Here's our story on how we build the Envavo Heatbuff from scratch without any prior knowledge on how to develop hardware.
How we went viral on Imgur several times, why we crowdfunded a project that was only an idea with a simple prototype and how we got the idea while playing video games in Emil's basement!
It all started with an idea. The idea that no one should ever suffer from cold hands while gaming. We got this idea because we played CS:GO in Emil's basement. We both had cold hands and no we didn't hit our shots while playing.
That's when Emil drew the initial idea for the Envavo Heatbuff in Paint and posted it to Imgur. The post went viral but was deleted because we feared someone would "steal" our idea.
We later presented the idea of an infrared gaming heater for our class during a project week. Everyone laughed at us, but we kept on working! 🙂
Fast forward 6 months...
We then build the first prototypes, prepared for our Kickstarter campaign and started spreading the word online.
2 months later..
We had worked hard on getting the prototype to work, with many setbacks (including many melted prototypes as the one you can see to the right)
Final 1.0 prototype version
We gave our prototype a paint job and went to a photographer to get some pictures taken for our Kickstarter which was scheduled to launch just three months after we started building prototypes!
Working on the Kickstarter campaign
When you prepare for a crowdfunding campaign you have many hats, and we made our video with a budget of absolutely nothing. The most expensive thing was the pizza we bought for the volunteering zombies in our video.
Below you see us making the smoke effect underneath the magical machine that produces the Envavo Heatbuff in our Kickstarter video
National TV and 2.0 Prototype
About 3 months after our Kickstarter campaign we were invited into national television to participate in the Danish version of "Shark Tank" or "Dragons Den" called "Løvens Hule". This was a fun experience with many learnings.
We build the first 2.0 prototype the night before, and it stood its first test being turned on for a longer period while being filmed for national television.
Prototype 3.0 and 4.0
Six months later in February 2018 we had solved so many development problems. The biggest issue was that we essentially had set us a goal to develop the world's smallest infrared heater which you should be able to touch.
This was an extremely hard task, but we nailed it and now "only" had to prepare for production.
The most important thing while developing for us is to get user feedback, and to beta test all the time to ensure that the end result is actually something people would want to use.
Therefore we invested a lot of money making prototypes and beta testing at a net cafe in Denmark.
Preparing for Production
After our beta tests (which you can see on the picture to the right) we started turning the functional prototype into a product that could be manufactured in a larger scale since we had a very high number of preorders from our website as well as from Kickstarter.
Finding the right suppliers
We spend months finding the best suppliers, both inside and outside of Europe. We decided from the beginning that we wanted to manufacture in Denmark because of the high quality and because it's close to "home" so we can change this quickly in case something goes wrong.
To the left, you see one of the grills, which has a special coating so you won't burn your hands from a slight touch. This part took months to find the right one, as the special coating is extremely hard to make.
We had to narrow down from 30 to 5 and then to 1 manufacturer when we decided who should make our grills and coat them.
We went to Skive, the Danish capital of production and manufactured the first batch ready to be shipped out to our 1000+ preorders and backers from Kickstarter. The production process can be seen in the video to the right.
To the left, you can see a gallery from version 1 through 5. There have been many iterations of all the versions, but version 5 is the final and production ready version.