Matthew Judkins Executive MBA 2008
Crowdfunding Success For World’s Thinnest International Charger
Matthew Judkins (Executive MBA 2008) and his team at Made in Mind have already achieved great success with their original folding plug, winning awards in the UK and US for their excellent design. Now their latest product is also on track to be an instant hit. So we got in touch with Matt to talk about The Mu, crowdfunding and the advantages of real-time feedback.
You have already achieved great success with your folding plug, and it looks like your new product will also be an instant hit too. Why did you decide to go down the crowd funding route instead of more traditional avenues of funding?
Releasing a product on a crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo is a fantastic way to engage an early adopter audience, which helps us obtain detailed insights into the product concept from our core audience in advance of production. It’s the ultimate market research tool that enables you to test pricing, product features and messaging in advance of a hard retail/distribution launch. And also a highly efficient model from a cash flow perspective, as essentially customers are paying for a product in advance of manufacture.
From a strategic perspective, creating a sequenced launch – from concept discussion with prospective consumers to then launch and hone the concept on a crowd platform – allows for an easier route into mainstream retail and distribution, as market demand has been demonstrated. We’ve found specifically with the Mu System that retailers are now actively reaching out to us rather than the other way around.
Tell me a bit about ‘The Mu System’, why should people invest?
The Mu System is the international evolution of the original award-winning Mu Folding Plug. Backing us on Indiegogo helps accelerate a UK innovation, born out of the campuses in London’s Kensington, launch onto a global stage.
Backers will be the first to receive the Mu System when produced while also benefiting from a very special early backers price.
The Mu system Indiegogo campaign has now closed, but you can still read about their campaign here: Mu System – World’s Thinnest International Charger
You managed to attract over 3000 investors and smashed your investment target by over 1300% – you must be delighted with the response, did you ever imagine it would be so popular?
Know exactly who your first 1,000 customers will be – by name – before launching a campaign Success on any crowdfunding platform is highly dependent upon the amount of pre-launch preparation. Generally, companies aim to reach 30% of their target within one day of launch in order to have a better chance of overall success – we surpassed our entire funding goal within an hour!
For us day one of the campaign was solely about engaging our existing fan base. We actually only considered it a ‘soft launch’. Day two onwards focused on amplifying that success into a new audience for us and maintaining momentum with these new fans for the remainder of the campaign. We were delighted with the results. It worked out rather well!
I see you received comments from investors with suggestions for having two UBS ports on the product, which you are looking into – do you think that crowdfunding builds a relationship/loyalty with your customers?
One of the biggest opportunities for a business during a crowdfunding campaign is to take advantage of the high level of engagement with backers. By their nature, people who back on Indiegogo and similar platforms are tech savvy, highly vocal and engaged. They will tell you what they think and what they would like to see with the current product and the product pipeline that will follow it. In our instance we were asked for two colour options and added charging functionality. In response we’ll release the product in both black and white, and we will include a 2-port charging option.
We’ve also just announced that we include a Qualcomm® Quick Charge version of the Mu System after showcasing our product last week with Qualcomm® at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We will also be adding this new fast-charge technology to our existing Mu Classic products.
What would your top tips be to other start-ups looking for investment via crowd funding?
Engage an audience early and know exactly who your first 1,000 customers will be – by name – before launching a campaign. Aim to fund with your first 1,000 quickly and then use that momentum to engage another 1,000+ customers.
What advice would you give to other budding entrepreneurs?
We’ve crowdfunded a product on a pre-sale basis via Indiegogo. We have also raised funds via an equity crowdfunding platform (On Syndicate Room). The more targeted and focused the planning effort is prior to launching either of these funding options, the more successful a campaign will be.
Unfortunately, there are many examples of great products and businesses that have placed themselves on crowd platforms and failed. In most cases this is a result of insufficient planning and lack of pre-launch engagement.
What’s next for Made in Mind?
We want our products to be included in the box with mobile handset and electronics manufacturers. Conversations are underway with the largest global brands in the industry right now. Let’s see!
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