What do the Oculus Rift VR goggles, the movie Stromberg – Der Film and the card game Exploding Kittens have in common? They're all fun (to use, watch or play), they're all popular – and they were all brought to market maturity with the help of crowd funding.
Upon my return from my parental leave, I found a new "baby" waiting for me in the workplace! It was INITIATE, a new crowd-funding – or, more accurately – "crowd-boosting" platform. But more about that later.
In general, such platforms are a great idea. By enabling inventors to source funding from large numbers of sponsors, they free them from having to find willing investors with deep pockets. The only drawback is that sponsors can lose out – i.e., lose their investments, with no chance of any return – when an inventor fails to reach their funding goal.
My colleagues and I felt called on to address this problem. We began our brainstorming by noting that the Deutsche Telekom brand is strong and widely trusted. Also, we at Deutsche Telekom know a great many startup entrepreneurs and product developers, and we have scouts around the world who are constantly looking for great new gadgets. So, we thought, why don't we develop a platform of our own that could both a) give new projects a boost, and b) offer sponsors of / customers for those projects an added measure of security?
No sooner said than done. And presto, "INITIATE" – the new "crowd-boosting" platform – was born. INITIATE is designed especially for products that have moved past the idea stage – for products that are fully developed and are nearing market maturity. With this approach, INITIATE gives customers access to products that, while not yet available on the market, are fully developed, thoroughly tested and – most importantly – ready to ship. As a result, the platform gives inventors the boost they need in order to begin selling their products.
Within the space of a few short weeks, we fleshed out our idea and found colleagues and internal funders ready to support it. Today, we're launching a beta version of INITIATE. And I am excited!
How does our approach differ from others, and why do we think it will succeed? Well, we create win-win situations for inventors and sponsors alike. Inventors profit by having a strong, solid partner – Deutsche Telekom – and sponsors profit by gaining early access to the latest products and technologies.
Unlike many other platforms, we also offer sponsors a maximum of investment security. When a sponsor likes a product and wants to acquire it, they join a 25-day campaign for that product. If the product fails to garner its targeted number of sponsors within that period, no money changes hands. What's more, we thoroughly check and test all offered products in advance, with the result that all offered products have guaranteed functionality and availability. As an added bonus, on our platform we present fascinating background details about the ideas and their inventors.
Over the past few weeks, we have been looking for cool products and recruiting their inventors to participate in INITIATE. The response has been gratifying indeed. Our initial set of products coming soon includes the four detailed below. For one of them, Deutsche Telekom is a partner inventor, by the way. That's a natural role, given how convinced Deutsche Telekom is of the potential of INITIATE! 😉
Now you can take truly impressive HD aerial photos. The AirPix selfie drone is compact and easy to handle, and it offers high-end technology at a low-end price. It's an especially convenient and affordable tool for capturing both everyday and very-special moments.
We asked Jessi & Markus, a highly talented influencer couple, to test AirPix for us. Right now, they're touring Greece in their van, and they've already taken some beautiful shots. We encourage you to visit their profile and view the gallery they've put together. @jessiandmarkusdiaries
Heatable Capsule Collection
The smartest way to stay warm on freezing winter days: the Heatable Capsule Collection, produced in cooperation between Deutsche Telekom, AlphaTauri and Schoeller.
A small, but surprisingly powerful underwater video camera that takes dazzling clips you can share. (Coming soon)
The first "smart" water bottle, with integrated hydration tracker, that is also smart in a sustainable sense. Simply by drinking from it, you generate credits that fund plastic-pollution clean-up. Produced in cooperation with organizations such as Plastic Bank, Project Rescue Ocean and the Gold Standard. (Coming soon)
Interested in INITIATE? If you really like the INITIATE concept, too, we invite you to apply to become a beta tester for our platform. You could have a chance to help shape and grow our platform while it's still being developed. From all the applications we receive, we'll draw a limited number of beta testers who will be able to join us in experiencing INITIATE, providing feedback and developing INITIATE into THE platform for innovative technology.
Apply here. (only available in German language)
We look forward to hearing from you!