Long-time readers will recall one of my favorite series, The Song Of The Power Squid, a six-parter by inventor Chris Hawker. Written at the cusp of the hardware startup revolution, the story was part cautionary tale and part adventure as Hawker and his team tried to bring the Power Squid, a multi-armed extension cord, to market.
Hawker is back with his latest clever invention and rather than selling it to a distributor he’s doing it all himself. The product, called the Quickey, is basically an all-in-one utility key with a little saw, bottle opener, scraper, screwdriver, and knife that lets you do things around the house.
His company, Trident Design usually licenses their products to manufacturers who then produce them under their own brands. Instead of going that route, however, Hawker and his team decided to appeal to the gods of crowdfunding.
“Quickey was a simple product to get back out there and make something ourselves. We’ve been watching crowdfunding with great interest,” he said. “It’s fun to make your own stuff.”
The campaign is fairly simple – he’s asking for $4,000 and has hit $10,000 so far – and he basically took some pictures of the product in action and shot a fun, informational video. It is, in a way, a platonic ideal of a crowdfunding campaign.
Why did he pick Indiegogo? Hawker had an interesting answer.
“A lot of our stuff isn’t very designer-y,” he said, suggesting that Kickstarter focused on high-design objects. “Our things aren’t always cool-looking but they’re very useful.”
The Quickey is $6 and he’s already sold 500 to backers and has orders for thousands more from companies wanting to offer them as promotional items. It’s an interesting move for a design house that has always focused on inventing for other people and, more importantly, it looks like it’s one sharp, useful thing that the TSA probably won’t confiscate.