How Being Quirky can Get Your Tech Startup Funding: Learn from Shota Ishiwatari

written by Ivan Widjaya on December 19, 2012 in Funding and Ideas with no comments

I love to visit crowdfunding site Kickstarter… for many reasons. To name a few, I like to know what inventors, artists and entrepreneurs are up to these days; knowing what interest people to back a particular project; getting some ideas for me to predict trends and try to use them to kickstart a mini project myself in the world I am familiar with – websites and web tools.

unique startup

On Kickstarter, I usually hang around visiting technology projects, simply because I have keen interest in everything-tech. Other than tech projects, I also interested in design and games projects.

Now, I usually get “whoa!” “wow!” “huh?” “um, no…” when visiting project after project. But this particular project caught my eye: Not because it’s cool-cool; but it’s because the project is weird-cool.

I’m not endorsing the Tokyo, Japan-based futuristic gadget creator Shota Ishiwatari, but for some reasons his cute-slash-cutting-edge projects caught my eyes… at least two of his projects fall into my “quirky” category.

Well, let’s see how you respond to this description of his project codenamed “Tailly“:

“Tailly is a wearable wagging tail which reacts to the user’s heart rate. When you wear Tailly, you’ll radiate cuteness and happiness!”

Wait. But, ah… well. What? Are you seeking funding to launch a product which consists of a wearable high-tech tail to the market? A wagging tail which responds to your heart rate? A robotic tail that wags when you are happy?

I mean – wow. When I think that there is a lack of originality in the products I see nowadays, some people keep on surprising me. Shota is one of those people that grabs me by my collar and “force” me to read through his “Tailly” project description and visit his company’s website, KILUCK. I even visited Tailly’s Facebook page and follow Tailly’s Twitter account!

Here’s Tailly video pitch:

As I dwell deeper into Shota’s KILUCK website, I learn that “shippo” is a similar product as “Tailly” – the difference? “shippo” reacts to brainwave whereas “Tailly” responds to heart rate. Cutting-edge! I also learn that “Tailly” is launched as an accompanying product which has successfully launched to the retail market: “necomimi” – it’s a neuro-communication gadget in a form of ears, incorporating brainwave to “move”the ears according to your emotional state. Wow.

Here’s necomimi video pitch (note that the YouTube video has 3 million views!)

Don’t get me wrong; I in fact fave Shota’s projects. Not that I will buy the ears and tails and wear them on public places, but I am immensely intrigued by the tech behind Shota’s creation, as well as the marketability of his creations.

And at least 100+ “Tailly” Kickstarter project backers agree with me: The project was launched on November 30th, 2012 and will end on January 6th, 2013. So far it has received more than GBP 8,000 in funding – still a long way to go to the GBP 60,000 goal.

I don’t know whether this project will eventually funded or not, but what I’m sure is whether it reaches its funding goal or not, Shota will launch the project somehow and it will find success, just like its “necomimi” and “shippo” predecessors. The market is there, at least in Japan.

Visit Tailly Kickstarter project page

Takeaway

While many entrepreneurs and innovators try to make existing things better often by solving age-old problems, some entrepreneurs are taking the niche path, developing and launching projects that has never seen before.

I respect what Shota is doing; he inspires me to turn my ideas into reality – no matter how quirky it is… I will, in fact, launch a quirky project in 2013 – thanks to Shota!

So, what do you think? Will you launch a project as quirky as Tailly? Are you willing to take the leap of faith to launch “different” products to the market? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment on this post.