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Hi, I'm Mike. (long time lurker, first time poster)


#1

I’m Mike, one of two founders bootstrapping Kindera, a home WiFi solution for parents. (https://kindera.com). I consider myself a novice entrepreneur even after the past three years and shipping a device with SaaS subscription model. Today’s introduction likely precedes a few new topics with my questions for the community. And if I can muster the courage perhaps some answers for others where my experience is of value. (Lurkers gonna Lurk)

Kindera is my first successful product launch. That is, if we measure success by the fact that we ship a real device, have customers, and they seem to like it. Tho, real financial success is yet to come because bootstrapping a hardware company is hard. For the first few years, profits go to turning over the inventory.

As an offering to the community, here’s my Lesson Learned from Kindera: Be very cautious about any business with a LTV under $500; you may find your CAC eats all of your profit. Personally, I wont consider bootstrapping another product launch with a LTV under $2000. This, I suspect, is why everyone likes B2B businesses and you get strange looks doing anything B2C today. We’re still improving Kindera and are working on a product roadmap to move that LTV number higher.

Cheers,
Mike


#2

Welcome, Mike! You’re from my neck of the woods (SW Ontario, and UW is my alma mater) so that’s nice to see here. Kindera looks very interesting and you may have a potential customer in me when my kids are older!


#3

Congrats! Seems like a device parents would like. And launching a HW product is I"m sure no small feat. (We’re pretty spoiled with software). OTOH, hopefully less competition.

I’m curious whether you had to start from scratch or whether you were able to take some “off the shelf” router and add some OSS firmware. (And I understand if that’s proprietary. I’m an engineer, can’t help but dive deep in the weeds).

Did you consider selling it SaaS? (Seems particularly good for a h/w company. Once they stop using it you actually get something back). I HATE renting h/w but the Cable company seems to rent the set top device to everyone.


#4

And I guess the kids who finds the FAQ and resets it gets to go to Battle School with Ender Wiggins (or gets to be The Last Star Fighter) right ?

One upsell would be linking Access Time to a Kahn Academy account .


#5

Into the weeds we go:

Yes we sourced a HW platform out of China but did not choose their OpenWRT SDK path. Instead we built our own distro by following the CLFS template. I’m not sure that was the best choice but we did it because it allows us to avoid GPLv3 problems. We used OSS wherever the license was favorable, and wrote custom stuff where we keep our secret sauce.

We are chasing that SaaS idea now. Having a working (demonstrable) SW stack makes those conversations easier.

As far as Renting HW goes, I agree with you, and most people feel the same. We are giving away the cloud services right now, but have a roadmap to turn this into a freemium model. Buying HW gets you most of the features, monthly subscription will be tied to things that are above and beyond the basic value prop: data retention for trend analysis, traffic shaping, etc.


#6

The stories I could tell about kids doing factory resets… or the hacking attempts on our cloud… As ex-BlackBerry people we have some security DNA that is serving us well.