Following the success of their Kickstarter campaign, which was fully funded within two hours of its launch, we reached out to Whitman Kwok, Founder and CEO, to learn about KAV’s backstory and his experience with launching a successful sports tech startup.
Q & A with Whitman Kwok, Founder & CEO of KAV
Ideastag: How did you come up with the idea? And how did you go from idea to inception?
- People aren’t wearing helmets in the activities where they get injured
- The helmets they are wearing have room for improvement
Ideastag: What steps did you take to validate your initial idea and collect feedback?
- Do you want a helmet that fits?
- Would you like to protect your head better?
- Would you like a helmet that is cool and aero? (For cycling)
Ideastag: You are using Kickstarter to forecast demand for the Bike Helmet; how did you gauge the demand for your first launch, the Hockey Helmet?
Ideastag: What are three things you’ve told yourself that kept you going during the lengthy product development phase?
Whitman Kwok: I’ll answer what in general kept me going and that’s simple:
- Our mission to accelerate the personalization of protection one head at a time. Knowing that people wanted to wear our helmets for how they feel and my knowing that the technology would protect them better.
- Our team. We have a great set of people who are masters of their respective crafts and are a hoot to work with.
- That we only needed to make it to tomorrow, and tomorrow would bring the next set of opportunities for us. Entrepreneurship is a war of attrition. The only time you fail is when you give up. The prior two points are necessary to differentiate between grit and insanity.
Ideastag: You have obviously had a very successful launch for the Bike Helmet. To what do you attribute this success?
Ideastag: Do you believe the personalization of consumer goods has become the new standard?
Ideastag: Lastly, what advice would you give someone looking to launch an innovative product?
- Change the world for the better. The core business should make society better, even if it’s just a little bit.
- Do what you’re uniquely gifted to do. In doing so, the world has gained from your pursuit in a way that it would not otherwise benefit.
- Love your mission. It really doesn’t matter if you love the work or the product. All those are transient. As a founder, you’ll have to do 100 different things, so don’t get attached to the task at hand. The same is true of the product— technology and tastes change quickly. Love your mission and keep to your North Star. My darkest days are when the proverbial cloud has made me lose my way.
“Entrepreneurship is a war of attrition. The only time you fail is when you give up.” – Whitman Kwok, Founder & CEO, KAV
“As a founder, you’ll have to do 100 different things, so don’t get attached to the task at hand. The same is true of the product— technology and tastes change quickly. Love your mission and keep to your North Star. My darkest days are when the proverbial cloud has made me lose my way.” – Whitman Kwok, Founder & CEO, KAV
We had to pull these quotes from our interview because we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.