Monimoto Raised 50K EUR For Its Smart Motorcycle Alarm, Shipping to Begin in Spring
2017 January 17
Monimoto, the Vilnius-based makers of smart alarms for motorcycles, raised 50K+ EUR from Aurelijus Rusteika’s Delta Investment at a 150K+ EUR valuation. Now the company plans to start selling its initial batch in April-May in European markets.
Andrius Bruno Rimkunas, Monimoto’s sales and marketing manager, says the product initially started as an internal project at Eldes, the 60-strong makers of smart home alarm systems. It competed with other internal R&D projects and was left aside for some time, however, a passionate team eventually bought it out from Eldes and now it plans to conquer European and other markets.
Hi Andrius, so what Monimoto does, how it works, what problems does it solve?
Andrius: Monimoto is a stand-alone, fully autonomous alarm system. That means, to secure mobile properties, such as motorcycles, boats, cars and lawn mowers, people will be able to buy, install and use our system themselves, without technical knowledge or professional services hired. The pain comes from thefts and stolen vehicle recovery (15%). Available systems are too expensive (400eur+ subscriptions), too complicated (cheap trackers drain batteries and require technical knowledge) or… they were absent. So we decided to create a gadget - smart alarm system for mobile properties. The story goes back to 2013, when I invited Rolandas Dranseika, the former CEO of Eldes, for a lunch and pitched him my idea about bicycle lamp-tracker. We’ve changed the course afterwards quite a few times:)
Eldes is a successful alarms system manufacturer working in Vilnius since 2005. What originally was and what currently is Monimoto’s status at Eldes?
Andrius: When we started to work on Monimoto, it became Eldes’ internal project. Surely, it competed with other projects and products, as companies have limited R&D resources. So when Eldes’ board decided to focus solely on wireless home alarm systems, Monimoto project was left aside as a product which needs relatively too much technology, sales and other resources. At the same time, a planned management change kicked in. Rolandas, who then was Eldes’ CEO, left the company as a manager (but he is still an active shareholder and board member), we decided we would like to make an offer to Eldes and buy Monimoto project out as we strongly believed in it, let alone our skills, experience and competences to make it work. Abd so we negotiated with Eldes board members and investors and got this project.
What makes Monimoto stand out from competitors?
Andrius: We combine GPS, GSM/3G, Low Energy Bluetooth and other smart technologies. This allows our clients to install and use our systems with their smartphones seamlessly. That is a big step forward. Surely, there are plenty of ways to get alerted when your motorcycle is at risk, but we strive to make it extremely easy to achieve. Our target market is extremely huge. Last year in EU alone almost 700.000 new motorcycles were registered. Add boats, engines and some cars... Even one percent of this market sounds as an amazing opportunity for us.
How have you been funded? How did you find your latest investor?
Andrius: Initially we invested ourselves - our time and money. And we needed bigger investment to make sure we cover production and final development phases. So the raising begun in summer 2016. It took half a year, and our previous experience (roadshow with Startup Lithuania, also a failed startup MyLapse/Albumator at StartupHighway) helped a lot.
I knew I needed: A) angel/private investor, or a group of them; B) motorcycles and gadgets lover/enthusiast; C) his/her experience should help us make business better.
Aurelijus Rusteika was on my list and my friend introduced me to Aurelijus during Motorcycle season closing event in Vilnius, 2016 (I do ride a motorcycle as well). Things got much faster since then.
When and where will the product launch?
Andrius: We expect to sell initial batches in April and May, and to steadily increase production during the year. Our main markets are Italy, Spain, UK, France, Germany and Lithuania as a small but lovely home market. Sales channels will include retail stores, motorcycle accessory stores and and biggest distribution partner networks
You’ve been fundraising on Indiegogo initially. What are the key lessons learnt from this effort?
We failed and I lost 2 weeks of sanity (and sleep) in my life.
Even though we had a personal support from Indiegogo senior management (John Vaskis’ grandfather was Lithuanian), and their tips (we guess...) were right, we managed to underestimate the sad truths of online conversion. We’ve invested in Facebook lead generation, Google PPC other activities to generate the leads (it was less than 5%, even though I did hyper targeting), out of these leads only few came to our Indiegogo profile and backed us.
We did return the money back when the campaign was finished and covered Indiegogo commission ourselves.
Do not expect platforms to bring their user base to you. You are responsible for the audience yourself.
Only the top top performers appear on front pages.
Platforms are launching tens to hundreds of campaigns per day.
The hype is over.
Could you briefly introduce your core team?
Andrius: Rolandas Dranseika - CEO. He is the only founder working full time in the company at the moment. He’s everything - administrative, legal, operations, support.
Antanas Masevičius is the CTO, his strength is servers, infrastructure, protocols and integrations.
Me, I guess, should be introduced as CCO - commercial officer. My background and responsibility at Monimoto is marketing, business development, creative and B2B sales
We also work with our contract technology partners - firmware, mobile application, usability and design professionals.
Simply speaking - what’s next?
Andrius: To launch the first commercial batch in April. To deliver it to the clients we have already waiting. Later on, we’ve got a gazillion tasks to make sure our plan works well.