“I studied a lot, worked a lot. Have gained a good position in a big company, rented a nice apartment near the metro, lived with a girl, took us on holiday to Europe, bought nice suits and shirts and in the end — “depressed”,” says co-founder of Vibe Life Technologies Gregory Ugric. At that moment, he realized that he no longer wants just to make money, and wants to create a new product. To do this he had to spend all his savings, borrow from friends and ten months, become homeless.
As a result, he along with his partner Alexander Yeliseyev has developed a device for the visualisation of weather forecasts WeatherBox. “Many people have the desire to do business for the sake of business — thats what I do, I like the whole a businessman, and so cool. We had a desire to create a cool product. And on this basis we created the company,” recalls Ugric.
The device connects to the server of the meteorological office, downloads the weather data and temperature and renders the climate. If the fog — WeatherBox generates steam if the rain, then from the upper reservoir the water begins to drip. The product is configured only once during installation using the application, and will not require user intervention.
The idea of WeatherBox came to partners in April 2014, when the Ugric posted to Instagram a picture with the image of an empty advertising box, and one of the subscribers suggested that design can be used for advertising the weather service. Ugric together with his longtime other Government University of management Moscow Alexander Yeliseyev began to develop the idea.
“Then we thought it was funny to take and to push the weather in a box” — says the entrepreneur. By August 2015 the partners the project was ready to the device. According to the businessman, in theory it look easy. You need to take one container of water, put it over the same empty tank and connect with a pump.
To connect multiple generators to simulate clouds and fog, and white LEDs to simulate snow. Then the control system is synchronized with the weather forecast service, and runs one of the scenarios. If its raining, water starts to drip from the upper reservoir at the bottom. If cloudy, then the steam generator renders clouds, and so on.
“In fact, it was difficult all. The case tech, the development of the electronics are gone forever, same thing with the topology of the chip. The inner elements always capricious, the case was fogged up. Once the housing flowed directly into the table while I was at home, and only miraculously filled all the electronics,” says Ugric.
To implement the project, the partners went to work in large companies and in August 2015 was discovered in the garage Eliseeva first Assembly shop, where he tried to solve all the problems identified. The first stable working pattern happened only by November 2016. “We were office employees, and from the beginning we had to learn everything themselves. Alexander was engaged in the manufacture of the hull, I had to read a few books about electronics to create a system of device management,” says Ugric.
With a prototyping circuit Board and a programming controller, partners friends helped the developers. With the onset of winter 2015 the authors WeatherBox decided to find a more warm and spacious room. As a result, they rented a few rooms on the plant name Ukhtomsky.
At the same time Ugric realized that project Finance may not be enough to release so he decided to refuse to rent an apartment in Moscow and moved to the plant. “It was a “pirate haven”. A territory with no law and order, — says the entrepreneur. There was a shower, toilet, electricity, and two rats, hostel workers, night raids of the police and just endless freedom”.
In one room, the partners opened their “laboratory”, and the other moved the old refrigerator and electric stove, equipped kitchenette and a sports area. Spending was less, but the money is still not enough. Practicing on buildings for WeatherBox, Elisha learned to work with acrylic.
Then he offered to open a manufacturing flower pots, and then the decor items that the company could survive until the first sales. All entrepreneurs have invested about two million rubles, of which one million only on the development of the weather Visualizer. In December 2015, Japanese engineers and designers launched on the platform Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for the production of a similar device called Tempescope. “When we saw it and got upset.
We were absolutely sure that they will collect the full amount — more than 21 million rubles. And they worked on the project, five adult men and programmers, and producers and so on,” recalls Ugric. In the first six days of the project, the Japanese collected $190 thousand, but in the end he drew only 70% of the required amount. At that time the developers busy with construction for several years, but they are unable to solve the problems that decided Ugric and Elisha.
Eventually Tempescope never entered the retail sale. “Product of the Japanese is seen as a stray drips and condensation remain on the glass. When they dry out, will be a careless divorces. And we abandoned the glass in the demonstration compartment. We have it completely through — you can stick your arm.
For this purpose we made a special “trap” for dripping, and they dont fly out of the body on the table,” says Ugric. In July 2016 the company decided to move to new premises, closer to Moscow. At the site near the “Ostankino” partners have been able to finish developing a functional prototype in December 2016 launched its crowdfunding company platform Boomstarter. She was completed on 10 January 2017, however, the sponsors donated only one-fifth of the required amount.
On Boomstarter a project of production Board games collect millions of rubles, because the user is clear what the product is. Hell buy a Board game and will play it. Plus, she is worth three thousand rubles, and our device is 12 thousand rubles. So many were not ready to buy.
But we believe that the goal we reached. Our task was to make about the product talking. For us Boomstarter has become a litmus test — we started there, not in order to raise money. According to the businessman, donors are not willing to pay such a high price for a new device at the stage of pre-sales.
“Its funny, but many said. “We are likely to buy, but would first look at the device and touch it with your hands”. That is, many are willing to buy it, but only at the stage of retail sales”. In addition, many potential buyers do not understand the purpose of the device.
“We anticipate that our customers will be people who love stylish interior. Ive seen comments where people write that it is an unnecessary bauble. But were not positioning the product as a means to address overarching issues. He does not feed children in Africa, and will generate clean energy. Rather, it is a beautiful and unusual piece of furniture, which wholly relates to the Internet of things,” says Ugric.
Despite the unsuccessful campaign, the developers plan to bring the project to the end. Start of retail sales is scheduled for August 2017. In retail the device will be 19.9 thousand rubles. “We are not tied to WeatherBox as the main source of income, we produce many side products.
Therefore, we are not critical, even if in a month will be sold to only one device,” explains Ugric. The missing funds Ugric and Eliseev plan to take from the profits from the sale of other products of the company — decoration items from acrylic. In addition, the company is now working on a project in the field of consumer electronics — the authors want to create a portable charger on solar batteries.
“In terms of our cloud cover at the station while low efficiency, so were not doing a project closely. Here you want to seriously engage in the development of the electronic component, because the purchase of Chinese components will not get. Here, as in the case of WeatherBox. If you want something done well, do it yourself,” says Ugric.
In that case, if the WeatherBox will not achieve commercial success in Russia, Ugric and Elisha are planning to enter foreign markets. “We are sure that from the point of view of the attractiveness of the price we in the West will win. The difficulty is to tell about the device — it concerns advertising and marketing. Also difficulties may arise due to the fact that we are a Russian company,” explains Ugric.
In parallel, the partners are in talks with Russian investors to obtain the necessary funds to scale production. “It seems to me, in Russia very few stories about the production of high-tech hardware products. I can only remember the safety ring Nimb. First and foremost, we plan to sell the device here in Russia, and then to expand to international markets, because there is a demand there really is.
Scored the Japanese company several hundred thousand dollars,” concludes the entrepreneur.