Kubicam’s lean startup
Product testing helps this Norwegian-American company to develop a webcam for the market
Lean Startup isn’t about being cheap, but is about being less wasteful and still doing things that are big. Too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want. They then spend months, sometimes years, perfecting that product without ever showing the product, even in a very rudimentary form, to the prospective customer. When they fail to reach broad uptake from customers, it is often because they never spoke to prospective customers and determined whether or not the product was interesting.
The Lean Startup is a method first proposed by Eric Ries in his bestseller from 2011. The method is based on his previous experience working in several U.S. startups. His overall claim is that if startups invest their time into iteratively building products or services to meet the needs of early customers, they can reduce the market risks and sidestep the need for large amounts of initial project funding and expensive product launches and failures. Today, the lean startup’s popularity has grown outside its Silicon Valley birthplace and has spread throughout the world.
A Norwegian startup wanting to make a new and cheaper solution for video conferences was inspired by the lean movement. They made a false camera for a few hundred dollars that convinced one of the world’s largest techno companies about their idea.
Kubicam was founded in 2013 with the mission to develop smart cameras and collaboration products. Founders were Stein Ove Eriksen and Anders Eikenes, both educated at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Their fields are electronics, design and digital systems, and physics. They decided to do something that most entrepreneurs don’t do. Long before they had a finished product they shared the unfinished idea with as many people as possible. They made a cheap little camera the size of a matchbox. This camera is going to be connected to TVs and make high-quality videoconferences at a reasonable price. They printed up 30 colorful paper cartons and bought a black suitcase. They used 3D printing to make mock-up cameras in plastic. The cameras were spray painted and had a lens attached. All was very cheap, and people liked the design and the concept. Inspired by the lean movement, the solution is to involve the customers from the start. This way you integrate product development and the sales process.
The Norwegian company is based in the Innovation House in Palo Alto, where Eikenes lives with his wife and two children, and the Startup Lab in Oslo. They are currently in the process of developing the hardware being built in Silicon Valley, while software for the device is programmed in Norway. The camera will have a 120-degree range, which will allow the users to have a full view of the room at the best quality possible.
Kubicam already cooperates with a huge international company. However, they will not disclose the name yet. We have to protect our immaterial rights and not be blue-eyed Norwegians. The goal is to have the first product ready a year from today!
This article originally appeared in the Dec. 5, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.