What's Happening in IPO

1 Sep 2015

Jeff CHEN, a graduate of T&M-DDP, has raised over HK$6 million for his startup Lumos with the next generation bicycle helmet in just one month

Jeff CHEN, a graduate of Dual Degree Program in Technology and Management (T&M-DDP), has raised over HK$6 million through crowdfunding online with a brand new design of bicycle helmet in just one month.

Met his partner in Harvard where the project started

In 2013, Jeff studied in Harvard University in USA as a visiting student and met his partner Eu-wen DING at a hackathon “Startup Scramble” where Eu-wen pitched his idea of the next generation bicycle helmet with lights and turning/brake signals for enhancing the safety of cyclists. 

In USA, cycling is a popular sport and many people ride bicycles to work or school. However, cyclists are often injured on roads because they are not easily visible to other drivers, especially at night.  Eu-wen thought of adding integrated lights of turning/brake signals to bicycle helmet so cyclists would be more visible to other drivers and signals would greatly enhance the communication between cyclists and other road users.   

Jeff found this idea very interesting and practical, so he joined Eu-wen to further develop the idea.  They produced a prototype within two days and won the championship.

Start the journey

After winning, Jeff and Eu-wen decided to turn the idea into a real, viable product. The major challenge of producing this next generation bicycle helmet is to integrate all the electronics into the helmet such that it still maintains its main protection function for absorbing impact in the event of a fall or collision.  They spent over a year in working with the helmet manufacturer to ensure the bicycle helmet with new features would meet the safety and certification standards.  They also met real users on streets direct and improved the helmet based on their feedbacks.

Raise funds from public online

When the major technological obstacle was overcome, Jeff and Eu-wen put the project on “Kickstarter”, an online crowdfunding platform, in July this year to raise funds from the public by pre-selling the helmet at US$99 each. They hit the funding target of US$125,000 (around HK$968,750) on the first day of fund-raising and reached over HK$6 million with over 6,000 backers in just one month when the campaign closed which is totally out of their expectation.

After nearly 2-year hard work, the new bicycle helmet will be tested by real users in December 2015 to collect feedbacks for further improvement and will be put into mass production in March. Jeff and Eu-wen target to deliver the real products to backers in April 2016 and later to market. 

What’s Next?

No doubt that the project is a success so far but Jeff knows what matter is the future. Jeff recalled that there was a startup which raised over US$10 million but turned out to delay in delivering products around one year.  Their main focus now is to deliver the products on time and control the quality. In future, Jeff and Eu-wen will keep on enhancing the bicycle helmet by adding different functions like automatic emergency call when detecting serious vibration and cycling route sharing function etc. and develop other bicycle-related products.

Jeff valued the curriculum of T&M-DDP which provided him with both business skills and technology knowledge. Business kills helped him present and pitch effectively in front of investors. Technology knowledge is definitely a solid background for coping with technological problems when developing products.   

To kick-off a startup, Jeff has the following advices to  students:

  1. Innovative ideas are not enough, the ability in solving a real problem is more important.

  2. Create some prototypes (model, mock up app etc.) as early as possible to test with the real potential customers and validate the idea early.

  3. Learn from people who have really gone through the startup process. 

  • From left: Eu-wen DING, Jeff CHEN

  • Jeff CHEN

  • The next generation bicycle with integrated lights of turning and brake signals

  • Jeff at work