Kickstarter Q&A: TriggerHappy camera remote’s Kevin Harrington


Kickstarter has now become one of the most popular ways to fund new projects, from gadgets to video games to art and music. One of the most recent beneficiaries of Kickstarter’s crowdfunding model is Kevin Harrington and the rest of the team behind the TriggerHappy camera remote. TriggerHappy gives users a less expensive option for controlling their digital SLR camera remotely, with the use of their iPhone or Android smartphone app. With 27 days left in their Kickstarter campaign (at the time of this writing), the TriggerHappy team has already blown past their $25,000 funding goal, having raked in a staggering $125,000, so far. We got in touch with Harrington to find out more about TriggerHappy, the Kickstarter experience, and the team’s plans for the future.

DT: How did you and your team come up with the idea for the TriggerHappy camera remote, and what made you decide to move forward with the project?

kickstarter qa triggerhappy camera remotes kevin harringtonKEVIN: As a photographer, I’ve dabbled over the idea for years, ever since the birth of the smartphones. I wanted a simple camera remote and an intervalometer that was cost effective — a camera remote that worked.

Being a photographer and a software engineer, the idea kept sparking my interest over the years. Finally in 2011, when I met Luke and Brett, we started the project. Brett is an electrical engineer and Luke is a mechanical engineer. Their skills have been tremendously helpful throughout development. I couldn’t make the hardware without them. Once we met, our combined knowledge is what made us go forward with the project.

How does the TriggerHappy remote compare to other products on the market?

Traditional camera remotes have hard-to-use user interfaces, and limited capabilities due to the nature of the hardware. We leveraged iOS and Android to expand the capabilities of a camera remote. We’ve improved  the way one controls his camera to take an simple shot, HDR image, and a time lapse. We’ve also introduced lightning detection, audio waveform detection, face detection, and motion detection.

What made you decide to launch the TriggerHappy remote as a Kickstarter project?

Kickstarter is a great place to bootstrap a business. That’s what we wanted. We don’t see TriggerHappy as a project, but instead we see it as a business with an ever-improving product. Starting a business requires capital. Kickstarter is a great place to raise that capital without giving away company equity to investors. Crowdfunding is how we wanted to raise capital, and Kickstarter is the premium crowdfunding service.

What challenges have you found with the Kickstarter funding model?

We haven’t had any major problems with the Kickstarter funding model, but I’ll point out one little issues. With a long funding length like ours (60 days), we can’t receive any of the pledge money until the end our funding deadline. The money we’ve raised is “cyber cash,” until our funding deadline, and it is not useful business-wise. We have to be creative for 60 days, and find ways to fund TriggerHappy until we get to our funding deadline.

What are the advantages that Kickstarter brings to your project?

There are so many. I’ll list two.

First, Kickstarter drives a lot of traffic to our project on Kickstarter. 35-percent of the money raised so far comes from Kickstarter community traffic.

Second, Kickstarter takes 5-percent of our funds. That’s nothing compared to investors! Say we go to an investor and get $200,000 for their 10-percent stake in our company. If we were to sell for $20 million, they’d get $2 million assuming no other investment rounds. If we look at it like Kickstarter does, they’re taking 1000-percent of what they gave. See the difference?

With Kickstarter we can bootstrap our company, and we don’t have investors pushing us to sell.

How has the Kickstarter community responded to the TriggerHappy remote? Did you receive any comments, questions, or concerns that you didn’t expect?

We’ve been overwhelmed with such a positive response. We didn’t expect such amazing support from our backers! They’ve advised us and helped spread the word.

TriggerHappy team (left to right): Kevin Harrington, Luke Duffield, Brett Gottula

 In addition to Kickstarter are you using any other funding avenues to bring the TriggerHappy remote to market? If so, what are they, and what do they deliver that Kickstarter does not? If not, why?

We aren’t currently using any other funding avenues. Since our project launched on Kickstarter, it’s been very successful. Kickstarter is our focus.

At the moment, your project is at about 500-percent of the funding goal, with nearly a month left to go. To what do you attribute this success? How has the massive influx of funds changed your goals? And what do you plan to do with the additional funding you will receive?

I attribute our success to a well thought-out product. We are photographers; we are our customers. We know what photographers want, and we are giving them that. That’s what I attribute our success to.

Our goals have not changed. We want to give customers a product they will think is amazing. That was our goal from before we launched our Kickstarter. The response of our customers is our gauge for success. We do not gauge our success on a monetary amount.

Five hundred percent may sound like a lot, but it’s not. It’s enough to start our business. All of our additional funding will go towards the development of the TriggerHappy camera remote.

Aside from achieving your funding goal, what are your ultimate goals for TriggerHappy — what would make the project a true success, in your mind?

A true success would be to establish a scalable business model. Kickstarter is simply the start. We have a lot of work, but we are confident we’ll get there.

Based on your experience with Kickstarter, what advice can you give someone hoping to launch a technology-related product through the service? What ways can people help to ensure success?

Know your customer. Have a target market. Talk to individuals within that market. Find out what they want, and prove to them that you can deliver what they want.

If you’re interested in helping to fund TriggerHappy (or just want to buy one), visit the project’s Kickstarter page, here.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

This device backs up DSLR photos using 4G and works as a wireless tether

What if you could back up your photos as you shoot, instead of at home? The Cambuddy Plus is an accessory that uses 4G and high-speed Wi-Fi to automatically back up photos to a cloud service.
Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.
Emerging Tech

‘Crop duster’ robot is helping reseed the Great Barrier Reef with coral

In a world first, an undersea robot has delivered microscopic coral larvae to the Great Barrier Reef. Meet Larvalbot: the robot "crop duster" which dispenses coral babies on troubled reefs.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.

Cities looking to get smart take a lesson from an iconic shopping mall

From Disney World to the Mall of America, public venues are becoming microcosms for smart city projects. We dove into both, to show what government officials can learn – and what you can expect from your city.