First of all, I’d like to thank the 300 plus people who are currently following the pre-launch page on Kickstarter. If you are not already signed up for the pre-launch page, please follow this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nestboxlive/nest-box-live-smart-nest-box-and-app. You will be presented with a button ‘Notify me on launch’ where you can sign up and be emailed when the project goes live.
It’s only seven days until the Crowdfunding campaign launches via Kickstarter. This critical milestone encompasses many years of research and development to get to this stage. The past three years have been spent designing hardware, writing software and conducting extensive testing of the whole system with a small number of nest box partners on the Facebook page. If you have been following the page, you may know that I regularly host live streams from the existing boxes on the Nest Box Live network.
Most of the boxes are currently located around the UK, with some in northern Europe, the USA, Canada, and South Africa. With the crowdfunding campaign’s launch, the plan extends this even further worldwide.
How much does it cost?
This is the most common question I get asked, and until now, I have been unable to offer a solid response. Before diving into the numbers, it’s worth mentioning a few points about where the Nest Box Live project is and ultimately managing your expectations regarding price.
In e-commerce, retailers often have a race to get prices as low as possible to capture business. When new products enter the market, they are often backed by big bank loans, investors or hedge funds. Unfortunately, being a single person tech start-up, none of these options is available to me, and I don’t benefit from economies of scale.
I believe that honesty and clarity are the best policy as with anything I do. I am always upfront about how much things cost and the benefits and constraints to our nest box partners.
The introductory price offered exclusively to backers on Kickstarter will be £220/€265/$290. This is a limited time offer for the campaign’s duration, and if I decide to do another production run in the future, I’m almost certain the cost will increase.
Most people will probably look at this and think it’s too expensive. However, if you look at the most costly nest box camera currently on the market, it sits at around the £190/€230/$260 price mark. Considering that these cameras are often low quality, have no integration app and don’t send you notifications each time a bird visits, paying an extra £30 for a system that does so much more might make more sense.
The breakdown of the production costs for each nest box system is as follows (this is what it costs me to manufacture the whole system):
- Wooden nest box £40
- Components and manufacture – £90
- Cables and accessories – £11
- Packaging – £5
- Kickstarter fees – £22
- Taxes – £30
- 10% margin of error – £22
Why am I not making any profit from selling the nest boxes?
One of the founding aims of the Nest Box Live project has been to create a worldwide network of connected smart nest boxes. Existing nest box owners have benefited from many exciting features that the technology offers, and in all reports, people have been delighted.
To make this affordable, one of the things that I do is live-stream some of the nest boxes on my Facebook and YouTube channels. These cameras have provided millions of people with much-needed joy and happiness at difficult times in recent times. We already know the benefits that nature has on mental health and wellbeing.
During the live streams, viewers send in donations and adverts are shown, for which I receive a small percentage of the revenue.
A lot of the money goes back into developing the project and supporting small wildlife charities and conservation projects. Everyone wins!
The actual cost of the nest box and all the technology inside is far greater than what is being offered on Kickstarter. Most businesses would estimate to make a 50% profit on their products. This would take the price of Nest Box Live over £440, which is not affordable.
This is the only way that the business model works, and it will form part of the legal terms of conditions of using the service. Almost everyone has been more than happy for me to share the live streams of their nest boxes with my 450+ thousand followers on Facebook. It has been an engaging and rewarding experience for users as they can get involved in the action through the live chat during broadcasts. If live-streaming does not sit comfortably with you, this project might not be for you.
As a user, you will still have exclusive access to your nest box live feed via the app, amongst other breakthrough features outlined on the website.
The bigger picture
One aspect of the technology not previously mentioned is the amount of data that the nest box collects. Information such as types of birds are visiting, temperature, air pollution and much more. At some point in the future, the aim is to share this with research organisations to help better understand species and what we can do to support them. By becoming part of Nest Box Live, you will also be helping conservation efforts.
If there are any questions, feel free to post them in the comments below, and I would be more than happy to answer them.