In the first of our new series of creator interviews, we chat to the man behind SitPack, the compact travel seating solution from Denmark that we reviewed right here.
1. Hello. Who are you?
I’m Jonas Lind-Bendixen, thanks for asking
2. And what do you do?
I invented, and now I sell, compact travel seats, AKA Sitpack. In essence Sitpack is a tool to make portable seating more convenient and functional for everyone. The seat is actually no bigger that a 50Cl. beer can when folded up - and is like a 87 cm high bar stool when unfolded.
3: Tell us how you got started with that
The idea came to me at Roskilde Festival 2010, waiting for Prince to go on stage. Waiting for three hours standing, you get inventive in terms of finding a place to sit/relax a bit. The ground was super grimy, so sitting on the ground was not an option, and not being the type of guy to carry camping chairs around, standing was the only solution. Going through a decent amount of 50Cl beers while waiting - the idea came from heaven above. Boom. Put a camping chair in to a 50 Cl. Beer can; a perfect solution for carrying around to get a quick rest here and there.
I then started writing a business plan, making pitch decks for raising money, and finding likeminded people to start developing this new invention. Eventually we went on Kickstarter and raised $170K on a campaign that only cost hard work. This eventually led to industry funding and means to get our Danish production facilities up and running.
4: Nice. So what is an average day like for you?
I get up around 7am, check my email, eat breakfast with my daughter (some times my GF – who’s a nurse and gets up crazy early, to help people - respect), argue with my daughter about her clothes, hug it out, and deliver her to day care.
I jump on my bicycle, and arrive at Sitpack HQ. Greet my colleagues, get my coffee, answer emails, do sales calls, follow–ups, have meetings about everything and nothing. Have a few laughs, try to deal with unsatisfied customers that haven’t read the user guide (wink wink). Write emails, drink more coffee, go home to my family in the afternoon and enjoy the evening. I then do a 15-30 min workout routine, and some sofa work from around 10pm till midnight for anything trans-Atlantic, and preparing emails for Asia when they wake-up.
5: Where do you see your industry going in the near future, and how might you have to adapt?
Sure, ever since we launched of our KS Campaign, back in 2014, we’ve seen that people are accepting the one-legged chill position. Even Chinese fakes are popping up, which we see as a good sign, as long as we can keep them at bay, which we are doing at the moment.
In general, we’ve experienced an increase in sales and interest from all countries in the world, so my guess is that we’ll see more companies making one-legged portable seating and that these will soon become a standard product in most gadget, travel, design and outdoor shops.
6: What advice would you offer to someone keen to follow in your footsteps?
Pitch your idea endlessly to everyone; get honest feedback from people with no filter, preferentially tipsy people at a bar/party. If you are on to something, find partners, advisors that understand you and can connect to the right people. Go with your gut, but always remember a wise man once said; it takes five to seven years to create an overnight success.
If you don’t have the million dollar idea, but aspire for entrepreneurship and creating your own disruptive start-up, I would recommend to work for a start-up to for little or no money for a period to learn and understand the ups and downs that are involved with creating you own business.
I would then utilise that experience get a job working at a scaling start-up or a medium sized company that pays a salary. At this type of company, you would be able to build up international and organisational experience, which are key for success. When you feel you have completed your learning, expanded your network, and have a little cash in: I believe this would make creating a start-up a lot smoother.
7: Thanks for that. So, apart from your own products, what kind of gadget would you like to see being reviewed on The Test Pit.
Oh, man nothing in particular – you got me covered pretty good. But it would be cool to have a “straight out of Japan section”. In Japan you’ll find some crazy and amazing inventions that never see the EU/US market!
Cheers Jonas, and all the best with SitPack!
Find out more about SitPack at sitpack.com