GE 179: How SkyBell Went from Zero Investment Dollars to Raising $100,000 in 5 Days on Indiegogo (podcast) With Andrew Thomas

Andrew Thomas_SkyBell

Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with Andrew Thomas, co-founder of SkyBell, which is a startup pioneering a Wi-Fi-enabled video doorbell that allows people to monitor and open the door with their smartphone.

In this interview we talk about the future of innovation, how SkyBell went from a company that nobody wanted to back to a earning a 9-figure valuation, why you can’t go after the decision-maker right off the bat, and why a video is one of the most powerful things you can do to market your product.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How SkyBell Went from Zero Investment Dollars to Raising $100,000 in 5 Days on Indiegogo TRANSCRIPT

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:34 – SkyBell is a video doorbell
    • 01:40 – People can see, hear and speak to the person at their door through a smartphones
  • 01:49 – SkyBell was founded 3 years ago and is now partnered with Honeywell, Alarm.com, Comcast and other big companies in the space
  • 02:21 – SkyBell is a hockey puck shaped piece of hardware that has camera, microphone, and speaker
    • 02:32 – When someone comes to your door, SkyBell sends you push notifications to your smartphone and you can talk to that person real-time
    • 02:48 – Price is $199
    • 02:53 – It has a motion-sensor
  • 03:20 – One of their customers’ story was they were able to prevent a robber from breaking into their home while they were in Europe
  • 04:45 – Andrew got zero investment in the beginning
    • 05:01 – He raised $ 100,000 in Indiegogo in 5 days
  • 05:10 – “We went from a company that nobody wanted to back to a $ 600,000 cash infusion from Indiegogo”
    • 05:19 – 5,000 customers approved the idea of SkyBell
  • 05:28 – SkyBell now has a 9-figure valuation
  • 05:45 – SkyBell ships thousands of units monthly
  • 06:29 – Andrew decided on a well-designed security solution
    • 06:33 – One product that does everything well will serve customers better
  • 06:49 – SkyBell was designed to serve the biggest companies in the space
    • 07:09 – These companies have great home security solution but nothing on the front door
  • 08:10 – SkyBell took 2 different routes to high volume
    • 08:15 – SkyBell chose the B2B route
    • 08:48 – The industry of smart products
    • 09:06 – An example is the Nest thermostat where you can control the thermostat in your house using a smart phone
  • 10:54 – It took Andrew 3 years to finalize his largest B2B deal
    • 11:29 – Andrew learned from B2B deal is you have to identify what the other business wants
      • 11:45 – Find out how the employees from that business become motivated because they’re the ones who make the decision
      • 11:50 – “Validate how your product is the end solution for their customers and pitch how your product is the right solution for their company”
    • 13:05 – How did you reach out to the other businesses?
      • 13:10 – “They usually reach out to us”
      • 13:20 – Use LinkedIn to know more about the company
      • 13:34 – “You can’t go after the decision maker right off the bat”
      • 15:07 – It usually takes 2 weeks to get connected with the right people
    • 16:30 – In B2B, you have to find the company that has a good distribution
    • 17:38 – What is the magic with your Indiegogo campaign?
      • 17:48 – A video is one of the most powerful thing you can do
      • 17:55 – Make a video that is compelling, authentic disseminates the value of your product
      • 20:05 – In crowd-funding, you have to get the first 30% of your goal in less than 72 hours
      • 22:00 – One example of a great video is from Squatty Potty
    • 22:30 – Andrew and his team’s background
      • 22:40 – Andrew started with SEO work and worked with Google
      • 23:31 – Andrew’s partner Joe is an engineer
      • 23:53 – They were a couple of hungry guys who wanted to do this together and didn’t take no for an answer
    • 24:12 – SkyBell was founded in 2013
    • 24:30 – SkyBell’s product design process
      • 24:39 – SkyBell doorbell is made entirely in the USA
      • 24:50 – They came up with the design by thinking how it would look if Apple designed it
      • 25:20 – People will look at the product design because they care about how their house looks
      • 25:45 – The design is pretty cool and clean
      • 26:30 – Designing a product from scratch would require going to a prototyping house, working with an engineer, creating the sample product, then starting a campaign with Indiegogo
    • 27:50 – “It is not easy to make hardware – it is not for the faint of heart”
    • 28:07 – Biggest struggle while growing SkyBell
      • 28:54 – Biggest mistake for Andrew is releasing the product without enough testing and contingency plans in case the product fails
      • 29:47 – “I wish I didn’t put our first product on Amazon so quickly”
    • 30:20 – What’s one piece of advice you’d give to your 24-year old self?
      • 30:28 – “Understand the power of intention and focus on the possibility rather than the negativity”
      • 30:42 – At 24, Andrew made a lot of decisions out of fear
    • 32:24 – What’s one must-read book that you recommend?
      • 32:27 – E-Squared and The Biology of Belief
      • 32:40 – 3 Magic Words Documentary
      • 32:53 – Making Your Thoughts Work For You – CD series
      • 33:18 – How to Win Friends and Influence People
    • 33:52 – What’s one new tool that you added in the last year that’s added a lot of value?
      • 34:02 – The power of content
      • 34:58 – Video has become tremendously important
    • 37:02 – “If you can accomplish your goal while empowering somebody else, that’s the win-win”
    • 37:59 – Connect with Andrew on Twitter, Instagram, his website and SkyBell

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