Andrew Lentz - Tuluma
Andrew Lentz - Tuluma
Describe yourself and your project. How did you get the idea?
I was on the beach in Tulum, Mexico surrounding by the beauty of the Mayan ruins. The water was warm, and I wanted to swim. Left on the beach, time after time I started to relax, and then panic! Was my bag still there? My bag wasn't stolen (that day), but the serenity of the moment was. And I thought "Why should we have to worry, shouldn't we just know our things are safe?".
Who are you? Previous education/jobs/ experiences etc.
Three of us are recent Lund University graduates, along with Kaj who brings 40 years of electrical engineering expertise and wisdom to the group of two Swedes, an American and JQ's from China. The rest of us have backgrounds in industrial design, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Myself, I've spent the last 6 years working odd jobs living on five different continents, so I've seen the need literally all over.
What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time?
We will finish creating a smart alarm that attaches to bags like a zipper handle providing year-long protection against theft, and loss on a single charge. Tuluma, meaning 'protection' in ancient Mayan, is designed to be false alarm free, automatically recognizes saved friends, and yet will scream at 100db if a stranger tries to steal or open the bag. With Tuluma on your bag you'll never have to worry about losing it again.
What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs?
We will be testing 50 of the final product in approximately all over the world, and then launch a Kickstarter in August. We will use that support to make both Tuluma accessible for all, and to work hand in hand with organizations to better the local situations and ultimately; make it so people have a little less to worry about.
Andrew Lentz - Tuluma #2
Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time.
We’ve made a full list of the necessary components for a ZERO series hand production of Tuluma. We’ve also reached an agreement with a local company who will manufacturer these at a very low cost for us, providing we handle the software ourselves. We’ve also been exploring new names / brand images and begun to prepare for a Kickstarter in the fall. We’ve altered the final design and begun to 3D print dummy models with extremely good feedback.
Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected?
The name Tuluma has been difficult. It doesn’t seem to be memorable, and coming up with the ‘perfect’ name is proving impossible. Technical progress has been difficult due to vacations and is slowing everything down. The good news is, with every bit of progress we can the final product will smarter, smaller and sexier than we ever could have imagined.
What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way?
Getting funding for the production of a zero series and the development of the software to really make this product work by mid Aug. Working on finding an app developer for the device. For the Kickstarter and website we are starting to take photos of “what’s in your bag”, we will being to develop infograpics and a storyboard for the KS video and hopefully find someone to assist us with that.
If you have any website associated with your project that you want to expose provide the link below:
Coming soon. We’re developing one now :)
Andrew Lentz - Tuluma #3
How did you experience the three months?
Slow and steady! Progress had definitely been made and we are within a month of having a fully functioning test series. That said, with vacations of both team members and outside parties, things could have gone faster.
What has been hardest/most enjoyable?
Getting meetings with key decisions makers, particularly in attracting outside investment. The most enjoyable has been repeatedly working on the marketing message until it has gotten concise and clear.
Did it go as expected? Will you continue working on your project in the future?
Yes. We are about a month away from being able to showcase the product, and launch a Kickstarter.
What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?
To be even more proactive. To be aggressive about getting financing to speed up the development process. Bootstrapping is great, but if you can save months for a few percentage of equity and get a mentor in the process, how much would that be worth to you?
Do you have any tips to other ”new” entrepreneurs?
Try to get as many meetings and mentors as you can as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to get information that is hard to find. Write emails, ask for introductions. Apply for grants, programs. The sooner you get ‘in the system’ the faster things will go for you.