Israeli Travel-Light hopes to beat its luggage competition with G-RO, a high-powered, ergonomic, and affordable commuter solution. It’s now available on Kickstarter
Kickstarter campaigns for transportation devices such as the COOLEST COOLER or the TRACKEL JACKET are immensely popular. These two products alone rank as the second and fourth most funded Kickstarter campaigns of all time.
With this in mind, Israeli Travel-Light might be on to something.
On Wednesday in Tel Aviv, they launched a $125,000 Kickstarter campaign for G-RO, a new take on traveling.
Travel-Light started out looking for a way to make rolling luggage more ergonomic. Wheeled luggage boomed a number of years ago and eventually crept into smaller day-to-day backpacks. Still, the wheels are of a classic and made-to-wear-down plastic.
G-RO has literally reinvented the wheel (pun achieved) and made it bigger, pushing the rotation axis and center of gravity upward. That requires less energy to pull your bag through the airport. The wheels themselves are designed to last 15 years and are made of “super strong aerospace and firearm-grade polymers,” which sounds kind of intimidating and very Batmanesque.
The most impressive part of the bag is the equipment: a 23,000 mAh battery, two USB ports and a universal power outlet to charge your computer and phone and some third device simultaneously. It also comes equipped with a proximity detector (in case your bag is too far away from you) and a location tracker.
Talking to Geektime
“The Kickstarter campaign will allow us to cover the tooling costs and produce our first units,” says Netta Shalgi, Founder and CEO of Travel-Light which produces the bag, to Geektime. “After the Kickstarter, we can gauge public interest and engage more investors, potential partners and factoring.”
Shalgi claims there is an industrial-level group-think in luggage that has kept ergonomic options like this off the market. What is common are more comfortable, longer and stronger handles.
G-RO’s solution fundamentally changes the balance of the product. While it chose a powerful battery, others on the market could have given the bag more pop, such as ChargeTech’s 24,000 mAh option or the HYT Mart 30,000 Solar Power Bank.
“It’s not the strongest battery, but battery technology is constantly improving. We developed the battery with the needs of today’s travelers in mind. We also chose to place the battery in an optional electronic module so it can be upgraded with improvements in the technology,” she adds.
As for renewing the power pack as you go, Travel-Light decided to go for efficiency without getting overburdened by solar chargers and hamster wheels with G-RO.
“We considered using a dynamo, to gather power from the wheel when it turns. Unfortunately, you’d have to walk something like four hours to gain one bar on your smartphone. So, today it’s not very efficient, but it’s something to consider in the future.”
Are they smart enough?
It’s in the smart department that they face other upstart competition. Bluesmart raised over $2 million on Indiegogo last year for its very intelligent system that also tells you how much weight it is carrying and can be locked remotely. Trunkster and Barracuda, two other major Kickstarters, raised $1.4 million and $1.25 million respectively.
Despite the competition, G-RO seems to have the advantage. Their rivals’ respective battery capacity is either 10,000 or 10,400 mAh, less than half the power of G-RO. G-RO’s initial price of $279 matches Bluemsart’s initial offer of $280 (now $399) and meets Trunskter’s current “sale” price: Its list price is the economically prohibitive $480.
They hope to produce 3,000 units with the new financing ahead of introducing other options for customers.
“We currently have designed four other models in the G-RO family. We’ve developed each one of these with a specific type of traveler or commuter in mind,” Shalgi notes.
The Kickstarter is not part of a schedule for funding plans. Shalgi and co. are tight-lipped on their prospects and current investors. For now, they are waiting for the results of their campaign before they go hunting for new cash.
“We raised seed money for R&D and to establish the company. At this point, we are not disclosing the funding we have received. The Kickstarter campaign will allow us to cover the tooling costs and produce our first units. After the Kickstarter, we can gauge public interest and engage more investors, potential partners, and factoring,” she explains.
Travel-Light was co-founded by CEO Netta Shalgi and Ken Hertz in 2010. It is a small company but retains a seven-person team of advisers.