A spot of crowdfunding anyone?

As some of you know we applied to HAXLR8R in November, had several interviews in December and the first 2015 program started last week in Shenzhen, China. They had over 400 applications and had to whittle this number down to just 15 hardware devices. A lot of competition!

We got some great feedback, they loved the idea, they liked the team and they liked the traction they saw we were getting online. We’re now on over 4400 Twitter followers, which is pretty great for a six month old account, about a dozen people are signing up on our website each day and we haven’t really started any promotions yet. We’re hoping that lot of you guys are potential customers and not just hoping to win a free sim.

Now we know that not only is VR going to be huge in 2015 and the first affordable motion simulator that hits the market will be huge. Perhaps you know this too.

Sadly the guys at HAX were not quite as convinced, but they had a lot of applications and it seems we just missed out. They also had several re-applications that they rejected last summer, which were offered a place this time around, and the message we heard was to “keep working on the project” since they want to see it move forward. We’re still in touch with them.

Getting into the program would have been a huge shortcut and we’ve spent the holidays reassessing what we need to keep going. Some people have urged us to start an Indiegogo campaign and fund the project that way, but we think that would be a little premature.

Instead we’re thinking of heading to China anyway to prototype, recruit some more staff and begin looking at partnering factories. We may reapply to HAXLR8R for the summer program but this is yet to be decided, they give not only $100,000 for a 9% slice of equity, but provide mentoring and support. We’d like think that we can perhaps go it alone but we’re humble enough to know when a helping hand is a good thing.

Instead we’ve decided to try a small campaign with Seedrs, an equity crowdfunding site in the UK. We say ‘try’ because they vet every application, so it’s by no means guaranteed but we think we shouldn’t have a problem. This gives our friends, family and a few interested angel investors a route to show interest in the project, while keeping everything legal and easy to manage.

So we’re planning on trying to raise a small, quick round to take us forward to China and this also lets us show our neighbours at HAXLR8R something amazing if we decide to reapply. Nothing beats a pitch for a hardware device like being able to try it in person.

If our campaign is approved then there will a lot more information about the market and our strategy, plus you can ask private and public questions. You’ll also see a video of the team and be able to check our facebook/linkedin pages etc.

But like anything to do with investing money I urge everyone to do some proper research, and if you don’t understand something, don’t invest. Seedrs is a very transparent platform, and we picked them because they’re more concerned with protecting investors than entrepreneurs. Right now they’re limited to Europe but they’re also about to accept funding from the U.S., hopefully in time for our campaign.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in then head over to Seedrs to see what they’re about. If you sign up with our referral code : G5QBJMC8 you’ll also save 50% on any fees, instead of them going to us. It also lets them know that we have people interested in our project which might push our approval through a little quicker. We’ll be letting you know when the campaign is ready.

Even though you can put in as little at £10 be aware it might be years before you see a return on your money, and while we don’t anticipate any billion dollar acquisitions…. you never know 🙂 If you’re considering putting in a little more than that we’d like to hear from you, so we could plan a little better and hopefully keep the momentum going. Feel free to email us with any questions.

We think we’ve got a great project and we hope you do to. We’re still aiming to launch the Kickstarter this year and your name is still in the hat! Please remember to spread the word and feel free to forward our updates to anyone you think might be interested!

Mailchimp is pretty amazing

Update #3 was great because I could kind of tell what happened after I sent it.

44.9% of the recipients opened the mail (11% is average for games) and 7.4% clicked one of the links (1.6% is average) so they’re both great figures. 22 people went to the haxlr8r website and 44 people clicked the twitter link. I’m guessing some people didn’t have twitter accounts because if you search twitter for #feelthree and then ‘find’ in the page the word ‘China’ you only see 24 tweets…

4 bad addresses and one unsubscription… at least I know it works now 🙂

I posted a few threads on reddit too to try to get some more support which probably generated a few extra tweets since we also had 50 more people sign up. Google analytics is also amazing for figuring out where much of your traffic comes from and what they actually do on your site.

I also took the liberty of putting the signup form on the bottom of all the fixed pages since people might miss it… lets see if that helps.

No word from HAXLR8R yet, but they were interviewing today too (which might have been a nicer spot) but we were pretty busy…

Update #3 – We passed the first HAXLR8R selection test!

Shiny

Feel Three is still in the running for HAXLR8R…

Our pitch went well but the competition is fierce

Two of the founders spent an hour yesterday morning pitching to one of the HAXLR8R partners via Skype. It went well, but they have a hard job picking just 15 entries from nearly 400 applicants. At lot of the initial batch have already been rejected, so we cleared the first hurdle. We also asked you guys for your support on Twitter in the last update last week, and quite a few of you stepped up magnificently, but we’ve found out a lot of our mails ended up in spam boxes due to the unsubscribe link being broken. So we’ve moved over to MailChimp in the hope that Gmail, Hotmail and the rest won’t be so harsh. We’re now legal in every country and the unsubscribe button works perfectly.

So we’re asking again for your support, let the guys at HAXLR8R know that the FeelThree is on your shopping list for Kickstarter next year and we’ll show them that we have not only an amazing project but the backers to make their investment worthwhile. Once again, we’ll put your name into the raffle hat 50 more times if you help out before the end of November. Retweets also count so your followers also get to play!

So please spend 5 seconds letting twitter know about the project and pushing HAXLR8R to keep us in mind while they’re still interviewing and picking projects for the second round. This really makes a difference guys!

Link : #RT if you want to see the amazing #FeelThree VR motion sim get a second interview @HAXLR8R and get made in China ’15 j.mp/_FT

Remember that if we get in we’ll be blogging all about the experience, our progress and answering any questions, so this is a great resource if you’re thinking of applying to the program yourself in the future.

So if HAXLR8R doesn’t pick us is that the end of the project? Of course not, it would be a really great shortcut to the kickstarter and production but we’ve got plenty of other options to explore that we’re not able to share… yet.

We’re at 1800 followers on Twitter, email sign ups are still pouring in and the website get more traffic everyday. Something tells us that this is something you guys want.

As you’ve probably noticed we redesigned the base. It looks big but it’s actually the same width as the sphere, so it doesn’t take up any more space. It not only looks far cooler but means the part count is reduced since the four sides are essentially the same. It will probably be split too so it’s smaller to ship.

Thanks for your support guys and please spread the word!

Mark & the Team

@feelThree

Edit: Here’s a 30 second video of the feelThree in action

Feel Three Update #1

Hi,

Just a quick update on the state of the project for any of you guys that were wondering if the project was still happening, well it is! We didn’t want to send emails until we had set up an unsubscribe function set up, which actually happened a few weeks ago, and something good to say. So rest assured we’re still committed to restraining our updates to important stuff and you so desire, you can unsubscribe at any time. We still hope that won’t happen because you’ll miss out on being in the new improved raffle… read on…

With regard to the Kickstarter, we’re currently looking hard at the options and *may* have an important announcement in a couple of weeks…

Now, nothing is yet set in stone but we might be welcoming an associate professor of a European University to the team. He has a Phd in Robotics, which should be extremely handy, as well as coding and electronic engineering skills. We’re still working on the details but the signs look extremely positive, and he’s also been working on a motion simulator of his own.

Assuming we work out the details we’ll also be applying to HAXLR8R shortly, this is a hardware accelerator which runs in Shenzhen, China for 4 months early next year. 111 days of prototyping, coding, finding a factory to work with and designing for manufacture. In exchange for a small slice of equity this is a major shortcut through the process and allow us to hit the market about the same time as some are estimating for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift.

We have one major disadvantage compared to the type of other teams that will be applying, in that we can’t really demo a full size prototype, the tooling for a small run of panels is just too expensive. In the mean time we’re working on our scale model as well as a version of the design in Unity3D that you can walk around and see inside the Oculus Rift.

One major advantage we do have is you guys! We want the organisers of HAXLR8R see the buzz and excitement of people who want to support a new design of motion simulator that is not only a radical departure from what is already available, as well as being stylist, safe and most importantly, affordable. It’s not enough just to have a great product, you also need customers. If HAXLR8R see that there is a established base of potential customers we’re more likely to be selected.

So we’ve added a couple of extra ways for you to spread the news, a couple of single click buttons on the website where you get your twitter friends to also apply to the raffle and help people like our facebook page. For each of these buttons we’ll give you another 10 entries into the raffle each.

Now, it’s no use telling your friends about this when you want to win it yourself right? No problem, we’re now giving TWO simulators away, with the same terms as before.

Head over to the website and click the buttons at the bottom of the first page.

The last piece of cool news is that we received a message from a journalist wanting a demo so she could write an article in the New York Times Magazine! So help spread the word and maybe she’ll get her wish sometime next year!

Thanks

The Feel Three Team.

The decline of British industry

After I uploaded my RFQ (request for quote) to Alibaba I went to bed and woke up to 10 companies in China asking for more information and giving me quotes.

I email 11 British companies and 24 hours later one couldn’t ready my dwg files (the standard file type), and after receiving my pdf say ‘this isn’t a job for us’.
Another replied that ‘Tooling is going to astronomical.’ but quickly followed by ‘Were going to decline to quote, sorry’ after I email them back saying that I realise that.

The other nine companies are presumably so swamped by business the person who checks the email is out hammering panels :p

I haven’t given up on making them locally just yet, but the enthusiasm of the Chinese companies is quite a big contrast to the UK…

Incidentally if you know somewhere that can make the panels please get in touch.