Zikto, A Hardware Start-up From Seoul Secures $50k On KickStarter In First 24 hours

The proverbs say a good beginning is half the battle. Based on this Zikto is well on their way to success, having reached half of their KickStater goal on the first day.

Update: On November 25 the $100k kickstarter goal was passed, with 27 days left on the campaign, which ends December 22.

Zikto are the developers of ‘Arki,’ a wearable which helps to improve the walking posture of their user’s. While the technology and design are similar to many other products in the market co- founders, Ted Kim, Shawn Kim, and David Suh believe they know why their KickStarter campaign has been so successful. They told us why.

Zikto Team - beSUCCESS

Left to right, CEO Ted Kim, CFO David Suh, CTO Shawn Kim

80% of the population is not walking correctly and ‘Arki’ analyzes this and suggests improvements for better posture and health.

Raising so quickly on KickStarter is a rare case. But this seeming fairy story has a different reality if you scratch under the surface. For example, even though funding is now flooding in on Kickstarter, development of Arki took the team an entire year. Having completed the working prototype, the whole team even flew over to the USA for a meeting with KickStarter, prior to launching their campaign. They also visited many global tech media in the USA to increase exposure of their campaign. Thanks to powerful self-belief and strength of persistence they were able to achieve an eventual funding result on KickStarter, far beyond their expectations.

Check out their KickStarter Campaign here.

Despite thorough preparation, a project without solid content cannot succeed. Why would global customers pay attention to Arki when there are numerous, similar wearables in the market?

Unlike other devices, Arki analyzes not only the number of steps, but also the quality of users’ posture while they are walking. Their service is much more than the basic step counter that many other health wearables offer. Arki is a competitive strategy to coach users to walk correctly. They are actually facilitating better health, rather than just comenting on user behavior.

The three key functions are as follows:

  • Vibrating alarm: The alarm vibrates on the wrist when the user has bad posture. This might include habitually looking at a smartphone, putting hands in pockets or dragging feet. The app provides an analysis of the user’s daily walking patterns.
  • Body balance analysis: The small band on the wrist can detect body imbalance because the movement of one’s feet determines arm movement. The wrist-band can identify the level of body imbalance compared to the amount of swing of left and right arms. Since analyzing walking posture also enables assessment of which body part is out of shape or distorted, the device provides necessary work–outs as well. Clinical trials are currently in process with a Korean university hospital. These trials will be used to validate the hypotheses and as research to further improve the accuracy of analytics.
  • Biometrics: Personal walking patterns become a personal password. While finger prints, DNA, and iris recognition have dominated identity confirmation, other methods are now opening up new opportunities. In fact, the entire body offers potential for identity recognition, as mobile passwords. And there is huge potential to use this in the IoT industry. Certifying a user’s walking pattern is required only once, instead of finger prints which is required each time.

The battleground of wearables is heating up and the old challengers, such as Fitbit and Misfit may well be given a run for their money with the release of the iWatch next February. But the team at Arki is confident that their technology, which is laser-focused on our walking patterns, will stay ahead of the curve in this niche.

‘Avengers’ among hardware start-ups – a professional team is the key

In a growing trend in Korea, the team behind Arki all came from secure and promising corporate careers in Korea. Ted Kim, the CEO, was on a Management Fast-track program at LG. Shawn Kim, the CTO was a Healthcare and Mobile security Manager at SK telecom. And David Suh, the CFO had a promising career ahead of him in the financial services industry.

Founding (and funding) a hardware startup is a costly business and the sacrifices of financing their prototype were high. “Even the cost of funding a successful KickStarter campaign can be high” stated one of the founders. For this reason, many companies start crowd funding projects after receiving initial investment. But Arki were able to raise personal finances to build the prototype and get to a stage where they could launch their Kickstarter campaign

No More ugly Wearables!

Arki is dedicated to creating wearables that don’t look like bulky sci-fi apparatus. The characteristic of the design is that it minimizes the tech aspect and looks more like a fashion item. Zikto has also collaborated with a local watch maker on the design of a number of straps for the device.

Zikto Straps

Zikto is dedicated to building beautiful design into their 'Arki' wearable.

What does the team plan for the future? Well, they look set to cruise past their $100k KickStarter goal and from there it’s continuing to work towards getting their device prepared for commercial release. Beyond that, they want to keep the fun-loving and hardworking spirit they’ve built over the last year. “We want the company to be a fun place for team members to work in. So far, everyone is having fun, to the point that they don’t feel like going on a date (laugh),” joked their CEO. “Our motto is “Do what I can do well.” It is important to find a point where companies can turn a profit while maintaining the culture of a startup,” he added.

Wearable band ‘Arki’ from Zikto will be officially released in 2015 April. To help their KickStarter campaign, follow this link.

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beSUCCESS is a professional media company with a particular focus on startups and tech industry | beSUCCESS는 국내 기업의 해외 진출을 지원하는 미디어 회사로, 실리콘밸리를 포함한 전세계 테크 트렌드와 스타트업 뉴스, 기업가 정신 등 국내 스타트업의 인사이트 확대를 위해 필요한 외신 정보를 직·간접적으로 제공할 뿐만 아니라, 한국의 스타트업 생태계와 출시 소식 등 주요 뉴스를 영문으로 세계 각국에 제공해 한국 스타트업의 글로벌 성공을 지원하는 '연결'의 역할을 합니다.

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