LynQ Debuts Tracker to Consumer Market
Crowdfunding can give start-ups access to capital or invaluable consumer feedback. But crowdfunding can also help gauge market appetite—and by any measure, appetite is strong for LynQ’s innovative long-range tracker, which debuted on Indiegogo on May 15 and reached its goal of $75,000 in under an hour. Since then, they’ve surpassed 1500% of their goal, and have raised over 1.1 million dollars.
Some companies might flounder in the face of such overwhelming demand, but LynQ, with the support of Newlab, is well-positioned to capitalize on their popular campaign. “Newlab exists to facilitate every stage of growth for companies like LynQ,” says Alex King, Newlab’s Director of Membership. “We’re in the unique and enviable position to support a company as they make this leap into the wider consumer market.”
When LynQ was formed by founders Dave Shor, Justin Lange, and Matthew Misbin, the team knew they wanted to create location tracking that didn’t require looking at your phone, but not much beyond that. “The true evolution was self-serving,” admits Drew Lauter, the company’s chief operating officer. “We are all social beings. We all like hiking and skiing, festivals, Burning Man—it was the idea of adding a social element to a tracking ability.”
Three short years later, LynQ has developed a product that they’ve already delivered in beta version to commercial clients such as ski resorts and festivals. The tracker uses a private, closed network—no WiFi or cell network needed—to connect up to 12 people, with a range of approximately 3 miles. The simple e-Ink display shows your companion’s name, distance, and direction; users can designate a home base (for easy meet-ups) or a safe zone (to sound the alarm when anyone wanders too far).
So if you are out hiking or at a concert venue, you have a secure, accurate way to locate your friends or family. You can keep track of a child (no wandering too close to the water at the beach!) or ensure the whereabouts of someone with Alzheimer’s or autism. It also could be an invaluable tool in search-and-rescue or disaster relief. In a trial conducted by the U. S. Pacific Command, in conjunction with the Thai military, soldiers found that LynQ assisted in reconvening during radio-silent exercises; aided in the formation of search missions; and reduced the time spent recovering an injured soldier by 61%.
Because they’ve already honed their product and started delivery to their commercial clients, LynQ saw the Indiegogo campaign as a presale platform rather than an opportunity for further ideation. The funds raised have allowed the company to ramp up their commitment to greater quality which has enabled them toinitiate a small production run, with a target date of November for roll-out of product sold during the Indiegogo campaign.
The overwhelming response for the crowdfunding campaign speaks to the appeal of Lynq’s product, of course, but it takes groundwork and logistical support to make a successful crowdfunding campaign. And LynQ was supported not only by Rainfactory, a crowdfunding consultancy, but also by the community at Newlab, including companies like BioLite and Waverly Labs.
“We consider them friends and ask them for advice,” Lauter says. “To get their personal experiences and dos and don’ts was very reassuring and talking to people in this collective community settled my nerves.”
So far, Newlab member companies have raised nearly $12 million via crowdfunding campaigns, with Waverly Labs clocking in at $4.43 million ($1 million of that in the first two hours) for its Pilot: Smart Earpiece Language Translator. That campaign was run on Indiegogo, and Andrew Ochoa, the CEO of Waverly Labs, played a role in bringing LynQ to the platform.
“Andrew introduced me over email to two senior people at Indiegogo, and we just formed a really good bond,” Lauter explains. “Being part of Newlab strengthened our resolve to go forward and do this. It’s been positive all the way, with support and people to talk to, and now it’s our time to give back.”
Paying it forward in advice, Lauter emphasizes the power of strategy: “There’s no fluke in crowdfunding anymore.” In their case, they’d laid their plans over time—and they are staying restless. “It was a lot of planning, months and months of planning, and there’s still a lot of strategy happening,” Lauter says. “If I get close to the goal line, I move the goal line. I’m happy—but not satisfied.”