The entrepreneurial American dream couldn't be any easier. You have an idea and you let it blossom into a business. Bing bang boom. But what if the idea is to build a stand alone piece of hardware that augments your athletic training with real time statistics, feedback, and motivation? Unless the entrepreneuer is an existing major brand or has major funding connections, even the brightest industrial designers, engineers, and businessmen would have a hell of time raising the capital needed to even begin R&D, let alone manufacturing and marketing costs. If they do find a venture capitalist to fund them, the VC will end up owning a large portion of their idea.

 

There's a canyon of accessability between the entrepreneur who wants to build a product, and you, the consumer who wants to see the idea realized. Consider Kickstarter the bridge.

 

kickstarter, athletic kickstarters, sports related kickstarters, smart watches, Kickstarter.com has been a game changer for countless entreprenerers, leveling the playing field by letting consumers directly decide if an idea is worth seeing realized. An individual contribution, and therefore vote of confidence, can be echoed many times over. Eventually, all these individual investors have an idea realized. For example, getting the Pebble smart watch fully funded in exchange for a tiered reward package that included being the first to own the device at a discounted price. The first app to partner with the smart watch is Runkeeper, the running app I previously reviewed here.

 

All Eric Migicovsky of Pebble asked for was $100,000. He received over $10 million in funding from 69,000 investors. Not bad for a 25 year old engineer.

 

So where to begin? I've compiled a list of the top Kickstarter campains you, my fellow athlete, should support today.

 

Syre - Bluetooth iPad Nano Watch Case

 

Anye Spivey aims to fix my biggest gripe with arm bands and headphones. Heads are not meant to be tethered to biceps. Headphone cords running up your arm, under your shirt, behind the head, wrapped around your neck...whatever your strategy, will distract your form whether you know it or not. I'm not just talking about running either. I noticed my deadlifts were dragging on my left side, out of fear of ripping earbuds from my ear holes.

 

The Syre fixes this problem by integrating a bluetooth transmitter into a durable heat resistant silicone watch case, molded to fit the nano perfectly. This will enable you send music to a pair of wireless, bluetooth enabled headphones.

 

A few of the tiered pledge awards include:

  • $5 or more: A full color commemorative montage of photos, drawings and other important items printed on 8.5" x 11" card stock.
  • $50 or more: One SYRE watch case WITH Bluetooth capability in the color of your choice.
  • $150 or more: One 8GB iPod Nano, one SYRE watch case WITH Bluetooth capability in the color of their choice and one pair of high quality stereo Bluetooth headphones.

 

See full details as well as a full list of rewards at the Syre Kickstarter page.

 

Disclaimer: I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Spivey before the launch of the Kickstarter campain. He showed me the prototype and I was instantly sold on it once it was on my wrist. My contribution to the campain was helping him shoot this product video.

 

 

 

 

Alpha - The Holy Grail of Heart Rate Monitors

 

As an athlete you know that monitoring your heart rate can yield valuable information about performance gains and thresholds. It's too bad that accurate monitoring requires chest straps. I don't like chest straps. If you like chest straps, this Kickstarter isn't for you. This Kickstarter is for the rest of us.

 

Alpha comes from the mind of Liz Dickinson who invented the MIO heart rate watch back in 2001, so this isn't her first rodeo. Dickinson teamed up with biomedical engineers from Philips electronics, to place sensors on the inside of the watch band for real time heart rate monitoring. Even at those high anaerobic zones we often hit.  You know, the kind that makes some heart rate monitors error out and call 911 for you.

 

A few of the tiered pledge awards include:

  • $99 or more: Get an Alpha and either a Bluetooth 4.0 or Ant+ compatibility (will work with many heart rate mobile software)
  • $199 or more: Get an Alpha and either a Bluetooth 4.0 or Ant+ compatibility with a one-year Gold membership to MapMyRun.com to track activity.

 

See full details as well as a full list of rewards at the Alpha Kickstarter page.

 

 

 

 

Bia: A GPS Sports Watch for Women (That Men Want, Too)

 

GPS watches cram a ton of technology into a tiny device on your wrist. Sort of. GPS watches are still bulky. Cheryl Kellond, CEO & Co-Founder at Bia Sport, has both the experience and drive to create a stylish, compact watch, as a professional product manager as well as triathlete.  The watch sits on your wrist at an angled orientation, making for easier display of the time, stopwatch, intervals, heart rate, and calories burned. The device "outsources" GPS functionality to the Bia Go Stick which you can stow away in a pocket or clip onto your waist. The Bia is water resistant to 100 meters and includes a safely alert for peace of mind during your solo session.

 

A few of the tiered pledge awards include:

  • $99 or more: Get one Bia sports watch with your choice of sold colored band.
  • $199 or more: Get one Bia sports watch with any solid band and a Bia GPS Go Stick

 

See full details as well as a full list of rewards at the Bia Kickstarter page.

 

 

 

 

These three campaigns still need support to successfully begin shipping products as of the week of June 24th, 2012.  

 

A few successful campaigns you might be interested in are:

 

I'm actually getting ready to launch my own Kickstarter campaign aimed at funding a think tank to help me come up with an awesome Kickstarter campaign. For some reason I can't get any venture capitalist to help me out.

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