The Elevation Dock starts out as something simple: an iPhone dock. Unlike most accessories though, this one has quite the story behind it. Not only is it expertly crafted, but it is also a record-breaking product — record-breaking before it has even shipped. That is because the Elevation Dock is set to break the all-time Kickstarter fundraising record.
The design firm behind the iPhone dock is called Elevation Lab, and it was started four years ago by a fresh-out-of-college guy named Casey Hopkins. For the past four years, Hopkins has been working with a number of startups, helping them with the designs of their products. Although this paid the bills and was rewarding – Hopkins described it as “a feeling like no other to see something you made sitting on a shelf somewhere” – Hopkins decided that contracting out wasn’t enough.
The Elevation Dock started out with the plan of only creating one for personal use, that would sit on Hopkins’ desk. That wouldn’t stand though, as his friends and family all wanted the dock, so off to market he went. The problem with bringing a hardware product to market is one many startups face. To normally bring a product to market, it would cost at least $100,000 up front, and that is only for the first run of the product prototype.
Enter Kickstarter. After seeing the LunaTik project take off on Kickstarter, Hopkins realized that the fundraising site would be perfect. Not only would it be an excellent marketing channel for a virtually unknown design firm, but it would also negate all of the risks associated with an untested product.
With Kickstarter, Hopkins saw success that even he didn’t expect. While his original funding goal was $75,000, he has now gone far beyond that. Just north of $900,000 (at the time I hit the publish button), Hopkins expects the Elevation Dock to surpass the LunaTik record of $940,000 either today or tomorrow. This may seem like a large amount of money to raise in a day, but with the fundraising effort not ending for three full days (as well as the press from nearing the record), it is reasonable to expect this to happen.
The big question though, is what Hopkins will be doing next. He mentioned that he has thousands of messages to go through, with hundreds of companies contacting him to help them with their designs. However, Hopkins currently has plans on shipping 10,000 Elevation Docks before moving on to his next project. Much to my chagrin, he declined to elaborate on what these projects are. He did mention, though, that there are many overlooked products out there, ripe for disruption.
In all of this success there is one thing that has eluded him to date, the one thing he is waiting patiently for: a call from Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, Jony Ive telling him well done.