How Indiegogo & Arrow Helped Bring to Life a Game-Changing Smart Watch

When the creators of the MATRIX PowerWatch launched their Indiegogo campaign, they knew it would be a good way to gauge demand for their innovative new product.

The PowerWatch takes the smart watch concept and adds a very enticing wrinkle: The Matrix runs on thermoelectrics, meaning that—unlike other similar products that have to be plugged into the wall or a computer to be recharged—the wearer’s own body heat takes care of it for you.

“The watch is a spinoff from my grad school research,” says Matrix co-founder Akram Boukai. “We were looking for a way to use this technology in a consumer product, and the wearable companies we met told us that their customers didn’t like having to recharge their devices every day. With the Matrix, your body’s kind of like a battery for the watch.”

A self-charging smart watch

The unique Matrix hook—thermo electronics are more typically used for things like self-cooling car seats—paid off in the form of an Indiegogo campaign that has reached almost $1.3 million in funding (more than 930 percent of its goal) since the campaign closed in mid-January. The Matrix campaign is still on Indiegogo InDemand as it moves into the production phase for an estimated shipping date of October 2017. Boukai and his colleagues put in a lot of effort to ensure that the  rugged yet sleek black watch could be delivered shortly after its Indiegogo launch.

“We started talking to wearable companies almost three years ago,” he says, “So we knew the market for [the watch] already existed and that the ‘pain point’ for these products was having to charge them every day.”

The path to Arrow Certification

Because the Matrix features electronic components, it qualified for another Indiegogo benefit: the Arrow Certification Program. This is an exclusive partnership with Arrow Electronics that gives Indiegogo campaigns access to Arrow’s engineering and design services. Arrow offers Certified campaigns with distribution and the sourcing of parts, and can help test and optimize features, such as a product’s bluetooth capabilities.

“We heard about Arrow through Indiegogo right away,” Boukai says. “We enrolled and started talking to Arrow’s people on the phone. To get Arrow Certified,  we needed a full Bill of Materials, but more importantly, we had to provide the schematic that showed that the watch works as advertised. Arrow feels comfortable certifying it because they know it’s already been built and works, and it gives our backers that third-party trust and verification. There’s a lot of vaporware out there, and Arrow provides the trust that we’re ready for production.”

Building a more trustworthy product

In the case of the Matrix, the expertise and connections Arrow provides might even be invaluable. The Matrix developers signed their first manufacturing contract in January with a Chinese company, and Arrow has already helped them source various electronic components as they move toward production. “The watch has a black-and-white screen right now, but Arrow was super useful in helping us source a low-power color screen, which is very tough to find,” Boukai says. “We still need to test it, but it was a big win that Arrow has been able to locate similar and cheaper parts for us.”

He says he anticipates that Arrow’s services and experts will continue helping the Matrix come to life, and he can only guess at the value that the Arrow badge added to their highly successful campaign. “We were Arrow Certified from day one, so I don’t know the direct correlation between that and how well our campaign has done,” Boukai says. “But the trust element created by having that badge displayed certainly has helped. I’d tell anyone who was considering Indiegogo for a [similar] campaign to definitely use Arrow. It’s tough to get certified but totally worth it.”

Opt into the Arrow Certification Program for access to product savings, design and engineering services, and more.