Accelerate Production with Agency 2.0's Chinese Manufacturing Partnership.
Agency 2.0 was honored to host Platform88, our Shanghai-based production partners to present an innovative approach to prototyping and manufacturing for Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdfunded products with an extensive Q&A session.
As the official kick-off to Agency 2.0 and Platform88’s prototyping, manufacturing, and production partnership for crowdfunding hardware products, we hosted our team of engineers to outline the phases of production in an effort to accelerate the delivery timelines of our clients.
As you might suspect, the manufacturing process is critical to any Kickstarter or Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, but even more so if you plan on launching via Kickstarter due to their strict working prototype and rendering requirements in advance of launch. This new approach to accelerating the prototyping, manufacturing, and production timelines of our crowdfunding clients is centered around the fundamental requirements to bring any product to market and specifically tailored to Kickstarter and Indiegogo products.
Check out a few highlights from Agency 2.0's Crowdfunding Manufacturing Night in the above video and a more indepth Q&A with Michael and Eunah of Platform88 a bit further down the page.
Crowdfunding Prototype to Mass Production Manufacturing with Platform88 and Agency 2.0
Traditionally, a majority of crowdfunders await funding and/or completion of their Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to begin manufacturing their product. At Agency 2.0, we're proposing a different approach to reduce the estimated manufacturing and fulfillment time to backers.
An Innovative Crowdfunding Manufacturing Timeline for Kickstarter & Indiegogo Products
Platform88's Six Phases of Manufacturing for Mass Production
Over the course of the evening, Platform88 outlined how we can reduce the manufacturing timeline from 240 days (at best) down to 180 days by implementing this new approach into Agency 2.0's crowdfunding marketing strategy.
- Product Review & Factory Engagement — An estimated timeline of 15-30 day approvals on estimated material cost/quantity, tentative production timeline, engineer verifications and factory selection with the green light to move forward on Design & Prototyping.
- Design Blueprints & Prototyping — An estimated timeline of 15-30 day approvals on 2D/3D files, initial prototype, blueprint, certifications and final design with the green light to move forward on Tooling, First Article Inspection and Sample Testing to prepare for tooling and inspection.
- Tooling, FA Inspection & Testing — An estimated timeline of 30-60 day approvals on tooling, samples, material quantity, cost, assembly process and third party certifications with green light to move forward on Shipping & Packaging.
- Shipping Package Development — An estimated timeline of 10-30 day for designing, sizing, drop-testing and production for product packaging and shipping specs.
- Pilot Production & Quality Inspection — An estimated timeline of 30-45 day for material preparation, product inspection and quality tests with quality tests that are approved by trained factory workers.
- Mass Production & Backer Delivery — An estimated timeline of 30-60 day for inspection, production line worker training, backer surveys, and order shipments.
Manufacturing and Factory Q&A with Eunah Choi and Michael Wang of Platform88
Agency 2.0 was honored to host Michael Wang, Platform88's Consumer Electronics and IoT expert and Eunah Choi, Platfrom88's Project Management and Merchandising Specialist in Santa Monica, CA for Crowdfunding & Manufacturing 101 followed by an extensive Q&A following their presentation.
How can Platform88 help startup companies with the manufacturing and production of their tech hardware products crowdfunded on Kickstarter or Indiegogo?
Michael Wang: Differing from traditional Chinese factories and manufacturing companies, Platform88's vetted manufacturing and engineering veterans help you formalize and shape your ideas before you launch on crowdfunding which helps expedite the production process during your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign. The typical manufacturing process starts with factories accepting your idea and ends with providing you a quote. Platform88's team however, goes beyond by collaborating with you to discover and finalize what your product's true value proposition really is. After this discussion, you'll be able to provide even more details to your crowdfunding backers and future ecommerce customers.
Eunah Choi: Platform88 goes through a process by first evaluating your crowdfunding idea from a macro-design and manufacturing perspective, which helps begin production of your first functional prototypes in advance of your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign.
What is the most important thing that a tech startup with a new product should prioritize before contacting a manufacturing company like Platform88?
Michael Wang: Whether it’s a crowdfunded product, Amazon ecommerce, or direct-to-retail consumer electronic product, the most important thing any tech startup should focus on is the problem you are trying to solve for your backers and/or customers. This can be accomplished by talking to as many friends, family members, manufacturing experts, focus group attendees, and others to see how they perceive your product differently. Upon review, we then begin the management and mass production of your product. Upon recieving this feedback, you should now shape your product to deliver a more polished manufacturing package to factories.
Eunah Choi: Typical Chinese factories are mostly interested in two things: The product and the quantity. Platform88 is a Chinese-based manufacturing and production company but differs by shifting its focus towards the product's future potential. Platform88 understands that a majority of crowdfunding campaigns may not have a complete product design or a clear understanding of manufacturing methods, engineering processes, and packaging fundamentals. What tech startups should focus on is compiling all the information you have about your product, which includes your product's design files, delivery timelines, financial plans, consumer profiles, competitive market research, and your overall goal of launching the product.
What are the most common mistakes that crowdfunders make when beginning the manufacturing process in China with their Kickstarter funded tech hardware products?
Michael Wang: By far the most common and critical mistake I see while working with crowdfunding campaigners that produce tech hardware products is that they don’t realize it’s a business. In short, no matter how successful a product was during crowdfunding, if a business fails after their Kickstarter campaign, it does not matter to any factory. Any factory will be interested in gaining quantity in exchange for the low initial production volume required to fulfill for a crowdfunding campaign. Other mistakes we see far too often are campaigners trying to add bells and whistles to their product to make it more appealing for the Kickstarter or Indiegogo marketing campaigns, but doing so dismisses the product's core offering. Platform88 recommends a multi-version approach to hardware products, focusing on a reliable delivery time, then adding extra features later. When campaigners try to do everything all at once in their first version of their product, it typically takes too long to develop, costs too much to produce, but most harmfully, the product becomes too confusing to your customers.
Eunah Choi: Omitting shipment or certification costs and packing in too many features all at once are two very critical mistakes that we always see within crowdfunded products. Many times, these tech products include components that require various certifications and regional custom costs that campaigners fail to include. They end up having to pay a lot more money to find these components with the correct set of certifications. In this case, Platform88 recommends a detailed review of your products by creating a Bill of Materials, or even better, a review of each component on your PCB (Printed Circuit Board) with an industry expert that is well-versed in manufacturing and sourcing in China before finalizing the pricing structure of your product. The other mistake crowdfunders make is producing tech products with too many features or failing to prioritize one feature over another. In this situation, crowdfunders may need to sacrifice supplementary functions in order to manufacture their product on time and within their budget. Simply put, do not promise too much or feel pressured to include additional features to generate traffic or buzz during your campaign as it may come back to hurt you in the long run.
What type of products does Platform88 specialize in prototyping and manufacturing at their Chinese factories?
Eunah Choi: Platform88 owns four factories within China that are located in Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen. They specialize in both traditional (non-smart) consumer products and smart consumer electronics. A few examples of our manufacturing capabilities for traditional consumer products include kitchenware, outdoor cooking/grilling materials, hydration bottles, coffee makers, bar accessories, fitness gear, travel goods, backpacks, textiles, and more. Some examples of Platform88’s smart consumer electronics manufacturing capabilities include IoT devices, smart home accessories, trackers, electronics, and other items, with our limitations being drones, virtual reality, and augmented reality goggles or related products.
What is the process to begin working with a manufacturing company like Platform88 and how far in advance should I reach out to a company like yours?
Michael Wang: Platform88 works with products in various levels of completion. The first step to getting started is an initial discussion about your idea or product’s manufacturing timeline, and where it currently stands in completion. On average, Platform88 onboards products that are roughly 80% complete in the idea phase, meaning you know what the product is going to look like, (preferably with 2D/3D design files), and a nearly complete list of product requirements. To give you a better idea, here are few items that would be of interest in the early stages: Industrial Design, CAD Drawing, Functional Specifications (rough is ok), and Technical Specifications (rough is ok) — rough ideas are acceptable. If you are ready to see how Platform88 can help, you can reach out directly via Agency 2.0 (who offers a significant partner discount) to coordinate a time with one of our manufacturing and engineering specialists.
How does Platform88 protect a products intellectual property rights when manufacturing tech products with Chinese factories, suppliers, and manufacturers?
Eunah Choi: Platform88 takes intellectual property extremely seriously and requires signed NDA’s from our team and with every single supplier that we work with in the production of your product. To further protect your product's IP, Platform88 also offers in-house production and assembly at our four factories in China for an additional layer of security. However, once your product is out there, nobody can guarantee 100% protection of your intellectual property. The most important way to protect your IP is to ensure that YOU are the first company to launch and to sell your product by quickly expediting the production processes.
Michael Wang: Intellectual property is serious to us and we take precautionary measure to ensure that when manufacturing different products of similar IPs, we know what IP the customer has before development in order to cross reference other prior IP rights. If the customer or team are not comfortable with using the IP or we feel it resembles something Platform88 has previously produced, we disclose this to the client in advance. Most importantly, if an inventor comes to us to manufacture a product with their intellectual property, their IP remains solely theirs and will never be used by Platform88.
If my company has already begun shopping around to other manufacturers and factories in China, is it too late to work with you and/or what is needed to get started or receive a quote?
Eunah Choi: First, all companies definitely should shop around for factories and manufacturers in China and elsewhere in the world, because each of them will have a different setup of production strengths and values they add to their services. Simply put, it is never too late to work with Platform88. We focus our core business in two areas: Creating innovative crowdfunded products for small-to-medium-sized tech startups and mass producing products at scale for large brands and retailers. Typically, these products then fall into two production categories: Creating the product from the ground up from prototype to production or manufacturing existing products that were produced elsewhere and currently for sale in the marketplace. No matter what phase you’re in, we are happy to provide you a quote to see if Platform88 can increase the quality and reduce your pre-existing product’s production cost or get the ball moving on creating your product from idea to delivery.
Michael Wang: Platform88 is highly flexible with our manufacturing services. Even if you already have a factory that you are working with or would like another quotation of enhancement, you can reach out to us. Many times, you’ll be surprised how a fresh pair of eyes can see new potentials in your product or help create changes to increase quality or cut production costs. Platform88 is capable of reviewing and transitioning an existing product that is being produced elsewhere or start from scratch with first time creators to introduce them to manufacturing in China with our fluent English-speaking teams.
Can Platform88 build just my prototype or do you require companies to go through the entire manufacturing process with you?
Eunah Choi: Platform88 does produce functional prototypes on behalf of our customers, but we are not interested in soley producing prototypes. We would recommend reaching out to prototype-specific companies. Our main focuses are on products and companies that have the ability to scale due to the high level of commitment and the mindset our team has when taking on a new product. At Platform88, we understand that some creators do not have the funding in place to make their first mass production order and are likely still in the process of acquiring funds via crowdfunding or seed investments. We’re happy to discuss where you are currently at and develop a long-term roadmap to see your product’s manufacturing success.
Michael Wang: Platform88 is a manufacturing company at heart, not a prototype-focused company. As Eunah noted, Platform88 does in fact provide prototyping services for our manufacturing clients, but not on a one-off basis. We are focused more on end-to-end success with your company and product.
Crowdfunding Manufacturing Night Image Gallery with Platform88 and Agency 2.0
Check out more details on Agency 2.0's Facebook Page and/or reach out to us directly if you are interested in discussing how to succesfully manufacture your crowdfunded product with Agency 2.0's discounted partner rate.