Over the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a number of successful and not so successful Kickstarter entrepreneurs. Some have had runaway crowd-funded successes and others drowned beneath the tumultuous seas of patents and legal disputes.
However, a common theme seems to emerge. Whether successful or not, a large percentage of people on Kickstarter had an idea to fix a simple problem. And through their own epiphany or someone pushing them along the way, they realize “Hey other people might want this too.”
Daniel Weyer, a happily married engineer living in Lincoln, Nebraska, had a similar experience.
“For Christmas, my wife got me a 25-foot tape measure, which included "as a bonus" a small six-foot tape measure with a magnetic backing,” Weyer said. “This got me thinking, and ended with one of my wife's kitchen magnets being cut up and taped to the back of my iPhone...it barely held and was the initial prototype.”
With the general idea now weighing on Weyer’s mind he began making prototypes. Weyer tried magnetic films of varying thickness, but realized problems arose as soon as he put a piece of paper between the bare magnet and his refrigerator. Weyer recognized few people would want a bare magnet on the back of their iPhone and knew a thin decorative film needed to be showing.
“I about gave up on the idea after investing $100-plus, but decided to try one last time with a high strength 30 mil (.76 mm) thickness magnet,” Weyer Said. “I was anxious for the material to arrive and was quite thrilled when the material managed hold up an iPhone with four sheets of paper between. I knew this would be a product people would use if I could keep it thin enough.”
With the newfound strength Weyer felt confident the MagSkin would hold onto any magnetic surface and for those non-magnetic surfaces Weyer developed the MagDock which consists of adhesive magnetic strips. Place the strips on non-magnetic surfaces like tables, cupboards, and headboards then simply attach your MagSkin enhanced iPhone or iPad.
The future of the MagSkin for Weyer is exciting. The engineer and entrepreneur has plans to develop an iPhone case with MagSkin integration, as well as Nintendo 3DS and Android Tablet versions. However, Android phone version are out of the question for the time being.
“If I was an Android guy, this idea would not have worked,” Weyer said. “The flat back of the iPhone 4, 4S and (hopefully) iPhone 5 makes this idea work well. I have tried the MagSkin on products with a curved back, and the magnet either overpowers the adhesive and straightens out or the contact surface area isn't enough to support a curved-back smartphone.”
Look for a MagSkin review next week, as well as giveaway where five winners will be selected at random to receive an iPhone MagSkin of their choice. Weyer's MagSkin Kickstarter campaign is still has 24 hours to go and those who want to donate and secure a MagSkin.