Necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes inspiration for a new project can come from the most mundane moments or inconvenient experiences. For Daniel Haarburger, getting stopped on a dark night by the Stanford Campus Police for having a faulty bike light ignited the spark for his latest Kickstarter project, The Handleband.
The Handleband is a universal bike mount that turns your phone into a navigation tool, ride-tracker, camera, and light. Although there are bike smart phone mounts already on the market, most are expensive, complicated to install, have too many spare parts and don’t allow for multiple uses. Don’t let the Handleband’s simple and robust design fool you…this little gadget can hold your smart phone, headlight or pump and can be installed or removed in an instant. Oh, it’s also a bottle opener…what’s utility without a little fun? So far, the Handleband has secured 2,354 (and counting) backers with over $86,000 pledged through Kickstarter. If you’re like us and can’t wait to get your hands on your own Handleband, it’s not too late to support Daniel’s Kickstarter campaign, ending this Wednesday night, July 10th.
Daniel is a third-year engineering student at Stanford and is using Impact Hub Boulder as a workspace over the summer. On his second kickstarter project, and with his crowdfunding success with the Handleband, clearly this young entrepreneur is doing something right. We spoke with Daniel to learn more about his drive to create and what has gone into the creation of the Handleband.
Tell us about conception of the Handleband…did the idea come to you in a flash of inspiration, or was it a result of a longer conversation/thought process?
“I was pulled over on Stanford Campus last year because my bike light had run out of batteries. Instead of giving me a ticket, the police suggested I use my phone’s built in light when I’m in a bind. That made me ask why don’t we use our tech with our bikes more often, which sparked the invention of the Handleband.”
Who did you collaborate with on the design and how many prototypes did you go through before landing on the current product?
“I went through 30+ unique full prototypes, and several iterations of the individual elements independently. The design changes were inspired by my own testing, collaborating with Stanford advisors (e.g. Bill Burnett who heads up the Stanford D. School), and testing with my own colleagues (who inspired the bottle opener design).”
What is the biggest challenge you’ve encountered in the process of creating the Handleband that you hadn’t expected? What did you learn?
“The biggest challenge was trying to rise above the Kickstarter noise. The crowdfunding ecosystem has become increasingly popular, and as such it’s increasingly challenging to get people to pay attention to you. This lesson reinforced the importance of being highly personalized in the outreach you do, and focusing more on relationships than coverage when you try to do outreach.”
As a young innovator and entrepreneur, what would you say to someone who is on the edge of pursuing their first entrepreneurial venture?
“Realizing your ideas is not just for the rich, famous, and experienced. Now more than ever before, everyday individuals can have a huge impact on society. Take a leap of faith, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what comes of it.”
What brought you to Impact Hub Boulder? What is your favorite part of this community?
“‘I’ve been anxiously waiting for a workspace in Boulder like the HUB. I started brainstorming with Greg (Berry) about two years ago about creating the space on Pearl Street – just by throwing some couches and long tables in an open office space. When I came back from Stanford this year, I was happily surprised to see that Greg (and the Hub team) had taken that early brainstorming to a whole new level. Now I am an enthusiastic, and proud Hubber :)”
Daniel’s recent success with the Handleband isn’t holding him back from dreaming up his next project. With his experience in the crowdfunding world, he has identified a need for advice on how to launch a successful campaign. Daniel is working to develop a platform to aggregate crowdfunding advice, resources, and services. He is looking for collaborators who have advice on how to run a crowdfunding campaign, offers services that could help crowdfunders, or knows of good project creation resources. If you want to work with Daniel on his newest project, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.