Founder interviews, pre-release product design, hand crafted inventions.
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Interview with BleepBleeps Founder Tom Evans

Techmog is a liquid network of engineers, programmers, designers and entrepreneurs in and around London who report on the industry we work in, from an insider's view. We're always looking for Londoners with something interesting to say. Send an email to info@techmog.com if you would like to contribute to the website.

Peter Bailey

Freelance Wordpress Developer in London (peabay.xyz) @peabay
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Check out: Meet Skute

What are BleepBleeps?

BleepBleeps are a family of little friends that make parenting easier.

Cute, connected devices that help you get pregnant, give birth, look after your baby and raise your child. Each device connects to the BleepBleeps app to give you access to simple tools, guidance and content to make parenting easier. Each of the BleepBleeps characters has a name, a personality, and a story. And they each make a unique bleep bleep sound when activated, hence the name BleepBleeps!

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What’s your background?

My background is in creative agencies. I founded a digital agency called Mook in 1999 and have always worked in brand, design, comms, advertising and technology.

What inspired you to create BleepBleeps?

I love design. I love technology. Then i had kids…

A few years ago I was taking my daughter’s temperature with a digital ear thermometer in the middle of the night. I had to do some Googling to get advice on temperature and it struck me as weird that the device wasn’t connected to my phone. The idea for a range of connected parenting devices started right there.

How did you find the right team to design and build BleepBleeps?

Successful hardware is all about collaboration and the enrolling of quality individuals into a highly functioning group. Having a strong brand and vision and design aesthetic really helped get the right people on the bus. Team BleepBleeps is around 50% agency people who used to work for me back in the day, and 50% people I’ve met at MeetUps like IoTLondon and Hardware Startup Lab.

Why did you decide to seek funding on KickStarter rather than conventional methods?

Kickstarter is a great way of validating your brand/product idea and raising some cash for manufacturing through pre-orders. It IS the conventional method!

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Did KickStarter help spread the word or did you hire a PR agency?

Both. The general rule of thumb is a successful crowdfunding campaign is one third the platform itself (i.e. Kickstarter or Indiegogo), one third PR and Marketing, and one third your own personnel network. That’s how it broke down for us too.

How did you find the right manufacturer for the first BleepBleep Sammy Screamer?

We met a ton of people and then got a few of them to quote. We went with the best manufacturer not the cheapest!

VIDEO –> Fantabulous day at our manufacturers getting🔺#SammyScreamer production process sorted #MadeInUK 🇬🇧

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What would you say is the biggest thing you’ve learned from the manufacture of Sammy Screamer?

Hardware is HARD. Because of all the things you have to line up. People that can: Think it, Make it, Sell it. It’s quite a big stack: Brand, strategy, business model generation, market research, graphic design, copywriting, concepting and design, Industrial Design, Design for Manufacture, PCB design, Firmware, Radio comms/connectivity, CX/UX, Interaction design, technology strategy, software app build for iOS/Android, webdev and web service creation and integration, testing, crowdfunding, plastic tooling and injection moulding, PCB manufacturer, components, PCB assembly, packaging design/production, final assembly, certification and compliance, project management, grant applications, wholesale/retail/distribution, direct marketing, advertising, search, social, ecommerce, fulfilment, customer service, legals/T&Cs, investment, business/financial. Phew! (Plus a load more I’ve probably missed!)

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Posted 07th Jun 2015
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