Hush Begins Crowdfunding to Produce Noise-Masking “Smart Earplugs”
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hear what they needed to hear.
With friends Daniel Chesong Lee and Daniel Synn, “Ewok” Lee says the Hush team won a $2,000 prize in a student contest. The experience led him to enter other business plan and elevator pitch competitions, including contests held by UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management, the Moxie Center for Student Entrepreneurship, San Diego Tech Coast Angels, and San Diego Venture Group.
“I think the pitchfest contests were the most valuable thing I could have done,” Lee says. “As a college grad just coming out with a startup, nobody was paying attention.” By participating in pitchfests, though, Lee says he gained exposure among angel investors and mentors, and the networking proved to be “super valuable.”
The Kickstarter campaign will enable the Hush development team to finalize their design of the charging dock, order injection mold tooling, and pay for the initial cost of goods. The company intends to ship its first 2,000 orders by May.
Of course, it remains to be seen if sleep-deprived consumers will be willing to pay the $149 retail price for Hush wireless noise-masking earplugs when audiophiles can buy conventional earbuds for $10 at retailers like Target and Office Depot.
Hush also may face challenges in making headway against an explosion of investor interest in wireless health “wearables.”
But Lee contends that wearables have an Achilles heel because all they do is track sleep data. “They tell you that you had poor sleep quality, and stop there. That’s a disconnect because none of them actually solve the problem. They just tell you that you have a problem.”
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