Sony Launches First Flight Crowdfunding Platform to Finance New Products

In addition, the crowdfunding platform would also be giving the project backers the opportunity to buy and pre-order the devices developed by Sony.

sony fes smartwatch rear first flight

Sony this week launched a new crowdfunding platform called First Flight to let its fans chip in for the development of new products by Sony employees. Using the platform, Sony would be promoting new ideas, one of which had already been introduced last year – the FES (Fashion Entertainments) E-Paper watch. The platform is limited to Japan for now.

“The platform will give nascent projects the opportunity to ascertain the actual needs of the market; realise a co-creation model of product development and improvement through direct dialogue with customers; and ensure timely sales operations that are also optimal for their business size,” said the company.

In addition, the crowdfunding platform would also be giving the project backers the opportunity to buy and pre-order the devices developed by Sony. The First Flight website currently has two Sony devices up for pre-orders the MESH Smart DIY kit, and the FES Watch, which we first saw in December last year.

Besides the two products, Sony has also listed an all-in-one remote dubbed HUIS Remote Controller, which has already completed 20 percent of its crowdfunding goal of JPY 5 Million (roughly Rs. 25,86,000) crowdfunding goal.

On the website, each of the three products has an introduction page with images, videos and details on the product. Also seen is the ‘Episodes’ tab that lets the backers keep track of the project status. While the MESH DIY Kit is available to pre-order starting at JPY 5,980 (roughly Rs. 3,100), the FES Watch is priced at JPY 29,700 (roughly Rs. 15,400) and will be shipped starting November this year.

The FES Watch prototype is a smartwatch that is completely made out of electronic paper (including watch face and the wrist band), which is said to change its appearance based on user gestures. It comes with 24 different user selectable patterns. The watch was previously promoted on Sony’s Makuake crowdfunding website.

Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO, Sony Corporation, also commented on the initiative, “Sony’s innovation is ingrained in the company’s founding spirit of doing what has never been done before.’ Nothing embodies this spirit more than passionate entrepreneurs who give shape to their ground-breaking ideas and introduce them to the world, without fear of failure. The First Flight platform and other Seed Acceleration Program initiatives accelerate and optimise this process. Sony itself originated as a startup, and through the Seed Acceleration Program we are challenging ourselves to return to our entrepreneurial roots. At Sony we will continue to explore ways of delivering new, emotionally compelling experiences and enhanced customer value.”


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