NEW YORK — Its summertime and water balloon lovers are uniting … on Kickstarter.
Bunch o Balloons — a hose attachment that allows multiple balloons to be filled at once — raised over $645,000 on the crowdfunding platform in a week, far exceeding its goal of $10,000.
This is the first time that Texas entrepreneur (and father of eight) Josh Malone has taken to Kickstarter with one of his innovations. (He’s already patented six others, including the Slice Cordless Design Cutter and Shapelets.)
He admits he’s “completely overwhelmed” by the response.
Malone says the idea came from spending long, hot summers outside with his kids — ranging in age from four to 18.
“Water balloons have been one of our pastimes over the past several years,” said Malone. “We spend a lot of time filling and tying them….and a lot of time trying to do [it] better.”
He started working on a prototype in January and debuted Bunch o Balloons at the International Toy Fair in New York City in February.
There’s no question about its traction: The Kickstarter campaign has over 16,000 backers to date and still has 22 days left.
But depending on the total amount pledged, some backers will have to wait until late 2015 to receive their product — which claims to prep 100 water balloons in less than a minute.
Malone said they’ve had “relatively few impatient or complaining customers. The vast majority understands where we are at.”
Malone has been working with a small manufacturer in China, which is currently producing just 200 packs a day. But he said they anticipate ramping up production to 2,000 packs a day in October.
More backers — and more funding — only helps speed up the process.
“We’ve been working on a plan to acceleration.” he said. “Now, we’re able to go and invest in machinery. We grow capacity to meet the demand.”
Malone has already received “several licensing inquiries from major brands.”
“There was interest at the Toy Fair,” explained Malone. “But established companies aren’t really in the business of risk taking and we weren’t getting enough traction.”
Now, it’s a different story.
“[Companies from the Toy Fair] came back with their hat in their hands and [are] discussing the opportunity again,” said Malone.
Customers can continue to pledge a minimum of $17 or more for one pack (which contains about 100 balloons). There are three devices per pack (each contains 37 pre-connected balloons) and each is one-time use only.