See.Sense.Harnessing industrial design and branding to create a crowdfunding hit
- Northern Ireland
- Business type
- Product startup
- 1 year
- Design support
- Invest NI
- Part Two
See.Sense. is an award-winning cycling technology company, based in Newtownards, Northern Ireland. Their current flagship product is the innovative See.Sense. bike light which uses intelligent sensors to flash brighter and faster when it’s needed most, such as at road junctions, in heavy traffic or in poorly-lit areas.
Inspired by his experience as a commuter, See.Sense. founder Philip McAleese created a new kind of bike light by combining the environmental sensors usually found in smartphones with modern ultra-bright LED lamps.
Philip knew this innovative concept would differentiate his product from the competition, but looking at the established players in the market he realised they all demonstrated a very high-level of industrial design, and his company didn’t have the expertise in house to compete.
How design helped
See.Sense. used Invest NI’s Design Development Programme to access the design expertise to help fill this skills gap. As well as industrial design, the company also needed to develop a product identity and packaging prior to launch.
Design is incredibly important to our product, not only to how our customers use it, but how they perceive it: what they see, think and feel when they see our brand.
Working with Belfast based design agency Part Two, See.Sense. created a strong brand and a distinct visual language. The company also received assistance from Invest NI to help them through the often expensive and complicated process of securing the intellectual property rights to their product.
See.Sense. appreciated the value of incorporating design thinking at an early stage. They started working with potential customers early on, incorporating their feedback into the development of the product, making them feel part of the project, and ensuring the lights met the needs of users.
Aesthetics and functionality have been an iterative process. We prototype products quickly in order to get our customers’ feedback and so that we’re not taking too big a step at a time.
Continuing their customer-centred approach, See.Sense. decided to launch their product with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The company hit their funding goal just eight and a half days into the thirty day campaign. By the end of the first month, they had received more than 500 backers and raised nearly three times the initial funding target.
In its first year on the market, the See.Sense. bike light won 14 national and international awards. It is now sold in 43 countries and stocked by Chain Reaction Cycles, the world’s largest online bike shop.
Momentum continues to build around the company, with the product receiving fantastic reviews, Cycling Active magazine called it: ‘The cleverest bike light you – or more importantly – other road users will ever see’.
See.Sense. has ambitious future plans for its product line. Their goal is to become the leading technology brand in cycling – to achieve this, they know design needs to be central to their business strategy.
Design is fundamental to our business now and where we are going in the future.