The Ukrainian startup Senstone is preparing for mass production of its device in China, as well as for the new investments.
A year ago, the Ukrainian startup Senstone made a breakthrough on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. It began to raise money to create a “stylish” device that would process voice and immediately convert it into text. Back then the team had a working prototype and big plans — to further develop the device, add new colors, start mass production. The project expected to raise $50,000 but during less than a month it had raised $300,000. Preparations for the production began, but requests from customers continued to come, so the startup team decided to continue the pre-sale of the device on the Indiegogo platform. Thus, today Senstone managed to get in total above $400,000 from more than 3,500 people.
A step away from the production
Today the CEO and the founder of the startup Nazar Fedorchuk is in China. There, the testing of the product before the mass production, which is scheduled to begin in June-July this year, is being finished. Readiness for the production is currently 70%. As Nazar Fedorchuk adds, the device will be manufactured in the city of Shenzhen, at the factory specializing in “smart” watches and other gadgets.
At the beginning of the fundraising campaign Senstone planned to produce the device in four colors. In addition to the main model — a black one with a silvery rhodium-brass framing, there were also yellow brass, gray and black anodized aluminum framing variants.
But finally it turned out that the users only liked the two variants most, and the solid black one became the favorite. “We strive to simplify the product and make it suitable for everyone,” explains Nazar Fedorchuk.
The next lot of 4,000 pieces will be ready in about a week. Senstone Marketing Manager Dara Burko explains that this is one of the most important steps for the team, since it will give a possibility to get a feedback on real use of the device for further refinement of the design.
Also, the team is working to make the device turn on and start recording after double-tapping. Now it is activated by a small button on the case. You can record messages with a duration of up to 1 minute at a time. The recording will be most accurate if the distance to the microphone does not exceed 20 cm. Conversion of voice to text takes a few seconds. As Dara Burko tells us, today engineers are working to reduce this time.
Technologies for Ukraine and China
In general, Senstone positions itself as a new way of making notes. The technology of decoding is still imperfect, but it is constantly being improved. Now the startup uses the Nuance software on licensing terms. This is a cloud-based voice recognition system. “They provide a good quality, but we customize this solution to our needs,” says Nazar Fedorchuk.
Meanwhile, the project team patents the device itself, which cleans the sound, works without wires and has internal memory, that is, it can store the material offline.
The language, Senstone recognizes the best, is English. Among the device’s working languages there is also Ukrainian. Dara Burko demonstrated the work of the device on May 17 at the meeting of the business angels community UAngel.
Currently Senstone also recognizes German, Japanese, Danish and Chinese (Mandarin).
In the future, developers want to add more languages. As Nazar Fedorchuk tells us, the device could have a huge success in the Asian market. The point is that printing hieroglyphs is a quite difficult thing, so users often use voice input. And the available recognition systems are far from ideal when it comes to hieroglyphs. However, such a development is very complicated, so entering the Chinese market is not on the agenda now.
The start of mass production is not the only news from Senstone. The startup also collects investment within a seed-round at two locations — in Ukraine and Poland. It has already received the preliminary obligations of 60% of the required amount. The project team will be able to tell more about these investments when the deal will be closed.