Kevin Larsen invented a portable baby monitor which streams to an iPhone and is trying to raise cash through Kickstarter.

Langford man kickstarts project

A Langford resident is among the first onboard Kickstarter in its second month in Canada.

A Langford resident is among the first onboard Kickstarter in its second month in Canada.

Kevin Larsen, a father of two, mechanical engineer and now president of Uberwatcher Technologies Inc., is using the online crowd sourcing platform in the hopes of getting his new baby monitor product, Uberwatcher, off the ground.

When Larsen and his wife Joann had their first child about two years ago, the proud parents decided to buy smartphones in order to make staying in touch easier. With all the different apps available they figured it would be simple to find a portable baby monitor product that could be integrated with their iPhones.

To their surprise, the search turned up fruitless.

“There wasn’t anything there that was portable,” Larsen said. “We searched and searched and then it was ‘OK, maybe there’s nothing out there yet, let’s see if it’s possible to do it.’”

Working with a friend in the computer industry, Larsen came up with a basic design and a wish list of functions and the two got to work. Camosun College printed a rudimentary model of the design on a 3-D printer, to give a better sense of the final product.

Then they started forging contacts with manufacturers, including one in China that turned out to be ideal. Now Larsen has a few prototypes to take around, use himself and take to baby fairs to gauge the response.

“Overwhelming response,” Larsen said. “There were people who wanted to buy it on the spot. Everybody loved it, they loved the idea, the concept, the portability. So that was great.”

Next came the hard part: the search for investors.

Larsen’s need for funding happened to coincide with Kickstarter launching in Canada on Sept. 9.

Kickstarter allows people from writers to filmmakers to inventors, to fund projects through the kindness of many. Instead of looking for one or two major investors, the site allows average people to pledge as little a $1 to a project. Each project sets a funding goal and a time limit. If the goal is met by the time limit, the creator gets the money; if it isn’t, all those who pledged get their money back.

“There was rumour that they were coming to Canada and as soon as they did, we jumped on that boat,” Larsen said. “They’re a fabulous site for getting good exposure for good projects.”

According to Kickstarter, since U.S. site launched in 2009, 5.9 million people have pledged $886 million to 52,000 projects. The site funded such products as the iPhone dock, numerous video games and  a watch that displays messages from an iPhone  that raised over $10 million on the site.

Larsen’s goal is to raise $89,000 by Dec. 29. As of Monday (Nov. 25) $2,567 had been pledged by 26  backers.

If the goal is met, the money will be used to order an initial production of 1,000 Uberwatchers to sell.

“Obviously if it took off, that would be fabulous,” Larsen said. “I want to get it out there for other parents too, because we fought with the mirror on the back seat (of the car to see the baby while driving).”

 

Learn more at kickstart.uberwatcher.com.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ocean Boulevard could open after Labour Day

Colwood council expected to discuss options later this month

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Sidney can ‘only educate and encourage’ people to social distance

CAO says municipality lacks legislative authority to enforce social distancing in public

$3,700 worth of bikes stolen in Oak Bay in just three days

Police receive reports of four stolen bikes from July 27 to 29

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

Province pledges $10.5 million for expansion of overdose prevention response

Canada signs deals with Pfizer, Moderna to get doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Earlier in July both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

Cyclist in hospital after being hit by load of lumber hanging from truck on B.C. highway

A man is in hospital with broken ribs, punctured lung and a broken clavicle and scapula

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Racism in B.C. healthcare: Deadline for First Nations survey coming up on Aug. 6

Survey comes after hospital staff allegedly played a blood alcohol guessing game

Most Read