One great idea begets another.

Posted Jan 24, 2013 4:22:20 PM

Rickshaw and Halo trip the light fantastic! One great idea begets another. As you may or may not know, Rickshaw is collaborating with another San Francisco-based start-up on a cool Kickstarter project called the Halo Zero LED Messenger Bag. The project is now live on Kickstarter, and funding is progressing nicely. The purpose of this post is twofold: (1) to encourage you and your friends to back our project, and (2) to tell you the story of how this project came to be, and why this may be the most exciting time in history to be an entrepreneur.

For those of you unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it's an amazing web site where entrepreneurs post projects of all types in an effort to attract financial backers in exchange for rewards. The modern term for this financing method is "crowd funding". Kickstarter has been wildly successful, and innumerable amazing projects have been funded. Most projects raise only a few thousand dollars -- but some have raised millions! Anyone can be a project "backer", and you can browse the Kickstarter web site for products, art, food, movies -- all kinds of cool, creative stuff! Some people make small donations simply for the joy of supporting creative ideas. Others use Kickstarter as a marketplace for discovering and purchasing cool stuff and unique gifts. I discovered Kickstarter about two years ago, and have since backed 17 projects. I keep an eye on the popular projects and staff picks posted on the Kickstarter home page. Sometimes I back projects, and sometimes I just silently cheer them on. There's something thrilling about witnessing the ongoing funding drama -- it's like a new spectator sport.

In just over two years, Kickstarter has fostered a vibrant on-line community of backers and entrepreneurs. But there's even more to it. Kickstarter has become a meeting place for collaboration -- entrepreneurs meeting other entrepreneurs, even established companies, looking for others to co-create new projects. Kickstarter has become an on-line Breeder reactor of entrepreneurial activity -- and this is exactly how the Halo Zero project came to be.

Hacking the original Halo Belt to make a first prototype.

A few months ago I discovered a successful Kickstarter project called the Halo Belt -- an illuminated safety belt for bicycle riders. As a daily bicycle commuter myself, I loved the idea -- as did over 500 backers who donated more than $55,000 to successfully fund the first production run of the innovative Halo Belt. I noticed that the project was started by a young entrepreneur named Vince in San Francisco, so I sent Vince an email to see if he would be interested in exploring a collaboration between Rickshaw and his young Halo Belt company (http://www.halobelt.com). He responded immediately, and the following week, we met for the first time at Rickshaw's SF headquarters to brainstorm possible ideas. Vince brought an assortment of Halo Belts and we promptly started hacking together our first Halo Zero illuminated messenger bag prototype. We made several samples and Vince took them out for nighttime testing. The bags looked super visible (and cool) with their flashing strips, and the multi-colored light show attracted envious onlookers. We were convinced that we had a good idea, and the basis for a new collaborative Kickstarter project. Vince was thrilled to partner with Rickshaw, and I was just as excited to partner with Vince, and help advance his entrepreneurial venture. After a few weeks of copywriting and video editing, Vince's second Halo project made its debut on Kickstarter. So, there you have it -- one successful project inspired a collaboration, which led to yet another project -- hopefully soon-to-be successful -- and a friendship. And, Kickstarter was the matchmaker. What a great time to be an entrepreneur!

Sewing the hacked Halo Belt pieces together.

I hope you will share this story with your friends, and check out the amazing new world of Kickstarter -- a place where dreams come true everyday. By the way, even if you’re not in the market for a Halo Zero illuminated messenger bag, you can still back our project with just as low as $5 dollars, or pledge $65 and receive an original Halo Belt – that’s a $20 discount, plus free shipping! At the moment we've already hit 25% of our goal but we'll need your support to get all the way there.

Cheers!
Mark Dwight
Founder/CEO Rickshaw Bagworks

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