Sometimes it really is the simplest ideas that are best. Founded by Australian entrepreneurs Rex Kuo and Charles Ng, Orbitkey is a startup that set out to solve a common and obvious problem- annoying jingling keys. The Orbitkey is a keychain that uses a simple design to quietly hold keys in an organized fashion so simple you’ll wonder how this didn’t exist before. Perhaps the most exciting development though stems from their wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. With a modest goal of $10,000 AUD, Orbitkey managed to crowdfund over 2100% of their goal for a total of $210,793 AUD or just under $189,925 USD. With more than enough funding at their fingertips and a startup sitting pretty, young entrepreneurs everywhere can take a few notes from Orbitkey’s successful pair of entrepreneurs.
We had the chance to catch up with Rex and Charles over email where they share what it’s like to bounce off a successful crowdfunding campaign and the keys to a successful entrepreneur duo.
So briefly tell us the story of how you guys came up with such a simple and elegant idea for Orbitkey.
“The idea started from our own frustration with rattling keys. Charles built a simple prototype from some leftover screws at home to stop his keys from rattling when jogging. From there we started to look at other ways to challenge the traditional ways of key carrying. We looked at what needed improvement (rattling, unorganized, bulky, key scratches etc.), what was available already on the market and set out to design something that people can be proud to carry.”
What made you guys decide to crowdfund your project?
“Besides from the obvious reason of raising the funds needed to begin production, we see crowdfunding as an excellent way to test the market. We loved our design but we needed to know if others did too! Luckily for us they did.”
Your Kickstarter campaign looks like it went phenomenally. Can you tell us about your plan of attack from here?
“It’s always hard to judge how well your product will be accepted by the public. We knew there had been other similar projects in the past that had a lot of success on Kickstarter but there were also others that didn’t do as well. So we set ourselves a modest target and went into the campaign with an open mind. To reach out funding goal on the same day and go on to raise 2100% of our funding goal was just phenomenal! There were many high-five moments! Now that the campaign is over, our focus is to deliver a quality product and look after the 4961 backers who believed in Orbitkey.”
Did you always want to become entrepreneurs? Do you look up to any successful entrepreneurs?
“To be honest, the focus was never to become entrepreneurs. We set out to challenge the traditional ways of key carrying and design something that people can be proud to carry, being able to share our design is everything we can ask for but to be successful and generate so much interest is just the icing on the cake. There’s quite a few entrepreneurs that we look up to, Rex is a big fan of Daymond John and Charles looks up to Industrial designer Andrew Fallshaw who runs Bellroy.”
What would you say was your biggest obstacle in developing Orbitkey?
“Our biggest obstacle was time management. It’s not easy starting a business and juggling full time work at the same time. Meetings and discussions with suppliers at all different times of the day definitely cut into some precious snoozing time! However; it was certainly made easier by having two people to share the work. Our next biggest challenge now is to build a reliable team to assist with running Orbitkey.”
You’ve been developing the Orbitkey for around a year now. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far about the development process?
“Test, test and more test! There’s a big difference between coming up with a concept and actually making it work, especially for the end users. When you think you’ve got it figured out, another problem would arise that needs to be addressed. We spent many months’ trialling different designs and refining them until we came up with something that we were truly happy with.”
This question is geared more towards Rex. On your website it says you [Rex] are a “legal drug dealer by day.” Can you tell us a bit about that?
“Sorry to disappoint but the term “legal drug dealer” is actually just a fancy way of saying “Chemist”; which is not nearly as exciting as “illegal drug dealing”. However, running a pharmacy business and dealing with hundreds of different people every day does help with managing your own business and communicating with customers and suppliers.”
Have you encountered any disagreements or any hurdles with your partnership?
“We generally work pretty well as a team but don’t get us wrong; there are certainly times when we do feel like throwing a punch at the other person, but at the end of the day we understand that we both want the best for Orbitkey. As Dale Carnegie says, “When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.” We have experienced this first hand with the way we work together. Charles can sometimes get caught in his pursuit for perfection in design and I would have to reign him in to ensure we meet the deadlines.”
What are some qualities that you think every entrepreneurship duo should have to work effectively and successfully?
“Communication and trust. As discussed earlier, there will be disagreements but the key is to communicate and to try to see things from the other person’s perspective. Also, you can’t expect to take on every task by yourself, you need to be able to split the workload and trust the other person to get the job done. Having said that, be prepared to work as a team and cover for the other person when needed.”
Do you have any future plans for other neat gadgets?
“We do, but you’ll have to follow us on Facebook to find out!”
Find out more by visiting Orbitkey.