A big thank you to CarWink for this awesome interview! CarWink is an incredible innovation for cars which allow drivers to communicate with each-other in a safe manner, in an effort to avoid car collisions, maintain general safety, and assist one another in various road scenarios and conditions. A truly remarkable and game-changing system.
Read the interview below, and check out more startup interviews here.
- CarWink is the world’s first car device allowing you to communicate with other drivers through animation. How did the idea develop?
Weicheng Chou lives in the Los Angeles area, so he noticed that road rage is a big problem in that area due to the congested roads, so he came up with a solution to help minimize the driver frustration on the road through the GenY insights we uncovered, and thus developed CarWink.
- Can you explain the role and relationship of InnovArt as it relates to CarWink?
At InnovArt Design, we design with the observation of everyday users’ behavior in mind and tailoring it to satisfy both form and function. Our vision is to re-imagine the future of mobility. Of course, CarWink is the future of mobility.
- CarWink is solar powered – is this an issue for cars in climates where the sun isn’t out for long, or if one drives primarily at night?
No, it will not be an issue because it can also be charged through Micro USB, which we recommend doing before using it. The solar panel will help the charge last longer.
- What can you tell us about early testing results? What is the feedback so far from initial trial runs?
We have found that it sticks on to the windshield well, so there is no need to worry about it falling down. And we will keep figuring out the best aspects and features of every part of CarWink to provide the best user experience. We have also found that CarWink is visible up to 2 car lengths.
- Can you share any data with us? Number of signups? Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or Campfire Japan donations?
- Kickstarter backers total: 679
- Indiegogo backer total: 80
- Campfire.jp backer total: 124
- Total preorders: 1000+
- Have you had any contacts with big automakers or government officials? Surely CarWink could be utilized in a campaign to keep the roads more safe.
There is a Taiwanese automaker that is interested in partnering with us and we are in talks with other companies as well. In fact, there are over 3 automakers in Taiwan interested in partnering with us and there are some promising south eastern government official partners whom we will have some further conversations with.
- Does your startup have any patents on CarWink? Proprietary technology?
We have filed for two provisional patents: one for a utility patent and one for design patent and they will be transformed into PCT patents in a short time.
- Many industries are moving toward an Uber for X model. Does the uberization movement have any effect on CarWink’s usage? If not, and this is slightly off topic, what are your thoughts on the disruption of many industries with the Uber-style services available today?
Yes, there is a lot of possibility to think about collaborating with this service model. Smart City is a huge concept with services everywhere. So if the “Uber for X” model is popular, that means it reflects people’s needs for now and for the near future, even if it causes the disruption of many industries. Uber for X is a fully integrated service, thus it brings us a huge space of imagination in “ecosystems” (the virtual space through cell phones). This is why we are not only just making a hardware device, but a medium for the ecosystem.
- What are you most excited about for CarWink’s future?
- It becoming super popular in the Smart City ecosystem.
- Influencing people on the road to be more polite in regards to communication/ interaction, and more stylish in appearance.
- As a startup founder, what is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear would be if CarWink really targets the right market (including targeting audiences and market share holders) providing the best user experience or not. This is because Innovart Design is a user centric design company and everything we do in the company is around “User”.
- For fun: What is your go-to website for both regular news and hi-tech news?
For regular news, my go-to sites are CNN and YAHOO!
For Hi-Tech News, my go-to sites are Engadget/ TechCrunch/ Digital Trends/ Interesting Engineering.
- For fun: What is the first thing you eat and drink in the morning?
Before breakfast I always drink a large glass of water first, and then for breakfast I go to McDonalds and get a Sausage McMuffin with egg with hash browns, as well as a large Iced Coffee.
- For fun: What website do you go to check when your internet isn’t working?
First I check Google and then I check Facebook.
- For fun: Any advice for Startups #nofilter, in our quest to become the mecca of startup founder interviews?
If one day in the near future we become successful, that would be very meaningful to publish a book(or article/ any media style) gathering startup founder interviews with categorizations which can share some useful experiences for readers. And it would be really helpful for Startups #nofilter to host parties or networking events to connect startup founders with each other. Many thanks for interviewing me about InnovArt, a cross-domain integration startup while we are in the super early stages, as we need more exposure to grow faster. As the saying goes that “ Discerning eyes can tell greatness from mediocrity.”