Inventing and launching a consumer product and then having that product become so successful that you struggle to keep up with demand – is considered a “luxury problem” by most. It’s the stuff most aspiring entrepreneurs only dream of. But such a problem can also cause a major headache with cash flow and ability to deliver, and that’s exactly what happened to Eskil Nordhaug and his product company StayblCam – one of the most unique and talked about video stabilizers in the mobile video market. But now, thanks to the still fairly new concept of equity crowdfunding, the company has lived to tell the tale and plans to scale up bigger than ever with real investment help from ‘the crowd’.
The StayblCam was an instant hit when it launched on Kickstarter back in 2014 as the world’s first video stabilizer designed for both smart phones and compact cameras – way before electronic gimbals hit the mainstream. Since then, it has been sold to over 75 countries worldwide and as recently as December 2017 been named “best video stabilizer” in tests – despite various competitors coming on the market since.
The admittedly odd looking, yet very easy to use device – quickly became so popular that the company and its manufacturer could not keep up the pace with worldwide demand. It left the company in a “good problem to have” but nightmarish scenario of being forced to a full stop. The classical startup cash flow trap. In order to increase production capacity and fulfill wholesale deals with its big-brand partners – the company is seeking investments from the crowd through what is called equity crowdfunding. Their campaign is now live and already gaining momentum here.
“Our customers have been very supportive of us through our challenging time of delays and setbacks while we worked hard on finding the funds to keep up with demand. I am beyond excited to now give them and everyone else the opportunity to actually become part owners in this company that I started in my garage back in the day”, explains StayblCam CEO and inventor Eskil Nordhaug. “Equity crowdfunding is still a very new way of raising funds – but it truly is a perfect win-win for companies seeking the extra capital to grow – while at the same time rewarding its owners with real equity in the business. For companies like ours that already have the proven demand and solid sales history, we feel that our investors can feel more confident in our drive to succeed and join us in taking everything to the next level.”
The world of mobile video is still rapidly growing – with content creators of all ages and demographics recording more and more video every day. StayblCam has found a ‘sweet spot’ in this market, by still being the only video stabilizer that lets content creators record smooth and steady video with either a smartphone, an action camera, or even VR and 360 degree capable cameras. Competing video stabilizers on the market usually just work with one or two camera types and still cost more than the StayblCam.
“When I created the StayblCam, I wanted to make the most versatile and flexible product on the market. And we are still competitive to this day – thanks also to having a full patent on the product”, says Nordhaug. “We are also the only waterproof stabilizer, which lets our customers take it under water or in rough weather. And since it is mechanical, you will never run out of power. People love the fact that they can get very creative with filming angles too because the StayblCam has a collapsible, telescopic design”.
The company’s equity crowdfunding campaign, which is open for immediate investments here on StartEngine, lets anyone regardless of their background or location invest even small amounts in the company’s future. Ever since Title III of the JOBS Act was implemented by the SEC in May 2016, many startups have found this new way of fundraising to be extremely powerful.
Unlike traditional crowdfunding such as Kickstarter or IndieGoGo where backers may receive a t-shirt or gift rewards for their donation – the supporters of equity crowdfunding platforms such as StartEngine become actual investors who with a few clicks can directly purchase shares and units as issued by the startup. Gone are the days of having to be part of the one percent - accredited investors with a huge bankroll just for the privilege of investing.
Companies such as StayblCam and their fans can now both mutually benefit from fundraising this way. The company is also offering up several perks to investors at various levels, which can be seen on their campaign page.
“Going through the due diligence process for this way to raise funds took time, and there was understandably a lot of paperwork and approvals we had to pass in order to meet the legal requirements to offer up equity to the public”, adds Nordhaug. “But I’m glad it works this way because it also gives confidence to investors that we have met all the criteria for accepting investments – and it really is a great opportunity for people to become part owners along with us. Unlike banks and lenders, who really could care less if you succeed or not as long as they get their money back – people who invest and get equity literally have a stake in the game and will also be on your team wanting you to succeed. This is an overlooked benefit that I think more startups should consider with this type of funding.”
For StayblCam and its other upcoming, patent pending video products – the future looks promising from a market perspective. 64% of the world’s 4 Billion mobile phone owners regularly use their phone to record video. Sales of action cameras and VR/360 capable cameras are seeing a 22% and 35% growth rate in the next couple of years, respectively. With 400 hours of video content uploaded to YouTube every minute – and people wanting to create better looking content on a budget – products like the affordably priced StayblCam is sure to remain a hit with amateur and professional videographers alike.
Use of proceeds for this first round of StayblCam’s equity crowdfunding raise will go towards building up inventory and securing a ‘demand proof’ manufacturing process. With a good stock of inventory, and stabilized production – the company expects to finally meet the demands of not only direct consumer sales but also many of the pending wholesale and partnership opportunities detailed on its StartEngine page.
“I believe that as we continue to grow our sales and customer base worldwide – larger players in the mobile accessories space will begin to take note of what we are creating with this brand”, says Nordhaug. “My goal is to make StayblCam a household name in consumer video – but also one that is synonymous with unique and creative solutions, quality, and ease of use. And now the crowd can help us make that happen.”