Bohorquez hopes Skulpt could become one of the 10 most successful startups on the Indiegogo crowdfunding site. It has already won pledges for more than $200,000, twice its goal. "We still have about 25 days in the campaign, and these campaigns typically have a big surge at the end."
In a sign of the power of social networking, the startup has sold about 1,500 of its consumer devices at $130 each, even though the design is not yet complete. What's more, the design won a prestigious innovation award, gaining it entry to an exclusive event at the Consumer Electronics Show in January next to giants such as Samsung. "It's a new day when a little startup like us can be playing with major corporations."
He hopes to follow in the footsteps of Misfit Wearables, which snagged about $850,000 for its fitness device on Indiegogo. The success helped Misfit land a $15 million series B round of venture financing. So far, it has sold hundreds of thousands of units.
"If we get to $300,00-400,000" on the Indiegogo campaign, "we will be pretty successful and have a lot of opportunities," Bohorquez said. "Crowdfunding validates the market opportunity, and that sets us up for [VC] fundraising." He is already setting up meetings with potential investors at CES and beyond.
The Aim device will ship in January. "One of the great things about crowdfunding is it lets you see who are your customers and get feedback early in the process, so by the time you launch, you have something developed and tuned for a target audience."
He offered a few words of advice about crowdfunding. "It's not something you can wing. You have to study what those before you have done. We planned for this for months." Indiegogo supplies advice, but "ultimately you have to drive your own traffic [to the campaign] any way you can."
The better-known Kickstarter site has an approval process for campaigns and "has shied away from fitness technology," Bohorquez said. Indiegogo is "less stringent" with no pre-approval process, but he still recommends that users have discussions with the site's staff before launching a project.