An Interview With BionicGym Founder: Dr Louis Crowe. Over $3,000,000 raised on Indiegogo
Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
BionicGym has been invented, developed and researched in Ireland over the past 16 years. We have a nice way of interacting with the peripheral nervous system… giving us greater control over the muscles than was previously possible. As exercise is the key health and we chose to first use this control to deliver cardiovascular training exercise. For those who can’t exercise, those who don’t do enough and as an alternative training for the already fit.
Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
I’m a medical doctor. I’ve worked in ER, geriatrics and in Africa but I’ve always had a great passion for innovation and design. My inventions have had over a billion in sales and been on millions of people –that’s gratifying. I’m particularly proud of a treatment for stress urinary incontinence (leaking) that was done with Dr Ruth Maher, BMR Ltd and University College Dublin. It is undergoing a ten-center study in the US at the moment for FDA approval. Data suggests it is very effective. After a jaunt through a medical think-tank in Berlin I settled back to ensure people could enjoy the benefits of intense exercise — while on their couch! (with BionicGym).
What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
I enjoy hacking the body. As exercise is the number one indicator of fitness I considered how nature does it. Nature makes you shiver to burn calories without doing anything. Jumping into the cold water to observe and experiment on shivering was no fun! But instructive on how to make the body burn calories by mimicking shivering… we then improved upon it. You can use it at low intensities working or higher intensities gaming or watching TV.
What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Don’t do it alone.
Most businesses fail — irrespective of how good the founder is — so take your likely failure with equanimity.
And, again, don’t do it alone — it’s more fun with others.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Be the ‘lucky general’
How many hours do you work a day on average?
During the Indiegogo campaign — I only eat and work. The rest of the time 8–9 hours.
To what do you most attribute your success?
Perseverance. I wouldn’t wish my journey on anyone. I had imagined that building ‘the better mousetrap’ people would come but they didn’t, at least not for many years.
How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Email lists of crowdfunding backers have been great. And now we’re just beginning to understand Facebook — and that’s now proving to be a seam we can mine.
Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Savings; I’ve pumped everything into this.
What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Redefine success to something you have control over. Do your best and be happy. If you’re dependent on outside validation it may never come.
Where you see yourself and your business in 5–10 years?
Superior technology will help tens of millions lead happier, healthier lives.
Excluding your own, what company or business do you admire the most?
Medecin San Frontier (Doctors Without Borders)
Why did you use Crowdfunding to raise funds?
Investors weren’t interested. There is no investor appetite in Ireland for consumer devices.
Did you go through a pre-launch period? If so, how long was it and what did you do?
1 year… procrastinated too much and did everything myself / with friends… from shooting the videos to doing the graphics etc.
How many people on your Team?
Can you recommend any specific services that you have used for your crowdfunding campaign marketing?
Yes, Smart Crowdfunding were fabulous! They give advice without any sugar-coating but it is well worth taking everything they say onboard. Their predictions have proven to be accurate and their suggestions always on-the-ball.
The Crowdfunding Formula have great videos and were very helpful.
What would you say is the number 1 thing you’ve learned from your crowdfunding experience?
It is hard work… be under no illusions.
Can you share any advice for others considering going the crowdfunding route?
Don’t do it alone.
Digital marketing is hugely important. Have everything tested prior to your campaign. You need to be able to spend on advertising / services etc $10k + or even a great product might flounder unrecognized. On Indiegogo it is NOT the best product that wins necessarily. This is a professional marketing space — if you can’t compete at that level your efforts may be wasted … despite your undoubted brilliance!
Access the Indiegogo campaign page HERE
Access the BionicGym media kit HERE