuing the development of our product.
DM: Right now, it is all about the delivery for us.
How about some advice to those who are thinking of starting a crowdfunding campaign?
DM: Your customers make your company. Knowing what your customers want will help grow and build your company. Making sure you can deliver what you promise.
AT: Desiree really hit the nail on the head. If I were to add anything to that is, the customer is what the product built. Desiree had a great vision and we worked hard together to make it come to life. We just sought out to make a great device that just does what is intended to do. iDoorCam is built to help people answer their doors. They will be able to see who is at their door at anytime and anywhere in the world. We identified the customers we wanted to appeal to and crafted a message that we would want to hear if we were on the customer’s side. We wanted customers to be a part of the history of creating the iDoorCam. We think that was part of the reason our campaign did so well.
Any advice on starting a new business?
DM: Best advice I have ever been given is keep believing on what you are doing and keeping your eye on the endgame. You got to be your own biggest fan. It’s a lot of hard work.
AT: Absolutely, it is a lot of hard work! Look where you want to go and being true to yourself and to your product. We have gotten so much great feedback from so many different people at different phases of this project. We have incorporated some of it and at the same time we sat down and made sure we can design the iDoorCam to become the best it can be and stuck to that principle. Stick to your guns and know where you want to go. Work hard to get there.
What were the most difficult of times?
DM: I enjoy the challenge of setting up a new project. In between the times of getting the project from concept to fruition is you won’t know what the obstacles are until you start doing it.
AT: There has been a lot of hard work, but the hard part was to keep working hard. Leaving no stone unturned by continuing to develop, continuing to create ideas, and working on the app and hardware by having the continuous drive to keep working.
Then let’s hear about your happiest moments.
DM: I am really proud of the work we have done on the IndieGoGo campaign. I think that has been a great validator and it was exciting to see all the people who have responded with their comments.
AT: I feel the exact way. I am very proud of what we were able to do as far as developing the product of the usage case. Creating a campaign where people were responding well was a very nice thing to retain. Seeing that affirmation from the public is the best part.
What is your view on the future of crowdfunding?
DM: I think crowdfunding is an awesome way for people to get exposure to a larger audience than they would through a traditional financing deal. I think it is still continuing to grow, because people have so many great ideas and you can test the market without really giving up any equity.
The additional benefit of crowdfunding is you are getting something from the money you put in. You become an early adopter and can give a lot more feedback to the creators of the campaign. It’s very exciting.
AT: The IndieGoGo campaigns and other crowdfunding sites give early validation. Hence the feedback and what you learn in a short amount of time is very valuable. Learning who is responding to your product and who are the types of people that have questions about the campaign. Sometimes in a traditional sense, it’s hard to get real feedback like that real quickly. For us, I think it has been very valuable and it has been a nice benefit in addition to the support and contribution to spend the information we have gathered directly from our customers. I would say that is what people should look into when crowdfunding besides all the pre-order or other perks that come with the product.
Thanks Desiree and Andrew for your time.
Check out the IndieGoGo page here.