In the lead up to our Technicity event about crowdfunding, we are looking at the experiences Canadian businesses have had with the crowdfunding platforms currently available. In this Q&A, we hear from Gabriel Menard, founder of Division Furtive.
Division Furtive is an independent Montréal-based watchmaker that has designed a wrist watch where the traditional rotating hour and minute hands are replaced by horizontal linear cursors. Their Kickstarter campaign is currently still in progress, and they’ve raised more than $36,000 to manufacture Type 40 watches. The profits from the Type 40 watches will then go to help cover the manufacturing costs of the more elite Type 46 version.
Brian Jackson: Tell us your story, what is your project and why did you turn to crowdfunding?
Gabriel Menard: Working as a microelectronic engineer, I have always found it very frustrating to work behind the scenes, to design things that no one really sees. This is how, with time, my desire to create my own products grew. It’s only after traveling several times to China, working to get the mass-production of consumer electronics products started, that I came to realize that what I wanted was the complete opposite of what I was doing. Still, I had to find a niche. That’s how I started dreaming about making limited-edition watches.
BJ: How successful was the model of crowdfunding vs. your expectations of it?
GM: The choice to go the crowdfunding route was an easy choice because selling a product via crowdfunding has two main advantages: test-drive the market before investing too much (an interesting mixture of market research and sales effort) and raise capital without giving away equity. If the crowdfunding campaign would not have lifted off the ground, it would have been a good indicator there was something wrong with the product. As for equity, I feel it would be too speculative at such an early stage. For this project, equity-based would make sense but only later in the game when there’s more data to analyze.
BJ: Equity-based crowdfunding; is this something you’d want to participate in? Do you think it would be better than the crowdfunding style you took part in, or not? Why?
GM: The crowdfunding campaign exceeded my expectations on the very first day. After six days, the project was fully funded, leaving 24 more days to gather extra funds. This exceeded my best case scenario so I could not possibly be happier. Long life to crowdfunding!