After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the TCU students behind DropShades said they are expecting their first product shipment next month.
Over the summer, Harrison Herndon, Skylar Perkins and Nick Cate turned to the crowd-fundraising website Kickstarter to seek additional capital for DropShades.
DropShades are audio-responsive party glasses that light up to the beat of music. Using a small microphone connected to a signal processor, incoming sound is translated across LED lights on the front of the glasses.
Herndon, DropShades president and senior political science major, said the company initially set out to raise $15,000, but the Kickstarter community responded with over $78,000, making DropShades the most successful Kickstarter campaign in Fort Worth to date.
Through Kickstarter, investors can contribute to products and ideas in exchange for merchandise such as t-shirts, credit, or in this case, a pair of DropShades, Herndon said.
With the money raised via Kickstarter and other outside investors, DropShades improved their prototype and increased their manufacturing capabilities, Herndon said.
Skylar Perkins, DropShades' vice president and senior entrepreneurial management major, said, "The money raised went towards several things, first purchasing the inventory, second building the plastic injection mold and third engineering.”
The DropShades team decided to go the Kickstarter route for fundraising because it allowed them to retain all equity in their company while also gauging the response of their product over the Internet, Herndon said.
Since going on sale May 27, more than 2,300 pairs of DropShades have sold, Perkins said. He added that’s about $78,000 worth of sales.
Herndon said he and TCU alumnus Nick Cate first thought about developing DropShades while at a concert in November 2011.
“We saw people wearing these sound-activated equalizing T-shirts and we thought they were really cool,” Herndon said. “So, we had this idea to create our own sound equalizing technology that would go on your face.”
Five prototypes and two patents later, DropShades is now looking to expand the brand to club scenes in Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles and Dallas as well as major music festivals around the world, Herndon said.
Herndon and Perkins said they hope their work on DropShades inspires other TCU students to pursue their own businesses and products.
The two entrepreneurs said working on DropShades has been an invaluable learning experience and they have enjoyed meeting business professionals and celebrities while promoting their eyewear.
DropShades sell for $40.00 a pair and are available to buy at getdropshades.com. Current orders will be delivered in mid-October.
For more information on DropShades and to see the shades in action, visit their Kickstarter page.