Kickstarter Projects for Small Business
The crowd-sourcing phenomenon Kickstarter isn’t just for comic books and vanity movie projects. Look closely and you'll find independently developed products that your small business can put to good use. Check out these five ongoing or recently funded Kickstarter projects that squarely target small-business needs.
POP Portable Gadget Charger
POP is a massive, attractively designed, rechargeable battery that can juice up to four gadgets simultaneously via cords that retract into its base. At its full load of 25,000mAh of power, according to the manufacturer, POP can charge as many as 10 iPhones before needing to be plugged in itself. The battery supports Apple and MicroUSB devices via a single, converting adapter cable. $129 gets you one.
Status: Still open; goal met.
SurfEasy SE1 Plug-in Privacy
Using a Windows or Mac computer whose security features are unknown or iffy? Plug the SurfEasy into any USB port, and your own encrypted Internet browser will pop up. Everything gets stored on the password-protected key, with no traces of your browsing left behind. When you're finished, you can stow the SurfEasy in a credit-card-size storage device so that you don't lose it. $60.
Status: Funded; now on sale at Amazon.
Botiful Telepresence Robot
Corporate videoconferencing gets an upgrade with the Botiful, a gadget that turns any Android smartphone into a telepresence robot. Instead of gazing at the wall, you maneuver the tiny, wheeled robot around the table or floor. Colleagues see your mug on the screen. You see what's going on through a feed from the front-mounted camera. $199 to preorder (units are limited).
Status: Still open; goal not met.
Plug any storage device into the USB port on the CloudFTP, and it becomes wirelessly accessible via the Internet, on your iPad--or pretty much anywhere else. The CloudFTP will also back up your files to Dropbox automatically. A built-in battery provides about 5 hours of running time before requiring a recharge. $100.
Status: Funded; now on sale direct from the manufacturer.
JuiceTank iPhone Case and Charger
The JuiceTank is a nifty idea for people who never seem to have a phone charger handy: Two prongs swing out of the back of this iPhone case, enabling you to plug it directly into a standard wall socket. No additional hardware is required. The JuiceTank is available in black or white.
The maker has already planned a version for the next iPhone, whenever that model arrives. $55 to $75, depending on color.
Status: Closed; goal met; not yet shipping.