A crowdfunding campaign in jeopardy

After finishing my review of failed crowdfunding campaigns, I found Olive: A Wearable to Manage Stress, an almost completed Indiegogo campaign. I see a number of warning signs there, as judged by the information on the project page:

  1. They don’t mention what results they achieved so far in detecting stress.
  2. They didn’t demonstrate that their solution helps to reduce stress.
  3. They haven’t disclosed what experience they have with mechanical production and doesn’t list any such competence in the team.
  4. The technical solution is not proven yet — the electronics isn’t yet designed to fit in the (thin) bracelet.
  5. The plan and time schedule doesn’t go into such detail as to convince the team has a good idea what work lies ahead.
  6. They don’t discuss what risks they see with the project

I don’t mean to show disrespect for the great progress Olive made so far and I’m not saying the project will fail — but I would not trust a project that doesn’t account for the points above.

In contrast, Embrace is a similar on-going project, also measuring stress but geared towards medical use and epilepsy detection. This is a project with better control over risk; the team has already completed similar products, the effect of the product is already documented and they have a working prototype (albeit without the full functionality).

Speaking in general, Embrace sets itself up to a reasonable task (I’m not comparing with Olive here). Embrace has a conservative design which makes the electronics and battery easy to fit. They have a clearly defined use case which lets them avoid adding lots of peripheral features that would make the project harder. Not to say Embrace is fully proven; some features are speculation and for example an open API is easy to promise but trickier to deliver.

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