Hong Kong Design Startup RUBIX Launches Kickstarter Project, Giving Your Smartphone Battery a 60% Boost

Augment We kicked off 2014 with a sold out Startup Saturday event on crowdfunding, and ever since, this year has been bustling with cool news from the community.

While crowdfunding for equity platform Bigcolors fully funded two startups ‘Oddup’ and ‘Verxigo,’ multi-faceted social network Fund2.Me has helped fund seven projects with US $170,000 since their launch in December 2013. In the Kickstarter realm, two Hong Kong projects received full support from backers in the month of March alone. All in all, it’s been a busy time for crowdfunding. See our story on all of these updates.

On our radar is yet another Hong Kong Kickstarter project called AUGMENT from independent design house RUBIX. This campaign particularly piqued our interest because it’s a smartphone battery solution that promises a boost of up to 60%. We had a chat with founder and industrial designer Will Matters to learn more about his startup.

Click here to view and support the AUGMENT campaign


RUBIX_WM_PROFILE_PHOTO_STARTUPHK “Design is all about problem solving as designers are always working on visual and functional problems,” he said. “The design DNA we put into our products are a bit inspired by the spontaneity of the game ‘Rubik’s Cube.’” Having tested the crowdfunding waters on Indiegogo beforehand to an unsuccessful campaign, RUBIX is now ready to take on Kickstarter – looking to raise US $17,000 to finalise the tooling, to pay for materials and minimum order quantities. Although AUGMENT is only for iPhone at the moment, Will says RUBIX plans on expanding to major Android devices in the near future.

The product line that RUBIX’s first campaign will be raising funds for is called AUGMENT, a stylish iPhone protective case with a series of equally attractive and functional accessories. Besides the case, AUGMENT comes with a dock (for home charging), headphones and a module for on the go charging (60% boost). What’s neat about this latest battery solution is the modularity of the charging module, which snaps onto your case so you can still use your phone while it tops up. See RUBIX’s website for more product details.

chargeit

As with building any hardware startups, maintaining good working relationships with cross-border manufacturers is extremely important. With factories in Huizhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen, Will said that he forged those connections by prioritizing face-to-face meetings but cites language barrier as the main problem that hardware startups will face.

“The toughest thing is that these factories will only have a few people who speak English. They might be the manager, so they probably don’t understand anything about the product and won’t be able to filter it down to the engineers.” Learning Putonghua is essential to building these relationships, as communicating directly with the engineers that are working on your product will be an undeniable advantage.

If you aren’t well-versed in product development, Will recommends enlisting the help of a contract manufacturer to walk you through the process, although he still maintains the importance of spending time across the border. “Getting there in person throughout the time that you are developing your product is important. The biggest thing I would recommend to anyone is to get across the borders and work with the factories – there’s nothing that replaces personally going over there yourself.” AUGMENT’s Kickstarter video:

Will Matters on Startbase.HK: Will Matters

RUBIX on Startbase.HK: RUBIX

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