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

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

An architectural rendering provides a look at PC Urban’s proposal for three buildings on the former Galaxy Motors property at 1764 Island Hwy. in Colwood. (Rendering courtesy of PC Urban)
Commercial/industrial development planned for former Galaxy Motors site

Colwood proposal goes to public hearing Jan. 25

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Saanich has awarded the tender for a youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive to Bike Track Ltd. for $242,000. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich selects company to build youth bike skills track at Tripp Station Park

More than $240,000 allotted for Bike Track Ltd. to design bike park

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head inmates in Metchosin receive their first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Most Read