Young and rich. That's how a recent CNBC.com article described a 24-year-old 'Jack,' who used Shenzhen-based manufacturers to beat Kickstarter projects to market, making USD345,000 over two months.
Jack's big insight? Some of these crowdfunded products already exist – and you can buy them in China in bulk, for cheap. Today, we'll take a look at some of the top tech campaigns on crowdfunding website Indiegogo and see if the products being promoted are already on sale in the Chinese mainland.
It's important to note, we can't guarantee these tech toys will measure up to their claims, whether crowdfunded or already on the market, also, Alibaba's prices are wholesale – meaning that you, like Jack, would need to buy in bulk.
Indiegogo: USD39 ChargeWrite
Alibaba: USD5.5 3-in-1 Pen Style Power Bank
Having raised more than USD49,000 through Indiegogo, the ChargeWrite's claim to fame is that it will be able to be used as a stylus, a powerbank, a memory card... and a pen. But wait.
3-in-1 Pen Style Power Bank:
The inelegantly named Shenzhen Rocfly Blue Electronic Co., Ltd., provides something surprisingly similar to what ChargeWrite will deliver. Like ChargeWrite, it is compatible with both Apple and Android (granted, adapter required) the only big difference from the ChargeWrite is Rocfly's product doesn't include a memory card – but plenty of other pen chargers do.
Getting real: The ChargeWrite doesn't require an adapter between Android and Apple charging – that's cool – it's also something we saw in Shenzhen six months ago. We're going to guess a handy factory would make this leap readily.
'Universal' Magnetic Cable
Indiegogo: USD19 ASAP Connect Cable
Alibaba: USD6.8 WSKEN Magnetic Metal Mini2
'Universal' goes in quotes because magnetic cables require a device-lodged adapter for the cable to connect to. If you have the adapter – and you do, since that's how this works – any decent magnetic cable is universal.
Indiegogo: ASAP Connect:
The ASAP Connect is billing itself as the future of USB cables. Selling for USD19 to backers on Indiegogo, it has already raised more than USD600,000, promising to 'change the way you connect your phone forever' through patent-pending technology and 'rare earth neodymium magnets.' (Said neo-something magnets were discovered in the 80s and are widely used.)
Alibaba: WSKEN Magnetic Metal Mini2:
Apple and Android compatible? Check. Can sync data? Check. The main difference from the ASAP Connect seems to be the Apple connector. While ASAP Connect has avoided potential lawsuits by inventing their own connecting tip for Apple devices, our friends at WSKEN took a simpler route: Photoshop.
No eight-pin adapter, no problem!
Getting real: Most of us are setting our eyes on magnetic cables for the first time, but they're nothing new. Despite raising USD600,000, this glorified adapter isn't a game changer. The big draw is bringing a decent quality cable to market – and based on a fair few Amazon reviews, this is sorely needed. Half-a-million-dollars needed? Mabes.
Indiegogo: USD219 FlowMotion
Alibaba: USD199 Aibird Uoplay Smartphone Digital Stabilizer
Indiegogo: FlowMotion Stabilizer:
It took one hour for "the world's most versatile smartphone stabilizer" to get funded. Now it has raised over USD1.4 million. It includes an auto-follow mode to track objects and promises to eliminate 'camera shake' – we goddamn hope it does, considering it's has more than a million in funding and is called a stabilizer.
Aibird Uoplay Smartphone Digital Stabilizer:
While it may not have a sappy promo video, the Aibird Uoplay is real and it works, as this YouTube review shows. It also has a bluetooth remote, a tracking mode and can – gasp – stabilize.
Getting real: Indiegogo's FlowMotion brings a few features like time-lapse motion (you know, the shots of a sun setting while the camera moves) and a simple design tweak that lets you mount the stabilizer on a surface. The main draw to the FlowMotion may be its low USD219 price, but that is set to leap when the Indiegogo campaign ends.