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Another Kiwi success story on Kickstarter: HiLO hits target for ingenious iPhone/iPad widget

Chalk up another success story for an NZ company on, the US-based microfunding site.

As I type, Auckland-based startup HiLO has raised $US28,248 from 415 backers, enough to fund the first production run of its eponymous product - a lense that sticks onto an iPhone or iPad, allowing you to take a photo at right angles to the display.

The reward for most of the backers is a heavy discount on the HiLO when it ships in February (it will retail for around $US90).

Combined with a software app, it lets you create wide angle and other affects.

And it allows the simple, pracitical advantage of being able to lay your iPhone or iPad flat on a table before you take a pic - allowing any flat surface to act as a tripod.

A picture paints 1000 words, so check out the video:

Founder Mark Hampton had been seeking $US27,500.

Having topped that amount with eight days to go, he has now announced a "stretch target."

If $US37,500 is raised, a voice-activated shutter function will be added (that is, you could take a selfie by using a voice command to activate the camera from across the room).

Hampton told NBR he designed the HiLO, then worked with an optical engineer, mechanical engineer and app developer to create a prototype.

Of course, raising money on Kickstarter is only half the battle. A number of companies have fallen over after encountering difficulties getting a product to market, somewhat marring Kickstarter's image (the site recently tightened up listing criteria).

On this count, Hampton said he's spent 18 months lining up component suppliers and (China-based) manufacturers.

HiLO should be able to make its February ship goal "at a stretch."

There have been a few delays with a last minute redesign that will accommodate the new iPhone 5 (as well as older models). But Hampton sounds confident. things seem in hand. Positive previews have run on Mashable and CNET.

Will a HiLO follow for the Android market? Porting the HiLo app to Google's platform would be relatively straightforward. But the different sizes and shapes of Android handset complicates things, Hampton said. His company is considering a HiLO for the best-selling high-end Android, Samsung's Galaxy S III.

Checkout HiLO's Kickstarter project page here.

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Comments and questions

As per my tweet (, it'd be great to see some tips and insight into how Kiwis are making use if Kickstarter. As long as it doesn't ruin it for everyone, could make a good article :)

Kickstarter - which uses an Amazon payment system specific to the US - doesn't allow NZ projects to list.

"We created a US-based company to get the Amazon payments account. Painful but doable," Hampton told NBR.

Good on you Mark, its a great idea and can see it in an Apple store if you get the branding and packaging as slick as the product. Its great to read stories of kiwis doing cleaver and innovative stuff. Well done mate, can't wait to buy one!

Great article! Wow, they got featured on Mashable and CNET.
Anonymous, don't wait, pre-order it now ;)
Who knows when it will be available. If some US company licenses it from Mark, then it may take a long time to get those in New Zealand. There's still a few days left for Kickstarter campaign - that is the best way to ensure you will get it fast (probably even faster than the rest of the world) and it is cheaper too!