How Rick Ha co-founded Qi Aerista, the smart tea maker, and some advice from his crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that raised over $240k!
Who are you and what business did you start?
Tell us about the process of creating Qi Aerista.
Kickstarter campaign promotion
Walk us through your pre-launch marketing for the qi aerista tea maker.
Did you do any advertising for your Kickstarter campaign for Qi Aerista?
What are some of the best Kickstarter Marketing Services you used?
What are your sources of inspiration?
What apps or tools are most important to your business?
How are things with Qi Aerista smart tea maker today and what are your plans for the future?
Where can we learn more about Qi Aerista?
Qi Aerista is founded by husband & wife team of Dr. Rick Ha and Karen Wan. Our mission is to save the world from badly brewed tea.
Rick grew up in Hong Kong, a city vibrant with tea culture from the East & West. His childhood is haunted by the horrors of badly brewed tea that ruined family meals and other special occasions.
“What if there is a better way to prevent badly brewed tea from ruining the important moments of our lives?” Rick asked.
Our startup journey began in 2013, where we focused on developing an automatic tea making solution that makes it easy for anyone to brew any type of tea perfect to your taste every time.
Since our market launch in July 2018, we have shipped thousands of brewers and tea packages to over 60 countries.
With our brewer, app and quality tea, Qi Aerista delivers a truly fun IoTea experience to tea lovers around the world.
Rick used to work at a Fortune 500 company as a research scientist to bring innovative products from ideation all the way to market launch.
After starting Qi Aerista, our team closely collaborated with external partners and industry players to cover different aspects of product creation, covering industrial design, product development, manufacturing and logistics.
We field our partners and suppliers mainly through industry networks, trade shows and referrals. After candidates have been identified and chosen, we will conduct rounds of on-site visits and virtual discussions to better familiarize our partners with our goals and requirements.
Prior to our crowdfunding campaign, we have set up a landing page introducing our tea maker about 6 months before the Kickstarter launch. We attracted early supporters to our landing page using Facebook ads.
We have participated in several relevant industry trade shows such as CES Asia, RISE, World Tea Expo and Hong Kong Tea Fair to obtain early feedback on our product and gauge interest from the professional community.
We mostly ran ads on Facebook and collected email sign-ups through our landing page. The mailing list we compiled was vital in helping us gain early momentum in our crowdfunding campaign.
We were featured in the World Tea News, a premier source of tea industry news, several tea blogs and gadget networks. They were free publications.
We collected our mailing lists from our landing page.
From our experience, having a solid mailing list is the key to a successful campaign.
I would say my background inspired me to do what I’m doing now. I was born in Hong Kong, an East-meets-West city. Then I spent most of my schooling in Toronto and came back to work in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Though I have lived outside of Hong Kong for many years, I have always loved my home town. Every time when I taste the Hong Kong-style milk tea made by Qi Aerista IoTea Brewer, it touched my heart because that’s the taste of home for me. This sentiment is what motivated me to continue developing Qi Aerista, as a way to make Perfect Tea, Perfect Moments.
As a startup, one of the most important tools is to always maintain open communication within the team. As a founder, it is important to share even a small win to the team and consistently maintain an upkeep spirit in the face of everyday challenges.
In addition, keeping our mindset flexible is also essential. Plans change all the time. Being able to hop amongst different tasks is the norm for entrepreneurs.
We maintain active engagement with our users through social media to collect user feedback and improve our products. We look forward to starting work on our second generation brewer very soon, perhaps through another crowdfunding campaign in 2020.