Startland News is continuing its segment to highlight area entrepreneurs’ efforts to accelerate their businesses. This is an opportunity for entrepreneurs — like Hidden Abilities co-founders Payden and Jamee Miller — to share their stories to gain a little help from their supporters. Back Hidden Abilities’ product here.
Who are you?
Jamee Miller and Miller, co-founders of Hidden Abilities
What does Hidden Abilities do?
We create high-tech learning tools for people with learning disabilities. Our product is the Read ‘n Style pen, which scans text and reads it aloud through Bluetooth earbuds for on-the-go students who have trouble getting through their classwork because of their reading speed.
How much do you hope to raise?
We are asking for $40,000 so we can make our first production run.
What do you plan to use the funds for?
The money will be used to cover the one-time development costs needed to produce the first unit, as well as the variable costs needed to manufacture each unit that is ordered through the campaign. For fixed costs, we will be using the capital raised for FCC certification testing, an injection mold to create the housing, transportation for our input material, a software development kit for the text-to-speech voice engine and product liability insurance.
For variable costs, we’ll need to cover the cost of supplies and machine time for our first production run. This includes expenses like printed circuit board assemblies, injection molded housings, royalty payments for the text-to-speech engine, earbuds, packaging and of course taxes.
How are you differentiating your campaign?
We’re launching our campaign in October, which is National Dyslexia Awareness Month. We hope to use it to both capitalize on a larger national news trend, to help the cause gain traction and to build awareness for dyslexia.
Is there anything quirky with your campaign?
We originally planned to launch a Kickstarter campaign, but about two months out we were contacted by the manager of design and technology outreach at Indiegogo saying he saw what we were doing, thought it would go over well and wanted us to consider switching platforms. We had a follow-up phone call a few days later and they offered to help us with our campaign if we made the switch, so we did and they have been a tremendous help.
Hidden Abilities is a member company in the Univeristy of Kansas catalyst program, which is KU’s student business incubator. They have provided us with mentorship, office space and many other things to help us get off the ground. They also put us in touch with “The Agency” which is KU’s student lead public relations agency and they are helping us on our campaign as well.
Any advice on crowdfunding campaigns?
Start early and build a large, highly targeted email list by offering to give a randomly selected winner the core product for free. Good photography, videography, graphic design, and copywriting is a must and be sure to highlight the benefits rather than the features. Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.