Founder Interviews

The Story of the Digital Pinball Kickstarter

The Story of the Digital Pinball Kickstarter


Michael Gruber

Michael Gruber


Digital Pinball

I create affordable digital pinball bar-tops for home use

🇦🇹 Graz, Austria

📅  2016

🏆 1 Founder

💵 Kickstarter in progress…

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Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Michael and I work as a professional in design. I have a half time job in a big company. The rest of the day I spend with my family. In the evenings and on weekends I work on my business projects.

As a designer I always have the urge to create something new. Since I am also interested in tech most of the things I build are tech related.

A few years back I also started selling the things I built. The digital pinball business started because I saw some project of a full size Virtual Pinball machine online. I am a maker, so I wanted to build that thing. So I started prototyping. First I built a pretty small one without legs. When I finished it I sold it to get money back for my next prototype. The next one was a 27” with legs followed by a fullsize Virtual pin.

My next goal was to make it cheaper, smaller screen, fewer materials, but the hardware requirements for the PC had to stay the same because an input lag would be a deal breaker. 

After a lot of new prototypes and research I finally found a solution to build an affordable Pinball Bartop. With a specialized chipset running android the Hardware cost is set to a minimum. And the official apps from Pinball developers run perfectly smooth.


Tell us about the process of creating your product.

Most of the time I see something interesting and my brain combines it with other things I know to create something new. So I would not say I am inventing entirely new products, I am just combining existing things to create something new. 

For the design process I mostly have a pretty accurate idea of what my product should look like.  The next step for me is to bring this picture on paper. And after I am happy with it I finalize it on my PC.

A few years back one of my projects was to repair iPhones. For this project I made contact with chinese manufactures over alibaba. This worked pretty well and so I did the same thing with my digital pinball project.

Marketing Strategy

Walk us through your pre-launch marketing...

At first I built a website to introduce my product and invite people to subscribe to my newsletter. To start list building I posted my product in reddit, in facebook groups on twitter and on instagram.

Did you do any advertising for your Kickstarter?

I didn’t spend money on advertising. I did all the marketing myself. Even a few magazines featured my pinball bartop for free because they liked the idea.

Final Thoughts

Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs about Kickstarter?

I figured out the most effective way go grow a list is with facebook groups. Join groups related to your topic and post about your Idea. But be careful and do not spam the group. Twitter, Instagram and reddit also helps but in my case I got most subscribers from facebook.

How are things today and what are your plans for the future?

Today I am just running a small one man business. My plan is to finish the first small kickstarter campaign and deliver a good product. With the money earned I am going to enter the next level. I will send review units to a lot of magazines, bloggers and influencers. I will continue building my subscriber list and scale up my business.

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