This month Israel-based crowdfund MindBlower announced MindBlower Marketplace, a pre-sale channel for inventors to take their ideas from concept to market. Its leadership, which includes “original Mad Man” George Lois and publicity veteran Roberta Greene, uses algorithms to predict the success of projects and manages each stage of the product lifecycle. It is in its pre-seed funding round with Palo Alto-based NFX Guild.
MindBlower founder and CEO Carmit Turgeman spoke to Red Herring about her own experiences, including the invention of the successful Travalo perfume atomizer, and why inventors need crowdfunds that know what they need besides money.
Was there a single moment or realization that provided the first inspiration for Mindblower?
It wasn’t a single moment – it was several actually. Once I succeeded in building, marketing and selling my own invention, Travalo, I knew I was confident enough to do this for others. I recognized that any inventor has to go through the same nine steps to bring their product to the market successfully: idea, register patents, pricing, prototype, first client, manufacture, branding, and sales. I developed an expertise and wanted to use this experience to help other inventors.
When I saw Kickstarter and Indiegogo and other crowdfunding platforms join the market, I understood that the consumer market is going to change and I recommended to inventors to utilize the platforms. But the inventors would come back to me and tell me that their crowdfunding campaigns still required too much work, even if they raised enough money.
I saw many people who had good product ideas but didn’t know how to take it past that first rendering or draft phase. I created MindBlower to be the home for these inventors and products. We are taking consumer goods to a new level.
What do you make of the efficacy of Kickstarter, IndieGogo and other crowdfunds for inventors?
Inventors need to have lots of resources to even launch a campaign on these platforms, not to mention a successful one.
The goal of Kickstarter is just to raise money, and no one takes any responsibility for outcome, whereas in MindBlower when a product or campaign reaches its goal, it’s just the beginning-not the end. Our consumers will definitely get the product or their money back.
How does MindBlower specifically target the needs of inventors?
There are so many aspects to taking a product successfully to market and most designers and inventors are not equipped to handle them or they don’t want to. They want to focus on being inventors and designers. MindBlower benefits them in this regard by leading them and their invention through the product lifecycle.
We minimize the time commitment and stress inventors usually have to go through on other crowdfunding platforms. We also use a special algorithm to predict future consumer trends, so we only select products that will have a true demand in the market. This also prevents inventions from getting lost among a wide selection of products, like on IndieGogo or Kickstarter.
The largest benefit MindBlower brings to our inventors is ease of funding, as we invest in all of the products on our platform. This allows our inventors to focus on the product and its lifecycle versus fundraising and fulfilling orders. This is also one of the biggest benefits to our consumers.
We provide a money-back guarantee, so if a consumer funds and pre-orders a product and the product doesn’t come to market for some reason, they get their money back. No other crowdfunding platform has been able to provide consumers this safety net so they don’t have to risk losing their money.
An example of our process would be with one of our upcoming products, SeedPod. Aaron Colfer, the inventor, studied at the Queens Laboratory and developed the SeedPod to save and preserve seeds. He designed a great product, but he realized that he couldn’t sell it properly. He pitched to us and we fell in love with the product and its goal to protect seeds from extinction.
Our algorithm showed us that this product is needed and the sustainability market is growing. Aaron will receive royalties, and now he’s relaxing as we continue with the next stages of R&D, product development and marketing.
How did you get Roberta and George on the project, and how will they help?
I got to know them when I working on my own product. I knew George as the original “Mad Man” and I had a dream to work with him for my Travalo product. I approached him and we began to work together on it. I got to know Roberta as I was working on Travalo as well. She is brilliant in PR, so I wanted to have her on my team.
When I was creating MindBlower it was natural for me to approach them and they were on board. They have helped immensely with marketing strategy, naming products and getting Mindblower off the ground.