STX shows how crowd-funding is helping young entrepreneurs

Jan Vykydal

Street Technology Experiments started life as the side project of a few people from the Headtrax Technologies concept team who wanted to mix fashion with simple electronics.

The result – a hoodie that connects drawstring earbuds (lacephones) with any smartphone through hidden channels within the hoodie’s lining – is now being launched exclusively through crowd funding platform Indiegogo.

“Within the first few days of working on ideas I created STX Hoodie and knew it was something Headtrax Technologies would seriously review,” says William Henry Miller, the man behind the idea.

Pairing with Headtrax Technologies was natural for the 26-year-old Sydney-based entrepreneur.

“Without their relationships, advice and insider knowledge we’d have struggled to bring this idea to life,” he says.

Headtrax proposed that if Miller could raise awareness and demonstrate the financial viability of the STX hoodie, Headtrax would consider releasing it through their sales channels in the United States and Australia. Enter Indiegogo.

If ideas can continue to be successfully funded, it shows young creators who are just starting out that they can do this, too.

“Crowd funding platforms now allow for businesses such as Headtrax Technologies to truly test market uptake with new products and their viability with much less risk – especially finance based – as backers can financially support the idea by pre-ordering products, which at the same time shows consumer validation,” says Miller.

“We reached our funding target within the first hour of the launch, so this was a huge success.”

Miller says crowd funding platforms have been hugely helpful for budding entrepreneurs, and that because of the nature of how the platforms work, consumers feel much more connected to the brands they support and help bring to life. Without them, Miller says many ideas would never see the light of day.

“If ideas can continue to be successfully funded, it shows young creators who are just starting out that they can do this, too,” he says.

But for all the success people have with crowd funding, Miller says finding ways to connect young entrepreneurs with financiers and investors is still important. Sometimes ideas fail because backers are out of reach or just unknown to entrepreneurs.

For now, the challenge for Miller is to prove the quality of the STX hoodie to consumers through digital platforms. The hoodie (which is easy to wash, by the way – just remove the internal cables) has received positive feedback so far, so the support of early adopters who leave reviews online for other people to see will be important.

“We hope the Australian government continue their great work in supporting startups,” says Miller, “and hopefully in the future they start to help connect innovation with finance in ways that will support our own Australian economy for years to come.”

Jan Vykydal

Jan is a Sydney-based writer and editor whose work has been published in a stable of titles including the National Post, The Daily Planet and Edmonton Examiner. He is currently Editor at ShortPress.

Image: Supplied