Dr James Fielding founded Audeara Headphones in 2014 with Dr Chris Jeffrey – two doctors who saw patients with hearing issues and decided to act to solve a problem. In the public system, the wait for an appointment could be six months or longer – and then people could be turned away because they didn’t have the results of an audiogram.
James and Chris realised the implications for music-lovers… and the Audeara headphones were born.Audeara headphones test and retest hearing over a lifetime and adapt music to the users’ individual needs.
James was based at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital before leaving full-time clinical medicine to focus improving the world through innovation. This position, coupled with prior experience and education, gives him on- the-ground experience and a drive to improve patient care and experience. As a professional drummer, his love of music stoked his passion for improving the field of audiology, and along with Chris he co-founded Audeara.
Over the past three years, Audeara has grown from a medical device company to a commercial business.
- Audeara headphones have been exported to 67 countries around the world so far.
- Audeara sold over 2000 units and generated $470,000 in revenue over 45 days
- The company has reached over $600,000 in sales since then and it continues to grow
Audeara’s success was launched from initial crowdfunding and Dr James Fielding has shared his top tips below for gaining crowdfunding as a new start up.
- Start early. Crowdfunding takes longer than expected, the more work in advanced the better day one will be.
- Hit your goal on day one!
- Have a prototype or proof of your product as early as possible to get feedback and testimonials.
- The goal is getting lots of customers and interest, which means if it works, you will have lots of questions; communication on this is vital, be approachable.
- Be careful with stretch goals and delivery dates – people expect some delays and if it is justified they will be supportive.
- Know your manufacturing times and prices, this is essential to all business and one that is skipped often. For example, do not charge less than the product costs for manufacturing and shipping.
In terms of securing funding generally, there is even more advice to take on board from James and what he has learned from creating Audeara so far.
- Love your business and be proud to talk to everyone about it, people can’t support you if they don’t know.
- If you want money from people you have to actually ask them.
- You may need to be flexible on equity terms and conditions, remembering cash should not mean your business survives, it means your business reaches goals faster than you would organically. Time versus equity!
- Selling equity is not the only way forward. Selling product is the best way to fund a business.
- Spend the time to know exactly the costs you have in finer detail so that you can take the money you need for an adequate run, if you are going to sell equity make it worth it.
- Investors back people more than product. Your passion will get you over the line more than just a clever idea.