Tech company raises profile of Google Glass competitor

GlassUp aimed to build awareness of its device and raise money for prototype production.

Tech company raises profile of Google Glass competitor

Client:  GlassUp (Modena, Italy)
Hot Tomato Marketing (Moraga, CA)
  GlassUp Indiegogo program
July 1 – August 31, 2013

GlassUp is a relatively inexpensive device in development that will compete with Google Glass. The company hired Hot Tomato Marketing to raise awareness of the device and promote the June 9 launch of its Indiegogo campaign to raise $150,000 for prototype production.

“Visibility was very important to help us find investors, partners, and developers and to get a good understanding of what consumers require,” explains GlassUp cofounder and CEO Francesco Giartosio.

Agency principal Erica Zeidenberg says she essentially wanted to launch GlassUp despite the fact that it wasn't on the market.

“We wanted to get top bloggers and journalists who reach motivated readers to write about GlassUp and speak up about it and the Indiegogo campaign on their social media channels,” Zeidenberg says.

Traditional journalists and bloggers covering consumer technology, trade technology, and general business were targeted.

Pitch angles leveraged existing interest in Google Glass and focused on key points of differentiation, including GlassUp's lower price and the fact that it's more comfortable to wear than Google Glass.

A mid-August issue with PayPal was turned in GlassUp's favor. 

“When PR outreach had helped drive a significant amount of donations, PayPal locked our Indiegogo account, but didn't tell us,” Giartosio explains. “A customer alerted us and we reached out to PayPal. After [a lengthy exchange of information] PayPal agreed to re-open the account, but wouldn't release our money until after delivery of the product, which was impractical as we were running the campaign to raise money to build the prototype.”

Giartosio explained the PayPal issue to investors and began refunding them, while Zeidenberg alerted top-tier journalists and bloggers to the situation.

“I didn't want to issue a press release, so I emailed select journalists and bloggers,” Zeidenberg says. “As soon as they started calling PayPal for comment, PayPal issued a statement supporting GlassUp, released all the money, and extended the Indiegogo campaign through the end of August.”

Giartosio also made a few posts about the campaign to GlassUp's Facebook and Twitter pages, and his team quickly responded to information requests and comments on Indiegogo's site and media sites.  

The campaign garnered 70 total placements in outlets such as Techcrunch, Venture Beat, Fast Company, Forbes, and Mashable.

More than $127,700 was raised. Though it was just short of the initial goal, Giartosio is very pleased.

“We chose a relatively high target for the Indiegogo campaign, and the small difference doesn't really change much in terms of our production,” he says. 

Giartosio adds that the campaign also generated “a lot of calls” from potential investors and advisors, as well as an invitation to an October 3 Founder's Forum event in New York City.

GlassUp will continue working with the agency. Plans include promoting the prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show. 

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