LeWeb London: Eric Migicovsky and Pebble

Eric Migicovsky, Founder & Lead Designer, Pebble Technology & Loic Le Meur, LeWeb Founder


EM had the idea, started working on smart watches at Netherlands. Enjoyed commuting my bike, but wanted to see what has happening via wrist, not get phone out. Hacked together a watch, continued after graduating. Took a long time, had not made hardware. Took longer than expected. Graduated in 2009, shipped beta in Oct 2010. Started with a Blackberry linked watch. After that got into Y COmbinator, moved to Silicon Valley in 2011. Then started looking at iPhone. You need cash for prototypes. Made 600 in garage, as test

Started talking online; customers started talking about them, Their first customers…found via rumours that Blackberry launching watch and then writers had to follow up about the start up that was doing it. So at WWDC last year, the apple allowing background programmes, they moved to iPhone. Kickstarter, had been using it and backing people. The hardware companies in the Valley get together and that was talked about it. It is aimed at creative, rather than hardware. Em had tried to raise money from institutions, not very successful. Had some angel backing, but not beyond that. The could not demonstrate a user base.

They put it on Kickstarter. Got $10m in 30 days…the first $1m in one day. People talking about it, tweeting. They are planning that Pebble will have a SDK so people can build apps for the watch as well Will be able to build apps for sports etc

Pebble is an epaper based watch, so won’t get washed out outdoors. Partnered with RunKeeper. Gives HUD for Runkeeper etc. Leaves 3 buttons for app developer to do things. The first batch is 85k

Q: What lessons learnt? So pebble the fist for hardware, but won’t be last. So can use it for prototyping, to get about 50k. YOu can find out of people want what you want and if they will pay for it. Pebble was not the first product, so created a pitch that was for a larger community. It is a short pitch, to convince people to buy it first. They focused on 3 use cases – running, cycling, using it around the house.

Em now needs to ship the most awesome watch people for their backers. From there, they will look at creating a developer community. The future could be a colour screen, need colour e-ink. Heart beat is difficult to get – but watch is open for other sensors to be connected. Work on production started right after Kickstarter. They have been buying components. They had to put in large component orders, to get the supply chain in place, to manage the large leadtimes. Shipping in autumn. not confirmed date.

Biggest challenges are building the volume. People backe dus out of nowhere. Need to deliver against expectations. Opportunities to grow with functionality. It is designed to be a sports watch, designed for water, charge to last a week, easy to charge. Can take a beating.

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