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Ep. 013: How to Launch a Wearable Tech Brand — The Andrea Perdomo Interview

Be inspired by this young female entrepreneur, and her co-founder, and how they’re blazing a revolutionary new trail in wearable technology.

Hear her describe the challenges (and opportunities) of raising capital, learning fast, creating a high-performing team and proving skeptics wrong.

Leave a Rating & Review in iTunes for the Product Launch Rebel Podcast

Podcast Timeline:

0:43 – Introduction to Andrea Perdomo, Co-Founder and President of Revolar, the wearable tech safety-device company.

2:52 – Start of the “Give Me the Basics” Segment

3:15 – Andrea talks about what makes the Revolar so unique compared to other personal safety options that are available. (Revolar offers different alerts based on a user’s level of discomfort.)

4:52 – Andrea talks about the original idea behind Revolar, and how her co-founder, Jackie Ros, came up with the idea based on an incident that happened to her sister.

7:31 – Andrea describes how a fateful opportunity led her to meeting her business partner and co-founder, Jackie Ros. Andrea talks about her early career (and pre-Revolar) motivations to make a difference in the world and how she drove from Atlanta to Denver to work as an intern for a non-profit (which is how she originally met her co-founder, Jackie Ros).

8:46 – Andrea describes how, early on, the company aimed to learn from consumers, friends and family to understand user safety needs and to help sharpen their brand message. They learned that the concept of safety is different for different people.

11:22 – Start of the “Tell Me How” Podcast Segment

11:40 – Andrea describes the process and challenge of raising capital, after going through a bootstrapping phase, and living a frugal lifestyle eating ramen and potatoes. One of their key approaches was to talk to investors as advisors. She talks about the challenge of needing to prove consumer demand for the product before anyone invests in the company.

Andrea talks about how they originally did pitch competitions to raise money, and how they proceeded to use Kickstarter to prove demand for the product, which eventually led them to raise an additional $3 million from The Foundry Group.

She talks about how they learned that raising money is all about relationships – building relationship with investors, like marriage or dating. “You have to get to know them as people.”

16:50 – Andrea talks about some hiccups along the way to raising capital (i.e. learning the financial terms).

18:24 – Andrea describes how she would have done things differently when raising capital. She advises others to start raising money early, and to figure out the brand story needed to tell investors, and the importance of painting that picture of where the company will be in 5 to 10 years.

19:26 – Andrea talks about finding a manufacturer for their highly technical product, and the challenges of doing so with very little experience in working with manufacturers and engineers. “Manufacturing: it’s difficult.” “The big thing was trying to learn how it all works.”

Andrea describes the challenges of sourcing all of the different components and finding the best price, making sure the product was environmentally friendly, and finding a source that was as close to home as possible.

Andreas goes on to offer key advice: “Don’t be afraid to hire people or get advice from people that know more than you. “It’s okay to not know all the answers.”

24:15 – Andrea talks about the many trade-offs when it comes to hardware manufacturing; and making sure their product is well-designed for the user. “You can’t have it all.” “It’s weighing [what features are] most important and what can wait for later.”

She describes the challenges of production lead times for the many components, and with forecasting.

26:50 – Andrea talks about the challenges of selling the product to retailers and about the tension that exists between the cost of the product, and the end-price requested by the retailer.

29:59 – Andrea describes their process for determining their distribution strategy and how they, from the very beginning, aimed to offer their product to the masses.

32:20 – Andrea talks about creating awareness and demand for Revolar on small marketing budgets. She talks about the importance of having a strong and well-defined brand and message that goes along with the function of the product. She talks about how they spent a lot of time on their messaging even while developing the prototype.

She advises others to experiment with their message with different types of audiences. She talks about how they tested messaging with digital ads (Facebook and Google).

Andrea describes how it takes a lot of information and time to educate consumers, and of the importance of using good retail displays and packaging.

36:16 – Start of the “Let’s Get Personal” Podcast Segment

36:39 – Andrea talks about her motivations to start a business. “It’s definitely about the end goal.” She talks about how she’s motivated by how Revolar has brought users greater piece-of-mind. “That’s what really drives us.”

39:50 – Andrea talks about her biggest joy of starting a business. She describes how they celebrate the little “champagne moments” along their entrepreneurial journey. She then talks about her “incredibly proud moment” that related to the trust that has been built within the Revolar team.

41:44 – Andrea describes her biggest frustration, related to some cultural barriers.

45:08 – Andrea addresses the topic of entrepreneurial self doubt.

47:02 – Andrea talks about how starting a business has changed her as a person. “It taught me that I am a lot stronger than I ever anticipated.” “I am definitely a much better person.”

48:28 – Andrea talks about what she has learned most about herself since starting a business. “It’s definitely best to surround yourself with people that know more than you do.” “You have to have the courage to say that you don’t have the answer.”

49:27 – Andrea talks about who has been most influential to her. She talks about her dad, and his experience of moving from Ecuador and making a life from nothing, from scratch. She talks about how inspired she has been “by his attitude from having nothing over and over again, with a smile on his face.” And about “having a positive attitude and making it through.”

50:47 – Andrea closes the interview with some final advice to budding entrepreneurs: “Just try it, put yourself out there, and give it a shot, and surround yourself with people that have done it before.” “Don’t live your life with regret.”

About the author, John

John Benzick is an entrepreneurship coach and the founder of Venture Superfly. He is a Tech Partner at the venture-capital fund of Matchstick Ventures, a Mentor with Techstars Retail accelerator, an Entrepreneur-In-Residence and (former CEO-in-Residence) at the University of Minnesota, and founder and owner in two consumer product businesses. Click the button below to learn more.

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