Buddy, the world’s first affordable companion robot has just completed an impressive crowdfunding campaign, raising $100,000 in just 24 hours.
After a month of the campaign, which closes tomorrow, Buddy has raised $395,325 through 644 people. The company operated a rewards-based model, with each investor pledging differing amounts of money in return for Buddy accessories, or a whole Buddy robot. Raising that sort of money in such a short space of time is no mean feat; so, what made it so successful?
Firstly, the expertise and passion behind the company is clear. CEO Rodolphe Hasselvander’s fascination with robots begun as a child. After watching movies like Star Wars, he became convinced that one day, we will all have our own R2D2 at home. He was an executive director at CRIIF, a robotics research company, for ten years before branching out and creating Buddy because it was something he strongly believed the world was lacking. He says:
“It’s been a long time dream of mine to bring a companion robot to mass market. Buddy is the manifestation of this dream: a friendly robot that helps with day to day life, but also boasts the latest in robotics technology”.
Hasselvander employed crowdfunding and tech PR company, Blazon PR, to be in charge of strategy. With so many crowdfunding platforms available, what made them choose Indiegogo?
According to Michael Raven, Blazon’s founder, they chose the platform for their recent success of technology campaigns:
“We’ve seen a steady rise in the funding of Indiegogo hardware technology on the platform, and I think moving forward, the platform caters for these types of campaigns more than Kickstarter or other platforms do.
For a crowdfunding campaign to be that so successful, marketing is key – especially utilizing free platforms on social media.
“As a PR company, we specialise in Growth Hacking and ensuring that each campaign is spread around the web on platforms like Reddit, Product Hunt and to communities such as Groups on Facebook. We also do a lot of work on Social Media, building accounts on Instagram and Twitter, ensuring that we’re having the correct conversations and interactions,” Raven said.
Buddy the robot can help children learn through interactive games and tests, connect to social networks and video calls, patrol your house whilst you’re away and alert you to any problems and even help care for the elderly, detecting unusual activity or falls and providing medication reminders.
Furthermore, its opensource platform aims to democratise robotics; it’s an app developers dream, and possibly he product’s real USP. App developers can build software to customise the Buddy experience with the Buddy Developer Edition.
Whilst having a future world full of robots seems like a sci-fi movie rather than reality, several companies are waking up to the usefulness of robotics in day-to-day life. The world’s first hotel staffed almost entirely by robots opened in Japan this summer; if it proves effective, many more could be set to follow. Buddy’s Indiegogo campaign ends this week – for more information on how to get involved, visit their campaign page here.
Miranda Wadham on 11/08/2015