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12 November 2012 No comments

Kickstarting, Crowdfunding, Etc.

Curiosities Art & Design
Kickstarting, Crowdfunding, Etc.

A new Kickstarter project - "The Flashy" - a lightning-powered recumbent e-bike, with built in crash bars.

As we have noted on these pages before, with the help of Web 2.0 it's never been easier to get in on the Venture Capitalism game. This holds equally for those who seek investors as much as those seeking to invest.

Online Crowdfunding is based around the entirely reasonable proposition that it's easier to get ten thousand people to give you a pound each than one person shouldering the entire sum.

Frequently, a single person will also tend to rather unhelpfully want his ten grand back, but with Crowdfunding, a thank you note to all your "investors" generally seems to do the trick.

We have talked often and at length elsewhere on the Blog about punctures. Kickstarter recently hosted someone with a revolutionary new plan to consign flat tyres to the distant past. And he was only looking for a grand to make it happen! Of course, this doesn't sound like a lot of money to put the entire Inner Tube Industry out of business, and probably explains why he ended up getting $3600.

(Rumours that Schwalbe and Continental had jointly put out a lucrative "puncture with extreme prejudice" contract on the inventor were found to be utterly without foundation.)

Anyway, as you can see on his donor's page, the idea of running Solids comes to us from the man who also invented BMX, Mountain Biking and internal hub gearing. Well, he was "at the forefront", he says.

Contrail came up on our Facebook radar last year. Its developers wanted ten thousand dollars to develop a vessel that could be attached to a bike, its neck ideally pointing downwards.

Said vessel would have at some earlier point been filled with a potion of powdered chalk and water, the idea being to leave a coloured chalk powder trail in your wake, thereby distracting cyclists from everything else happening around them on the streets.

Alternatively the chalk lines might be interpreted as a form of bike advocacy, and the Contrail thus viewed as a bike advocacy tool, which the company's owners desired to give away free to NGO's.

Anyway, they got their money. The website says "We’re working on our final production prototype tonight. Pictures in a week."

The bulletin is not dated, though.

Lovin' From the Oven's Lisaruth is seeking forty two hundred dollars to take her "utopian agenda" to the next level. Lisaruth bakes bread, and also teaches others this primordial skill at various locations.

A keen cyclist, she recently hit upon the idea of carrying by bike everything she needed for a class, such as mixing bowls, flour, and so on.

Panniers had been working up to a point, but Lisaruth envisioned a bike trailer that could be stood up on its side upon arrival, to also function as a display unit or work surface.

The trailer, it turns out, has already been built by artist Max Chen. So what's the fuss?

"While I offer the skills and recipe in the spirit of free, and my two builders probably would have also done the work for free, I sincerely feel that craftspeople and artists should be compensated for their creativity and labor."

Of course Max deserves to be paid for his efforts, and Lisa as we see has already put her money where her mouth is. Now it's just up to the rest of us to do the same!

Lisaruth doesn't rule out a possible mobile oven getting integrated into this, or some other, prototype trailer in the future. At any rate it seems that fortunately, most people like good bread enough to pay for it, or at least to fund the construction of a trailer that will bring it to them, and her maiden Kickstarter foray looks well on the way to success.

Regular readers may remember that we looked recently at one's current options in the crowded bike light market. In a few weeks' time that market is going to get a little more crowded. Barry Burr has been trying of late to get his "Barry Beam" project off the drawing board.

It seems that in October the idea attracted only minimal interest on Kickstarter, but with winter drawing ever closer, his second attempt at funding has overhit its target with a fortnight to spare!

Barry has developed a rechargeable LED bike light, but unlike other rechargeable LED bike lights, the Barry Beam provides "depth perception" in the dark. As we say, enough investors have already Seen the Light, as it were, but he probably won't turn down extra investment between now and Thanksgiving.

Aside from sundry bicycle related film projects and coffee table books, it's good to see that there's also room on Crowdfunding sites for the old fashioned prophet-screaming-in-the-desert-style business proposal.

We've seen bicycles elsewhere designed for propulsion by an arguable overkill of four limbs, or even an underkill of mere gravity, but the Stepper is an old style two-legged affair. The legs in question, however, pump up and down as opposed to round-and-round. All other things being equal, riding a Stepper is allegedly less calorific, and also faster over identical stretches of terrain than a conventional round-and-round bike.

So why did their Kickstarter campaign ultimately fall somewhat short of its target of fifteen thousand dollars?

It used to be the way, at least, that bank managers with common sense tended to quickly scan a business plan for its absence of key words and phrases like "Angels", "Dream", "Visionary", "Not A Fly By Night Operation".

Who knows? Maybe potential Crowdfunding partners do the same.