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Small Business Saturday: doppel’s small business story

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Most business are small business. As today is Small Business Saturday, we wanted to share the story of doppel - from concept to reality - to show how even small teams can achieve big dreams!

It goes like this.

Work on doppel began in 2013 after Co-Founders Andreas, Fotini, Jack and Nell came up with the idea whilst studying together on the Innovation Design Engineering MA/MSc at both Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art.

Andreas, Jack, and Fotini working on the concept way back in 2013. Nell took the photo!

The idea was inspired by cutting-edge research in psychophysiology - the study of the way in which your mind and body affect one-another.

Guided by Manos Tsakiris, Professor of Psychology at the Royal Holloway University London, the four Co-Founders developed the first ever doppel prototypes. Back in 2013 these were called ‘myTempo’ and looked like this.

After months of prototyping, myTempo became doppel, and the team created the first basic test rigs allowing hundreds of people to try it for themselves in all sorts of situations.

Just some of our hundreds of testers!

After a year of designing, prototyping, and testing we launched on Kickstarter with a bold ambition of raising £100,000.

One of our friends baked and iced this incredible cake to celebrate our launch!

Crowdfunding was both incredible and incredibly stressful - but the campaign was successful and the manufacturing process began.

It took us longer than we first hoped to deliver to our Kickstarter backers, but we kept them all up to date with our manufacturing highs and lows in our popular fortnightly customer updates. We hit setbacks, but we were always honest and we always owned up to our mistakes.

As a small team, overcoming our manufacturing challenges was only possible by working together and being there for each other.

When we successfully designed our very own bespoke clear top motors, we celebrated our achievement. But when we heard that our manufacturing partners couldn’t make them as fast as we’d hoped, we sat down together to work out what to do next.

Our resilience and our team spirit (plus the incredible support we were receiving from our Kickstarter backers and pre-order customers) helped us to overcome more challenges than we ever expected to come up against. Despite the setbacks, we never gave up.

If you want to find out more about our manufacturing journey then take a look at this post - it’s a summary of the fortnightly updates that we sent to our customers and we updated every two weeks for almost two years.

We finally delivered to our Kickstarter backers at the beginning of 2018, and we began fulfilling our pre-orders straight after that.

We received some incredible feedback as well as some amazing photos of our doppelgangers across the globe.

But work on the product did not stop there!

We replied to every customer comment and took on as many ideas as we could to make the product even better. Over the summer we delivered four app updates and completely redesigned doppel’s charger - all while preparing to scale our production from the hundreds of units we needed to deliver on our Kickstarter project, to the thousands we’ll need when we launch.

We’re almost at the end of that journey and we’re going to begin taking new sales very soon! Watch this space!

The team has grown since we first started work on doppel in 2014, but we’re still small. We still discuss our ideas together, and we still help each other out when things get tough.

Running a small business isn’t easy, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way!


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