It was literally a pain in the butt that led two Australian tech entrepreneurs to develop a million dollar idea. Inspiration can come from anywhere, as Andrew Hagen, CEO of Cycliq will tell you. The West Australian start-up raised close to $1 million for their bicycle cameras Fly6 and Fly12, in a Kickstarter campaign.
He and his business partner Kingsley Fiegert took up cycling as part of a training regime to climb Mt Kilimanjaro about 10 years ago. It was 4 years ago when Mr Fiegert was cycling by himself up a hill, that he was approached by some young men. “They pulled up next to him and shot him with an elasticated slingshot at point blank range – right in the butt,” Mr Hagen says. And that’s how Cycliq was born.“ It was the inspiration for our business to have cameras on bikes that can record these events and provide some justice,” he says.
The company has sold more than 20,000 products across 28 countries. They receive a recording of terrifying encounters with motorists (and trees, and siderails, and animals) almost daily. The footage is then uploaded to the Cycliq website. After last week’s terrifying hit and run in Sydney, the availability of camera’s for cyclists to record their rides couldn’t be more necessary.
Mr Hagen says the cameras are making a positive impact, and it’s not just for what you would expect, to hold drivers accountable. Since development it was soon realised that if motorists knew bikes had cameras, they would be more cautious, just like drivers are when they know there’s an upcoming speed camera.
Mr Hagen says having a camera does not always prevent an incident from happening. But there have been instances when the footage has been successfully used in court, with both police and insurance claims.
Cycliq’s success started with two Kickstarter campaigns, where they raised almost $1 million in capital. It was the campaign that gave both Mr Hagen and Mr Fiegert the product validation they needed. The entrepreneurial duo had issues getting a bank on board to lend them the initial start-up costs, so they took to crowdfunding. And it is a unique platform, one that Mr Hagen is now seeing established companies use to generate pre-sales and marketing, which, he says, “ is great for everyone.”