Tag Archives: Techstars

The Journey to Texas

6 Mar

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Hello all,

Our adventure is in full swing, and we have completed the first leg of our trip – an extremely memorable journey from the Big Easy across to central Texas. We are comfortably settled into our hotel in Austin now and ready to tackle the next few days. Check out Mr. Strauss’ glorious video of our adventure here:

Our journey began with our departure from the RGA offices in New York. We flew to New Orleans, and arrived just in time to see the final moments of Mardi Gras. We  departed early the next morning with a team of ten guys, a bunch of gear and several pristine Hammerhead prototypes crammed into a 12 seater van. We rolled through the swamps of Louisiana covered in their Spanish moss, and then finally into the crisp dry Texas spring air, auspiciously arriving on what turned out to be the eve of the 164thanniversary of the Battle of the Alamo. With all of our stops we turned an eight-hour drive into a twelve-hour adventure – it was one for the ages!

Austin is awesome, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be here the great state of Texas, ready to make some history ourselves with the world’s first effective bicycle navigation solution. All the 9 RGA/Techstars teams are staying in one hotel and the anticipation and excitement for the days ahead is palpable. Piet and Jon will be extremely busy and will spend the next two days leading up to Saturday’s Demo Day tuning up the final version of our pitch and practicing to deliver it perfectly, while the rest of the team takes a few free moments to explore Austin. We will be sure to share our adventures here with you as they continue to unfold.

Until next time,

The Hammerhead team

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Hammerhead – Onwards to SXSW and a little backstory

3 Mar

The weeks are flying by with barely a moment to take a breath, and we’re about ready to ship off tomorrow evening for our big Demo Day at SxSW in Austin, Texas. Piet and Jon have been practicing non-stop for what we’re confident is going to be an awesome presentation – and we’re thrilled to be sharing the stage with our friends and associates from the 8 other incredible R/GA Techstars Accelerator companies.

With this trip, our time here at the Accelerator draws to a close. This represents the end of another challenging but immensely rewarding chapter of our journey. Although we are looking forward to a day or two of catching up on our sleep, we find ourselves reflecting on all the progress we have made here over the last 4 months. We not only forged ahead with our product, but have created a group of friends here and can say with confidence that the hardware startup tribe of NYC is fired up and ready for a good summer!

In this spirit of reflection we thought it would be an appropriate time to share a video of the first leg of our ride together as a team. In June of last year we pooled our resources and moved into a one bedroom apartment to focus on nothing but Hammerhead. Check out the video of our journey:

As with any significant endeavor we have faced significant trials but our commitment to this product and to each other have held constant. We love working together, and we can’t wait for this upcoming summer, with its promise of bikes, sunshine, and good times spent with the people who have supported us thus far.

We have a grand adventure ahead of us this week as we travel across the United States with our whole team – and we’re looking forward to bringing all of you along for the ride with us, with  blog posts, email updates and video. Be sure to keep an eye on our twitter page, as we’ll be updating it constantly. For our team, this journey to Austin is symbolic of the physical transition ahead as we say goodbye to R/GA and Techstars and grow to new heights as a company.

Well, Austin awaits! We can’t wait to share this next week’s excitement with you!

Until next time,


The Hammerhead Team

Laurence on Cyclist-Centric Mapping

17 Jan

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Hello all,

A good deal of the social side of our app is based around our belief that people want to share their favorite routes to get around, to train, and to avoid traffic. This all comes down to mapping, and our ability to communicate the complexities of maps in a way that is simple, elegant, and – above all else – relevant to cyclists.

First, before you do anything else – before you check your email, before you get up to walk your dog, even before you think of the health and safety of your family (okay, maybe not this one) – check out this map of crowdsourced bike knowledge from the New York Times. To me, it is absolutely incredible – and not just because of what we are trying to build at Hammerhead Navigation. I find it so awesome because it shows just how dedicated, practical, caring, and enthusiastic the biking community is. We look out for each other – we love looking out for each other. Telling our friends about rides they should try out or avoid, gear they should get, or just that they should get off their butts and ride. I seldom turn down the opportunity to research a bicycle purchase or gear recommendation for a friend. In fact, most of the time I spend far too long on this task and end up with an essay of opinion.

What makes me excited about this in the context of our company is that there isn’t yet a way to practically tap this deep well of crowdsourced enthusiasm – this somewhat tribal knowledge that seems to smolder around messenger bags, old chains and within those helmet clad heads.  What if you could access the data from this map as you rode around your city? What if you could trust our device to get you to where you wanted to go in the safest and most efficient way? Using these crowdsourced data points, the Hammerhead could quickly guide riders safely and efficiently around common obstacles – both long and short term. For instance, if there is a particularly troublesome cobblestone street, the Hammerhead could just always avoid that avenue if the rider had that in her preferences. Or, more immediately, if there is construction that blocks off a bike lane, or the President is in town and traffic is a snarl – riders could actually help the community at large by flagging these issues.

Sure, this is pretty pie-in-the-sky, but it is is absolutely possible with a little ingenuity on the app side. Unsurprisingly, this is a primary goal of ours. We are already building our app to rapidly respond to changes on the fly. From there, we just have to give cyclists a reliable, robust platform for inputting these variables. It is a challenge we are excited to tackle. That is why we are always looking outward in this process, turning over stones and old piles of punctured inner tubes. If we enable riders to flag hazards (or even things they really like!), we can not only build a deep & global database of great routes, but also ensure that these routes are founded on and filled with data relevant to all cyclists. The implications of this are incredibly exciting to us – both within the context of our business, and as cyclists.

Lots of work to be done so let’s get back to it!

Laurence

Back in Action

6 Jan

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Friends and backers,

Happy 2014! After a short break we are back in action! We hope you enjoy this second video update. If you haven’t yet, be sure to watch our Christmas Update here. Tomorrow, we officially return to work at the R/GA Techstars Accelerator and are really looking forward to starting 2014 with a bang!

We’ve added some new bicycles to our testing fleet, and in a few days’ time will launch our alpha testing for our app. If you’re in or around NYC you might see us out on the snowy streets getting our app fine-tuned. The first item on the agenda is nailing down our LED light sequences and timing. Raveen spent the past two weeks developing a simulator to allow us to accomplish just that. In addition, we are working on identifying component suppliers for batteries and also preparing an updated version of our website that will reflect our transition from a crowdfunding success to a full-fledged company.

Keep an eye out for our next video update and email in two weeks’ time. Between now and then, follow our progress on Twitter andFacebook. We’re always pushing out fun updates and would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Piet & the Hammerhead Team

Christmas Update

20 Dec

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Hello all,

After three weeks of 16 hour days, countless homemade curries, and a seemingly infinite number of new things we have to worry about, the holiday break @ R/GA Techstars is finally upon us. If you haven’t yet, check out our update video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7AZDJW2HZc.

For the next two weeks, our team will be scattered to the four winds. Piet and Laurence, to South Africa. Jon, to Massachusetts. And Raveen – well, Raveen is going to keep working at the office here in NYC. It is this dedication that earned him the moniker ‘The Jewel of Chennai’ – a name that only hints at the grandeur of his presence. 

This week, we made critical additions to our team – Tyler, who is taking the lead on a redesign of our site, and Julio, who is working with Laurence on product/industrial design. It is so exciting to be adding to our ranks – both for us and for the company.

Also happening this week: significant steps forward in Hammerhead testing; several meetings regarding manufacturing; and our first taste of the direct assistance of the R/GA staff. The Hammerhead, both as a device and as a brand, is going to benefit tremendously from the resources we have here. We’ve been saying this for weeks, but to see it in action is just awesome.

Thanks to all of you for your support – and specifically to those of you who have reached out with comments, advice, and well-wishes. 

All the best,

The HH Team

 

Two Weeks at Techstars R/GA

14 Dec

The Hammerhead team is two weeks into our three-month program at the Techstars R/GA Accelerator in New York City. For those not in the know (don’t worry, up until a few years ago, some of us weren’t either!) startup accelerators are essentially bootcamps for entrepreneurs. For a few months, your team and your business are put under intense pressure and scrutiny and given access to a buffet of resources, from mentors to office space to access to investors. The difference between Techstars and most other accelerators (of which there are many nowadays) is that at Techstars the pressure could shape a diamond, the mentors are the best in the world, and the access is awe-inspiring. In the words of own Piet Morgan, “If this is a buffet, it has food flown in from the best chefs in the world – the best food you’ve ever tasted and more than you could ever eat in a year – and you have 15 minutes before they close the door in your face.”

Factor in the resources of R/GA, an amazing firm with so broad a scope of accomplishments that a paragraph – let alone a sentence – could hardly do it justice, and we are in a truly once-in-a-lifetime position. We have the opportunity to take this awesome product we’ve developed and not only deliver on our crowdfunding campaign, but also create a global brand. It will take years to get there, and there are a thousand hurdles to cross on the way, but we simply could not be better positioned to go for it.

Certainly, this story so far sounds like a completely one-sided positive review of Techstars. So what if it is? We’re excited – and we want you to know that every hour we put in here is going to contribute to the Hammerhead being a better, more well-rounded product. Here, where every day feels like a week, and every week, like a year, we are going to take our merry band of men and forge them into battle hardened entrepreneurs.

The more people that use Hammerhead to map the best bike routes around the world, to share and compete with friends, and to simply find their way, the better our service will be and the more reliable and useful our device will become.

We are so thankful to all of you who backed us during our campaign, and who continue to pre order our product because you helped create this opportunity for us.

Cheers,

Piet

Regarding Schwinn CycleNav

8 Jan

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Hello all,

We benefit from having a very engaged community of supporters, and we thank you for bringing to our attention the recent announcement of Schwinn’s CycleNav bike navigation device at CES in Las Vegas. We even saw multiple comments on different articles about the CycleNav in which people strongly articulated their support for Hammerhead.

We think that the announcement of the CycleNav is a great thing. We believe that the problem of creating safer, easier bike navigation is one really worth solving. The fact that there is going to be another device out there on the road that positively affects the cycling community is wonderful. We are excited to see that Wal-Mart might be carrying a product that could help a number of people – as this is the avenue through which many make their purchasing choices. Schwinn’s entry into this space further emphasizes that we are not alone in recognizing that bike navigation is an issue that needs to be solved.

Our vision however goes well beyond simply telling you where to go. We are building a system in which you will also be able to discover why you might want to go to a particular place. We are putting actionable human insight into what is a far too austere, disconnected experience at present. We are excited to be driving innovation within our favorite sport and we feel honored to see elements of our design in the Schwinn product.

Again, a big thank you to all of our fans who sent this our way.

Time to get back to work!

Piet & the Hammerhead Team

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