A Kickstarter campaign that launched over the weekend has generated over $1 Million dollars only weeks after facing ridicule on the hit TV show Shark Tank. Mark Cuban labeled it “a dime a dozen gadget gimmick”, Kevin O’Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful) claimed it was so annoying he wanted to “squash [it] like a cockroach”, and company founder Jonas Hanway left the show with no funding and a bruised ego.
The product in question? The Thumbrella, literally an umbrella for your thumb designed to improve use of your smartphone in the rain.
If you think the idea is stupid you’re not alone, but you might be outnumbered: the Thumbrella has sold hundreds of thousands of units at $4 a pop in a matter of days, perhaps to compulsively early holiday shoppers looking for stocking stuffers.
Hanway admitted his overnight success includes luck, but refuses to concede it’s the only reason:
It goes to show that any press truly is good press, that’s for sure, but it’s also validation that the Thumbrella does fill a need, people do want it, and people are willing to pay for it.
Next time you’re using your phone in the rain I guarantee you’ll smile and think about Thumbrella.
Like most successful inventors and entrepreneurs, Hanway has a feverish passion for his product, whose business plan borders on crazy. He might be an overnight success, but he’s still broke: Hanway priced his Thumbrella at cost, meaning he’s profiting approximately $0 on his million dollar Kickstarter campaign.
Instead, he intends to leverage the success of Thumbrella towards new products and opportunities, including a social networking app that explores how weather, moods, and personalities are interconnceted. Let me know how that works out, Jonas!
The Thumbrella will be a limited run product available for the next 4 days through Kickstarter.