Hong Kong-based Ambi Climate, the ‘smart add-on for your air conditioner’ that raised over US$30,000 in just nine hours, finally ended its Kickstarter campaign on Friday, November 14, 2014 with US$114,892 pledged of its humble US$25,000 goal.
We already covered the startup’s Kickstarter campaign in some detail in mid-October. Today, we have Ambi Climate’s CMO Martin Kessler sharing his thoughts on their wild success.
Did you ever expect it to do this well?
No, we didn’t. We were optimistic initially, but after our failed Crowdtivate campaign this summer, our expectation had been drastically lowered.
We kind of knew that Ambi Climate is mostly a product relevant to Asian consumers, of whom most own an IR remote controlled air conditioner. Most successful crowdfunding projects on Kickstarter as well as Indiegogo only do very well if they appeal to a western audience.
This is partly because Asians — except Singaporeans and to some extent Japanese — are still not very big on supporting reward-based crowdfunding campaigns (check out this list of the top 10 crowdfunding countries).
I guess most Asians want to receive their product as soon as possible, and don’t like the long wait and risk that often comes with crowdfunding projects.
This probably explains why we sold out nearly 150 beta devices within the first days that we will ship in late November.
Another worry of ours had been that during autumn the pain point of having uncomfortable moments and higher energy bills due to air conditioner usage wouldn’t be as greatly felt for much of our audience except Southeast Asia.
So we entered the campaign with a lot of uncertainties, but we were positively surprised by the great response and demand by our crowdfunders.
Why do you think Ambi Climate has clicked with funders in such a big way?
Ambi Climate is addressing something that a great many people of our planet use every day — air conditioners. But fundamentally how they work hasn’t really changed for decades.
Many of us struggle to fiddle around with our AC’s remote just to find the right settings. In fact, most of us don’t even bother anymore to change our AC’s settings because of that. Nevertheless, throughout the day and year, climate conditions change and we end up overcooling our apartment a lot.
This wastes energy and makes us often feel uncomfortable. Ambi Climate is taking that pain away from you by automating your AC controls.
Of course that is just one aspect of Ambi Climate. Some of our backers like the fact that they can remotely control and monitor their vacation apartment, or when they are out of home and have pets or special equipment that require a certain climate.
For instance, I personally like the fact that I can turn on my AC on just before I arrive home during a hot and sweaty summer day.
So in the end, Ambi Climate comes with a lot of value, and a good deal of our backers have been seeing that value.
Another reason for our success is, of course, that we are supported by a great community here in Hong Kong. Many of our families, friends and fellow entrepreneurs have shared and, to some extent, also backed Ambi Climate. Having had this support certainly played a role in our success as well.
What is next now that crowdfunding is in?
We will need to ship our beta devices as soon as possible, so that our backers around the world can still receive them before Christmas. This is a logistical challenge, which is why we have already started collecting addresses even before the end of our campaign.
Beyond that, we are hoping to improve our software and machine learning algorithms before we have a wider product launch next year during summer.