Just a short post today to highlight that following what sounded like a successful stand at the Sydney World Cup last weekend that Oarinspired have now put their product onto kickstarter for a final push to get the product onto the market.
If you’re not aware of kickstarter then essentially it’s an attempt to try and make it easier for new start ups to get funding for products that the public are interested in via crowdsurfing. As anyone who has watched Dragons Den knows, normally getting funding as a startup can be a very cutthroat business with the people providing the funding having all the advantages, and often forcing the start up into making concessions that they would prefer not to make. Kickstarter allows start-ups to instead try and secure its funding from potential customers, and allows the start ups to advertise their products (usually with a pre-launch discount) directly to customers to collect the needed funding by crowdsourcing. There have been several examples of extremely successful projects on kickstarter, and part of what makes it so successful is the fact that the funding you commit is not taken from your account unless the minimum limit is passed, meaning there is less risk should the project not take off
I have talked before about Oarinspired (and its association with Rowing in Motion), but in summary essentially what this is is a considerably more affordable rowing telemetry/rowing power meter than the current range that is available, and is also pretty comparable in pricing to NK who are the current market leaders.
Telemetry is currently used by a lot of the top international crews at the world championships, but previously they have been priced out of the market of the average rower, however this release means that full telemetry and power measurements will be available to all rowers, meaning it will be possible for rowers to properly train to power whilst on the water, by that I mean we will finally not have to rely on HR and OTW splits (which can be affected by outside conditions like weather etc) but instead how much power you are producing stroke by stroke, anyone who is a keen cyclist will know the introduction of Power Meters has completely revolutionalised cycling training and racing and its easy to see how products like this could do the same in rowing
It’s a shame that there will be a little bit of a wait for the sculling gates (initially the sweep gates will come out first), but its remarkable that the full RomCom system will cost AUD $1200 (£667+tax+postage) or AUD $1000 for a few early birds (£556+tax+postage), this is significantly lower than other products currently on the market but still has a full feature set and also has the benefit of being wireless and easy to move between boats, in fact you could only have two sweep gates and easily move between seats in an 8+.
Even if you’re not interested in measuring power then the RowCom starter kit (500 AUD or £277+tax and shipping) is considerably cheaper than the comparable NK product, the NK GPS with heart rate (£462+postage) but the RowCom offers more features like bigger memory, bigger display, touchscreen and a better post outing analysis with Rowing in Motion
I think its really good to see another company come onto the rowing electronics market, especially when they offer a product that has a potential to revolutionalise rowing training in a similar way to how power meters changed the cycling world, so i’m please to be able to fund my own until through kicktstarter and I will be counting down the days till Oct 2014!