The Kijani Grows: Smart Controller Board 2.0
February 12, 2015 · IGG

From Passion Projects to Emerging Technologies


Andrew Song, Indiegogo‘s Outreach Manager of Technology, Hardware & Design, shares how a chance encounter with entrepreneur Eric Maundu of Kijani Grows turned him into a fan and customer. 

Kijani Grows - Aquaponics System

I consider myself a huge hardware/tech fanboy through and through. It all started when I was seven years old and I got a hold of my Dad’s brand new SLR camera and a Phillips screwdriver. Apparently I was hiding in the closet and taking it apart to see what’s inside, when my mother found out what I was doing, and it went down something like this, but camera parts EVERYWHERE.

Thankfully I was able to put it all back together before Papa Song got home. Fast forward many soldering spools, tube amps, nixie clocks, and 3D printers later I’m working at my dream job at Indiegogo. I’m able to see the coolest products from the most passionate entrepreneurs on the planet and if they choose Indiegogo, I have a direct impact in growing their dreams. Here are some campaigns I’ve helped launch that are on their way to making their ideas into reality:

Dashbon Flicks: Think JamBox form factor with a LED projector shooting out the back for movies on the go. The team is stacked with former Foxconn employees (the company that makes iPhones) who has more cool products in the pipeline.

Bluewire: Avi Gilor who is the creator of this feature-packed BlueTooth headset got his inspiration from Q in James Bond movies. Avi is no stranger to product development and has had products used by the Israeli government. If nothing else, check out his campaign video, which gave me a chortle.

Bezel and Bytes: For the people who have welched on their New Year’s resolution or have a FitBit Flex collecting dust because no one wants to wear a rubber band on their wrist, consider Melissa and Sarah’s new jewelry line that encases the Flex in a fashionable form that you can wear to any occasion.

These entrepreneurs come from all walks of life and the most recent entrepreneur I met is Eric Maundu of Kijani Grows at East Bay Hardware Startup Meetup where he shared his product, The Kijani Grows: Smart Controller Board 2.0.

The Kijani Grows: Smart Controller Board 2.0

What does it do? It controls your aquaponics system. Here is a diagram of the components.

Kijani Grows - Components Of A Smart Aquaponics Garden

I actually first saw Eric on the internet back in 2012 on Hackaday. Eric built the controller board out of frustration and unreliability of his Arduino-based system which can be seen here.

His passion for the product shined through and I was so impressed by his demo that I bought one on the spot, which turned out to be his first sale. Hopefully there will be many more to follow. These entrepreneurs inspire me on a daily basis and if you are curious about my life as a tech fanboy at Indiegogo, join my gaggle of tweeters  @ASong408.

And do you want to learn more about running a successful crowdfunding campaign? Download our Hardware Handbook.

Andrew Song is an Outreach Manager of Technology, Hardware & Design of Indiegogo. He is a crowdfunding specialist and helps bring campaigns to life. He has worked with and advised hundreds of crowdfunded companies through various roles throughout his career. He got his start in startups by winning hackathons sponsored by Google Ideas, Leap Motion, and others.