Crowdsourcing Innovation: Jack Trowbridge, Noteu

Crowdfunding sites are offering a new path for inventors with original ideas. We talk to inventors looking to gain the public’s favour...

Crowdfunding sites are offering a new path for inventors with original ideas. We talk to inventors looking to gain the public’s favour...

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: Jack Trowbridge

 Job title: Founder

 Organisation: Noteu     

 Location: Newcastle, UK


Product: Noteu

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What it does & how it works:

In short, Noteu is a modern smart clock that streams your information on the web effortlessly all in one place at a glance and touch!

Noteu is a Wi-Fi smart alarm clock which keeps you updated on the weather and streams information and alerts that matter to you on the web such as Facebook, Twitter, Email and RSS feeds all in one place at a glance and touch! It uses an Android or iOS mobile app which you can use to connect Noteu to your home and work Wi-Fi as well as set up your various online accounts and customise how Noteu works to display what's meaningful to you.

What’s your background, and what inspired you to come up with the idea?

I've loved to invent and build hardware and software since I was very young and I've always been building something since. Starting from making a simple circuit with an LED and battery, to launching multiple Android games and tools to Google Play then to developing, launching and maintaining a fully fledged social network with over 20,000 members. I then embarked on Noteu's journey last year where I developed many prototypes and launched an initial prototype which was successfully funded where I got to make and ship 37 of them and learnt an insane amount about the business side, hardware, manufacturing and logistics. I think I've got Noteu up to scratch now with the addition of a full colour LCD, touch screen functionality as well as a modern case making it stand out as unique.

Why choose Kickstarter?

Kickstarter isn't just a site. It's a community of people that are passionate about technology and being a part of the rise and creation of it. This passion is key and enough of it over time has built to allow people like me to get projects off the floor by going directly to the people that most want it. Alternatives include venture capitalists and banks which are a story in their own right. Kickstarter simplifies the process and allows makers, shakers and movers all around the word to make an impact from anywhere armed with only an idea, computer and an internet connection.

Is Crowdfunding good for innovation? How so?

Simply put, yes. Crowdfunding is the reason we have bigger and more diverse innovation than ever. The spread of communities in crowdfunding is wild and it really allows anyone with a way of doing something different to get supported and make it a reality. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter put innovation to the people allowing the average Joe to follow through on an idea and see the clear path to possible success. Before Kickstarter the process would have been too hard for most to access making it not a possibility. It also allowed the same average Joe to become a part of things he likes or believes in with the opportunity to back projects all around the world. It's such as powerful thing bringing an idea to life as it’s ultimately these that move, change and disrupt this world.

Reactions from users on KS so far?

My Kickstarter backers and people love the concept. It's different and unique which is what gets people attention. They have liked it ever since the start and have loved seeing it grow into what it is today. It's not just the project, with a few saying that they just want to see me succeed and the product didn't really matter, which I'm very humbled to be on the receiving end of.

What lessons have you learned from your campaign?

At every stage I've learnt more and more, improving it at every failure trying to seek why it didn't work and to learn from it quickly and move on.

Since my initial attempt you can see I've built Noteu into a totally new product. Through each iteration I've built my vision and business skills as well as product development in parallel and I think now I've got both to a good level and Noteu up to scratch to look good and function well at scale.

We are statistically setting ourselves up to fail with a rough estimate of 95% of startups not making it. The only thing that is powerful enough to battle and overcome those odds is loving what you do.

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You’ve put several iterations of the Noteu on Kickstarter, why keep coming back for more?

Noteu is a foundation that can only be built on and improved which is what I intend to do.  I'm set on being an entrepreneur and have a large vision for Noteu which is why I keep coming back building Noteu further as I go.

One thing I've learnt is that being an entrepreneur is torturous. The reality is we fail more times then we succeed and it's only through constant hammering at a single point with heart and tears that we persevere until we make it. Anyone can do anything if you try enough times. The tough part is getting the courage to try again.

What happens after a project is successfully funded is often under-reported: Was it difficult to fulfil your commitments? Where there any unexpected hurdles?

Fulfilling out my rewards went as planned with a small delay through unforeseen problems at the end but as long as they were updated they were happy.

In the development world, both hardware and software, when you think something's going to take say two weeks, in reality that should be doubled as unexpected nightmares are a regular occurrence and are the sole problems to why projects take much longer. These problems are often not anticipated which is why this time I've taken this into account extending the delivery time.

How do you use the Noteu, and what sort of uses would you like to see people developing for it?

I want Noteu to be a platform that allows you to interact with information that matters to you effortlessly all in one place at a glance. This could have many niche use cases in individual organizations or at scale with endless possibilities.

For consumers, meaningful information happens to lie within social media and commutation which is where I'm currently pushing Noteu. This will only increase in the coming years as every organization and person turns to social media and use more of it.

I see it as a must to integrate Noteu with IFTTT which is a very powerful platform that connects all your online platforms all in one place. Once Noteu is connected to it this virtually allows you to display anything and is where imagination can take hold and use cases discovered.

Possible business use/advantage?

I've been contacted by someone based in the UK via Kickstarter that is working on a 'solution' of some kind in his business and maybe looking to buy it in volume if it takes off. He hasn't give me specifics on his solution but it's already a possibility for business to business.

What next for the company and the product?

Through Kickstarter I hope to take Noteu to its next step and continue developing it in the future with its ultimate goal of being connected to everything you care about. I hope with time and support and my growing community around Kickstarter and even outside spanning from CEO's to Venture Capitalists, I hope to grow Noteu into its full vision taking everyone along for the ride. 



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