Crowdfunding Spotlight: Phone Drone by xCraftNovember 24, 2015
We love drones and all the possibilities that come with this new trend in tech. That’s why we instantly fell in love with xCraft’s Phone Drone design. Like the Arc upgrades your listening experience with customizable light rings, touch controls and more, the Phone Drone upgrades your smartphone and turns it into a never before seen flying device.
The ingenuity behind Phone Drone is staggering and we want to learn more. So we chatted with founder JD Claridge about coming up with the idea, pitching to the Sharks and more.
Wearhaus: How did you come up with the idea?
JD Claridge: It all started as we were working on designs for our first product, the X PlusOne. We realized that most of the electronic components needed for a drone are already incorporated into the smartphone you have in your pocket. We leveraged this concept and created PhoneDrone Ethos. Now your smartphone is the core of this revolutionary drone, allowing you to capture incredible aerial imagery right to your device.
What parts of your smartphone does the Phone Drone take advantage off?
PhoneDrone uses the Processing power, the GPS, and the camera from your smartphone. The Phone’s accelerometer, gyro, and compass are used as a backup to the primary sensors in PhoneDrone, creating a fail-safe design that will get your phone home safely in the event of a sensor failure.
You are crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Why did you decide to crowdfund?
Crowdfunding offers so many incredible advantages over tradition VC funding or business loans. The primary advantage is that we get to involve the community in development. We gain a perspective from our future customers that is invaluable. We have already taken much of the feedback received from the Kickstarter community and incorporated it into the design of the product.
How many renditions did you go through in the prototype process?
Many. At least half a dozen variants of the concept. All of them flying prototypes. We know that there are many other drone projects out there with questionable practices when it comes to presenting the capabilities of their product. We are quite transparent in where we are with design and manufacturing. The product is functional and the concept is sound. It’s now just a matter of refining the components for manufacture and implementing the assembly process.
What is the biggest manufacturing challenge you have run in to?
The biggest challenge has been the cultural barriers in the communication with Asian suppliers. They just run business differently. It’s not wrong, just different. We have had to adapt to the way that business is run in China. We have been able to turn out a very high quality product in a short amount of time so we are confident we can do it again with PhoneDrone.
How has being on Shark Tank made your process more unique?
It has most certainly given us a head start. There is no doubt that the 10 million+ viewers of the show have helped us make the campaign a success. That being said, it was not easy getting to that point. To be selected to be on the show, we had to prove that we were more than just one cool product. We had to demonstrate that xCraft is a viable company with a big future in this exploding market.
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