Start-Ups we Championed, Where Are They Now?

Muchaneta Kapfunde | @FashNerdEditor

Have you ever wondered what happened to a startup campaigns that you once championed? You know the ones we are talking about, the startups that were showered with press, earned plenty of buzz, only to fade from the spotlight.  Well is revisiting some of the brands that left us wondering, “so what happened next?” We want to know how their business is doing today and what their plans are for the near future.



DEVICE SMARTS:  Branto is a smart assistant that provides security, 360 vision, free communication and control of your home devices when you’re at home and away.

PROJECTED GOAL: The Branto project launched first on Kickstarter, followed by a campaign on Indiegogo.

OUTCOME: With 374 backers, their Kickstarter campaign raised $122.474 of their $500k goal, which unfortunately meant that on the 8th March 2015 they did not reach their goal on. They then ran another campaign on Indiegogo where 179% of their goal was reached on the 19th September 2015.

WHAT NOW: With a ‘save 40% off the original price’ currently on offer, you can still order the Branto for a discounted price of $299.00 USD. The Ukrainian hardware startup entrepreneurs Max Mets and Nick Brogun have estimated that their delivery will be December 2015. We hope that this is the case because we have heard a few complaints about the lack of response from the Branto team. For a product that was once full of promises, we hope that the whispers of broken communication between the supporters and the brand is not one that rings true.


RideOn Side View HiRes1


DEVICE SMARTS:  RideOn Goggles allow you to interact with the floating UI using head movements. No external devices like wrist watches or voice activation. To navigate the UI, just stare at icons fixed to the sky, your friends, or points of interest. With this type of interface, your hands stay gloved and warm, and your phone stays securely in your pocket.

PROJECTED GOAL: To raise $75k

OUTCOME: Surpassed their goal. With the support of 370 people, they raised $113, 146

WHAT NOW: RideOn goggles are in the process of being manufactured, and can be expected to be shipped this ski season. They are already pre-ordering like hotcakes so interested customers can order a pair of goggles at Once they have shipped out the RideOn goggles will follow up with software updates and packages that include new features. They will also be releasing an SDK sometime in 2016, which will allow developers to imagine and develop their own AR features for RideOn goggles.

 FINAL WORDS FROM THE FOUNDER TO FASHNERD: “It’s been a long journey, but we’re almost there. We’re very excited to ski with you AR early adopters this season!” – CTO Ori Kotek


DEVICE SMARTS:  The Pebble watch runs on Pebble’s own OS, uses a colour e-paper display and boasts a tiny battery which means that it can last 7 or even 10 days before requiring a charge. It also has a new timeline interface that highlights what’s important in your day.

PROJECTED GOAL: In 2012 they set their goal to raise $500K

OUTCOME:  They broke the record that year on Kickstarter by surpassing $10million. With the support of 78,471 backers, they raised $20,338,986.

WHAT NOW: One of the thinnest, lightest smartwatches has been a success story.  It has grown from one founder, to nine employees, to a team somewhere around 130. Pebble is also a member of a developer community that spans more than 18,000  and has a strong consumer following on all social media platforms. You can purchase the Pebble Watch for $249.00 USD from


UW_Banner_StayActive_Edited.pngUNALIWEAR KANEGA WATCH

DEVICE SMARTS: Wearable OnStar(tm) for Seniors. Kanega offers discreet support for falls, medication reminders & guards against wandering.

PROJECTED GOAL: To raise $100k

OUTCOME:  They raised $110,154k

WHAT NOW: They are currently building the final version. Once completed, it will first go to pilot and then on to production.  They have been focusing on style improvements to deliver the “classic” look that their wearers want to wear.  In addition, they have finally found a true white-on-black display that makes the watch readable for those who have age-related macular degeneration (affects 30% of the 75-84 population).  The Kanega watch base has shrunk from a 47mm watch base to a svelte 39mm.

They will be piloting in the first half of 2016, and in the general market in the second half of 2016.  Pilots start with Kickstarter backers. They have confirmed that they are ahead of their plan for internationalization, as several countries have reached out and asked them to run pilots in their countries.

They have told that it is too early to talk about what’s next – but assured us that there are new directions that they are heading after the Kanega watch has gone to market. Their focus will be to further extend independence with dignity for vulnerable people.

Lastly, they shared that their Kickstarter campaign was instrumental in helping them diversify populations for focus groups and for our public market beta coming up in the first half of 2016.  Their population of future wearers now includes independent but vulnerable people with Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gherig’s Disease, Parkinson’s, Down’s Syndrome, and disabled veterans and people who are blind, for whom their verbal directions can literally be life-saving.

FINAL WORDS FROM THE FOUNDER TO FASHNERD: We’ve just begun to show how our human-centered technology can extend independence with dignity for millions of vulnerable people.  I am looking forward to the day that our predictive intelligence ends the need for “missing elderly” alerts on the SilverAlert/AmberAlert signs!” – Jean Anne Booth, CEO and founder of UnaliWear.


AmbyGear Watch


DEVICE SMARTS: The AmbyGear smartwatch allows children to be independent, encourages them to be physically active, and helps with life lessons – all in a safe environment. With built in GPS, text messaging and boundary alerts, AmbyGear informs parents of their kids location and activity, all from the convenience of their mobile phone with tight encryption and privacy controls behind the easy to use application.

PROJECTED GOAL: To raise $13,861

OUTCOME:  They raised 105% of their $13,200 goal.

WHAT NOW: The USA version is available for pre-order and if you order now you will be eligible to 6 months of free service but after the first 6 months, subscription plans will be start at $9.95 per month. The six month period starts on the first day of activation. Delivery is estimated to be by Q1’2016. Note that your credit card will not be charged until they ship the AmbyGear Mobile. All orders come with a 30 day no quibble money back guarantee. No SIM card required.

As for the European version, it is available for pre-order and if you order now you will be eligible to 6 months of free service but after the first 6 months, subscription plans will start at $9.95 per month. he six month period starts on the first day of activation. The SIM card is not removable or replaceable. elivery is estimated to be by Q1’2016. Note that your credit card will not be charged until they ship the AmbyGear Mobile. All orders come with a 30 day no quibble money back guarantee.

Onto the next?

Supporting a new start-up campaign can ease the pressure on a young company still figuring out its kinks. So remember to continue to fund the innovators who are busy tinkering on their business model to bring their amazing ideas to our life.

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