Update: On November 25 the $100,000 Kickstarter goal was passed, with 27 days left on the campaign, which ends December 22.
A proverb says a good beginning is half the battle. Based on this, Zikto is well on its way to victory, having reached half of its Kickstarter goal on the first day.
Zikto are the developers of Arki, a wearable that helps to improve the walking posture of their users. While the technology and design are similar to many other products in the market, cofounders Ted Kim, Shawn Kim, and David Suh believe they know why their Kickstarter campaign has been so successful. They told us that 80 percent of the population is not walking correctly; Arki analyzes this and suggests improvements for better posture and health.
Raising so much, so quickly on Kickstarter is a rare case. But this seemingly fairy-tale story has a different reality if you scratch the surface. For example, even though funding is now flooding in on Kickstarter, development of Arki took the team an entire year. Having completed a working prototype, the whole team even flew over to the U.S. for a meeting with Kickstarter prior to launching their campaign. They also visited with members of the tech media in the U.S. to increase exposure of their campaign. Thanks to powerful self-confidence and persistence, they were able to achieve funding on Kickstarter far beyond their expectations.
Despite thorough preparation, a project without solid content cannot succeed. Why would global customers pay attention to Arki when there are numerous similar wearables in the market?
Unlike other devices, Arki analyzes not only the number of steps, but also the quality of users’ posture while they are walking. Their service is much more than the basic step counter that many other health wearables offer. Arki is a competitive strategy to coach users to walk correctly. It is actually facilitating better health, rather than just commenting on user behavior.
The three key functions are as follows:
- Vibrating alarm: The alarm vibrates on the wrist when the user has bad posture. This might include habitually looking at a smartphone, putting hands in pockets, or dragging feet. The app provides an analysis of the user’s daily walking patterns.
- Body balance analysis: The small band on the wrist can detect body imbalance because the movement of one’s feet determines arm movement. The wristband can identify the level of body imbalance by comparing the amount of swing of left and right arms. Since analyzing walking posture also enables assessment of which body part is out of shape or distorted, the device provides necessary workouts as well. Clinical trials are currently in progress with a Korean university hospital. These trials will be used to validate the hypotheses and as research to further improve the accuracy of analytics.
- Biometrics: Personal walking patterns become a personal password. While fingerprints, DNA, and iris recognition have dominated identity confirmation, other methods are now opening up new opportunities. In fact, the entire body offers potential for identity recognition as a mobile password. And there is huge potential to use this in the IoT industry. Certifying a user’s walking pattern is required only once, instead of fingerprints, which are required each time.
The battleground of wearables is heating up, and the old challengers, such as Fitbit and Misfit, may well be given a run for their money with the release of the iWatch next February. But the team at Arki is confident that their technology, which is laser-focused on our walking patterns, will stay ahead of the curve in this niche.
In a growing trend in Korea, the team behind Arki all came from secure and promising corporate careers in Korea. Ted Kim, the CEO, was on a management fast-track program at LG. Shawn Kim, the CTO, was a healthcare and mobile security manager at SK Telecom. And David Suh, the CFO, had a promising career ahead of him in the financial services industry.
Founding (and funding) a hardware startup is a costly business, and the sacrifices of financing their prototype were high. “Even the cost of funding a successful Kickstarter campaign can be high,” stated one of the founders. For this reason, many companies start crowdfunding projects after receiving initial investment. But Arki were able to use personal finances to build the prototype and get to a stage where it could launch a Kickstarter campaign.
Arki is dedicated to creating wearables that don’t look like bulky sci-fi apparatuses. The characteristic of the design is that it minimizes the tech aspect and looks more like a fashion item. Zikto has also collaborated with a local watchmaker on the design of a number of straps for the device.
What does the team plan for the future? Well, they look set to cruise past their $100,000 Kickstarter goal, and from there they’ll continue to work toward getting their device prepared for commercial release. Beyond that, they want to keep the fun-loving and hardworking spirit they’ve built over the last year.
“We want the company to be a fun place for team members to work in. So far, everyone is having fun, to the point that they don’t feel like going on a date (laugh),” joked Zitko CEO Ted Kim. “Our motto is ‘Do what I can do well.’ It is important to find a point where companies can turn a profit while maintaining the culture of a startup,” he added.
This story originally appeared on beSUCCESS.