CHAPPAQUA, N.Y.-- Chappaqua resident Peter Dolch has an idea that could revolutionize smartphones and tablets and is using crowd-sourcing to generate support.
Dolch's New York-based company, Port Indigo, has developed goMo a universal remote control for smartphones and tablets. Dolch recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise $75,000.
A year ago, Dolch and his partners investigated whether there were universal remotes when they noticed how distracted people's smartphones made them, particularly when jogging or in the sun.
They traveled to China, and went to trade shows and electronic shows and found nothing.
"There is all this multimedia out there but there is nothing for smartphones and tablets," said Dolch, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate.
Dolch and his two partners, who went to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, began developing the prototype, manufacturing it in China. They have more than 100 working prototypes in their office.
The goMo can adjust volume, change a music track or even change the music streaming service all for $35.
They decided to go to Kickstarter to gauge interest in the product. People who donate $35 will get their own goMo.
"I wanted to make sure this wasn't just interesting to the two of us," Dolch said. "We're not going the traditional route."
Port Indigo realized it is hard to find venture capital to fund their project, since electronics investments often lose money.
Since the Kickstarter campaign launched, the goMo has attracted 69 investors and raised $3,757. If they are unable to raise the money, they get none of it.
"We are fairly confident we can do it," Dolch said. "We got off to a bit of a slow start, we had trouble with our social media campaign before we started."
Dolch said they want to get the goMo in people's hands by Christmas. People who donate $2,500 get a trip to China to meet the production team, while people who donate $5,000 get to become partners. Those who donate $10 get a goMo keychain. This is Dolch's first time trying Kickstarter, though he has donated in the past.
"It's quite the learning experience," Dolch said. "Crowdfunding has become very mature. Just two years ago, it was like the Wild Wild West. We spent weeks reading blogs and how-to guides."
Dolch thought at first Kickstarter gave people free reign, but learned it was more complicated than that, and had to do a lot of revisions to meet Kickstarter's standards and gain approval.
In his role working at a software consulting company, Dolch has been involved in 60 start-ups and helped many companies raise venture capital. At the consulting firm, he has worked for Pfizer, Hearst, Viacom and Harper Collins.
"It was a very different experience," Dolch said.
Dolch believes both Kickstarter and venture capital funding have their place.
"There's places where there is no venture capital and you spend a lot of time and effort getting nowhere," Dolch said. "With Kickstarter it's a relatively low effort and low cost. You are field testing an idea. There's no commitment unless you raise the money."
The Kickstarter campaign has also allowed people to give Dolch more ideas for his product.
"We want to see what the community can do with it," Dolch said.
To donate to Dolch's Kickstarter, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gomo/gomotm-the-mobile-multimedia-and-app-controller