When we last spoke with Gemio in January, the company was on a mission to create a kind of digital friendship bracelet for girls (catch our interview with founder and CEO Michael Bettua at CES 2016 here). Last Wednesday, the company launched a new Kickstarter campaign signalling a change in direction.
Rather than focusing on the tween demographic, Gemio is expanding its target audience by honing in on festivals, events, and concerts. The look and feel of Gemio band is the same—the bracelet is still made of acrylic and LEDs with interchangeable and customizable tiles. What’s new is the story being told.
While at its core the company is still about connection and communication, Gemio’s new marketing strategy is less about girls and more about women (specifically, women who know how to party). The company’s new tagline is “the smart band that lights up the night,” indicating they’re positioning themselves as a wearable light solution for social gatherings like outdoor festivals, concerts, and large-scale events like Burning Man.
“We’ve been amazed at how the music and fashion communities are embracing Gemio” says Bettua, who is based in Seattle. He explains that while the product was originally launched as a connected friendship bracelet, as the team developed the bands, the design and technology evolved to be more sophisticated than originally envisioned. “For example our swappable tile sets and the ability to control millions of colors and light effects makes Gemio the perfect accessory for a night out” he says.
In addition to emphasizing this new direction, Gemio is also spotlighting its internal sensors, which can light-up in response to music and movement, as well as the proximity sensors which can be paired with friends’ bracelets. Although companies like PixMob have shown us what light-up bracelets can do for creating a connected fan experience (they were the wearable solution used during Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour), they fell short in terms of offering customization and continued use. Where PixMob is designed to be deployed by corporations and event organizers for one-time use, Gemio is going direct-to-consumer by putting the experience entirely in the hands—er, on the wrist—of the user. With Gemio, you choose the colour, light effects, and tiles. In other words, you control the light show.
In the future, the company plans to roll out channels which will enable enhanced communication between groups. “Gemio channels will allow users to connect with their favorite artists, causes, events, and organizations” explains Bettua. “A light signal from a DJ can alert you to a new cut available, or when an artist is making an announcement, or when it’s time to take action for a cause, or when your favorite team wins a game.”
It seems Gemio’s new approach is working: in just two days, the company raised 100% of its $50K goal on Kickstarter, and with 24 days to go and 824 backers, they may close in on $100K. Check out their Kickstarter page here.