Fly12 Cycling Accessory (Interview with Andrew Hagen)

February 19, 2015

Fly12 is a 1080p HD camera and 400 lumen front light in one compact and smart unit. Featuring a sleek minimalist design with a battery run-time of up to 10 hours on camera only mode or 6 hours with camera on and in flashing light mode, Fly12 can capture and store your ride in case anything happens. The name Fly12 is a combination of two sayings: “a fly on the wall” and the military term for in front of you, “your 12 o’clock”. It is watching out for your front while Fly6 has got your back!

Fly12 Cycling Accessory

 

We interviewed Andrew Hagen from the Cyclic team to learn about their product and their experience. Read below.

 

Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed! Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about YOU  

Kingsley Fiegert (CFO) & I (CEO) have been mates for nearly 20 years and in business together (property development) for around 12 years. We are both cyclists although Kingsley is more dedicated than me at it. We both have a strong entrepreneurial spirit!

cyclic team

 

Can you share with our readers a bit of the background of the people behind Fly12? What brought you together as a team?  

Kingsley and I started this project almost 3 years ago when Kingsley was cycling by himself one day. A couple of young men pulled up next to him and shot him with an elasticated slingshot at point blank range –right in the butt! This was the inspiration to create a device that watches your back so you can enjoy the ride ahead! Kingsley & I have been mates for nearly 20 years and in business together (property development) for around 12 years. We are both cyclists although Kingsley is more dedicated than me at it. When Kingsley told me about his incident and then the idea, I didn’t need any convincing. That was three years ago in March!

Congrats on a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign. It is a great result for you. Were you surprised by the response to your campaign?  

Yes and no. We knew we had a great product, we knew we had a healthy bunch of supporters via our existing product (Fly6), we have been through a successful Kickstarter campaign already so had some idea of what was coming so prepared well for it. We really had no idea we would be funded in 110 minutes or get nearly 1000 backers in the first day…that was a total (& pleasant) surprise!

You still have more than three weeks left for the campaign but have already reached over 190% of the funds you set out for – what will the extra funding mean to you as a team and to the product itself? 

Fly12 Cycling Accessory  features 1Having already Kickstarted Fly6, we are very aware of the costs to bring a product to life. By that I mean, tooled, prototyped, tested, reviewed, reiterated, refined, tested again, re-tooled, creating stock, managing warehousing & logistics, developing marketing material, maintaining patents, working with distributors and retailers. To manage all of that is no easy task financially speaking so the funds you get from Kickstarter are an amazing boost (read ‘Kick Start’) however they are rarely enough (unless your project is the Coolest Cooler) to actually do all the things you need to do for the business.

So for us, if we can build up more funds, it allows us to further develop ideas we have that we have not been able to implement due to lack of funds. Up until a few weeks ago, our company comprised of just Kingsley & I….we did everything. Now we are building up our staff so we can manage the business. Having bootstrapped the development for a number of years puts a terrible pressure on your family. Having 5 kids to boot does not make it any easier financially. As much as people think that the Kickstarter funds are ‘profit’, our experience tells us it gets sucked entirely into the business, making it stronger financially…but it is in no way looked at or treated as profit. Don’t forget we will have to pay tax on it too!

In terms of your successful campaign – what key strategy did you use that you believe had the most impact?  

Fly12 Cycling Accessory  featuresThat is the quintessential question we get asked. I don’t think there is a once sentence answer I could come up with that would be meaningful for people thinking of doing a campaign. When people ask I often say something like this: There are probably 10 or more essential things you need to do to have a successful campaign.

They can be but are not limited to: Making a video, understand your logistics/freight (costs, timing, duties and international issues), Keep pledges real (this is not about profit or margin), make sure you give samples to respected people before your campaign, have them provide feedback/reviews to use during the campaign, get a good PR agent, know what sales strategy you are going to pursue before working on your prices (direct or distribution), prove to backers that you are the real deal (show prototypes/stuff actually happening in the factory on your project), be realistic in your timeframes, be honest about your challenges (they happen to all of us), be clear in your offering and prepare (which in itself has a list of 30 things you should do in the 6 months before your launch your campaign).

Of that list of things, you probably need to do most of them very well to have a super successful campaign however if you get 5-6 of them nailed then you have every chance, subject to your offering being a great idea, of having a successful campaign. I believe that the most successful campaigns, have each item listed above thought through, prepared and executed and then some of them they really nail it!

What sort of challenges have you faced in bringing the product to the market?  

Wow…so many. Form factor was quite a challenge. We wanted Fly12 to look sleek, minimalistic, aerodynamic and cool. Our designers were awesome and spent a considerable (but very important) amount of time refining our thoughts and ideas (colours, textures, materials, form factor, etc) before working up the drawings. I can tell you this was frustrating at the time but I am so glad we took the time and did it correctly. That was the easy part…the challenge was manufacturing it in a way that was efficient from both a cost and factory floor process. Kingsley & I felt like the referees in an epic battle: the aesthetics (designers) vs the manufacturing efficiencies (Factory). Given it is a cycling device, weight & size were massive issues however I think we have managed to get the balance right!

What’s next? Can we expect another Fly project soon?  

We have a solid roadmap of product development however we need an extra 4 of me and 4 of Kingsley to deliver them! As such, we are focused on getting the products at hand right before moving onto the next one. I should say that our road map largely consists of better versions of Fly6 and Fly12 as funds, time & technology permit.

What have you learned from taking the crowdfunding route?  

That you can’t do it without the full support of your family. If you are married, do not do this without the full support of your wife/husband! A successful campaign draws very deeply from your time and any spare space in your head. Be prepared to immerse yourself in it for the duration of the campaign and then do it again for the ensuing 3-4 weeks….it does not stop at the end of the campaign! I feel very lucky to have the support of my family however, I don’t know what I would do without Kingsley to share the work load and bounce ideas of (about 1000 a day)….

What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur hoping to replicate your Kickstarter success?  

Share the load with a trusted friend and ideally business partner. Prepare for the campaign as if it is your only chance of success…don’t leave it to the last minute. We knew we were going to do this campaign over six months ago. We got our team on board back then and prepped them on what was needed (in general as you don’t know exactly). The most important thing we did in preparation was work on the script for the video with someone very talented…this helped us shape the campaign and offering.

1,338 backers to date and you are based in Perth, Australia – what is the start-up scene like there?  

As the most remote capital city in the world, you would think the answer would be ‘not much’ however our remote location (in the world) lends itself well for innovation and entrepreneurship. We often have to solve issues ourselves! In terms of start up scene I think it is pretty limited given our relatively small population base. I can tell you that the banks here are not prepared to work with us even tho we have a good track record and the limited and backward “help” offered from our Government to innovate is embarrassing given what I see happens overseas. The good thing is that it shows that none of those issues are road blocks…you just get on with it and find other ways to achieve the same goal.

What are your favourite apps right now?  

Kickstarter, Currency (converter app) and Skype

Anything you would like to add?  

We have a very international team for Cycliq. PR in San Francisco, Video & Marketing in South Carolina, Web design & branding in Sheffield, UK, electronics design in Hong Kong, warehousing in Delaware, US as well as Hong Kong, industrial design in Melbourne, Australia and manufacturing in China. We have to work weird hours to manage it all but we have found the best team that we can trust and know that they are all working towards the same goal…would not change them at all!

This post originally appeared on Hypi.st, and is re-published with permission.