Sony has launched a new crowdfunding platform designed to help their own employees fund projects that do not fit with the company's existing product line.
Sony's Seed Acceleration Program was put into place with the intention of helping promising new business ideas proposed by Sony employees grow into full-fledged businesses. The newest initiative of the program is a platform called First Flight, a crowdfunding campaign aimed to help Sony employees raise funds from the public in order to have their business dreams recognized.
"Through the First Flight platform, Sony will support the launch and growth of new business ventures," the company said in a statement. "The platform will give nascent projects the opportunity to ascertain the actual needs of the market; realise a co-creation model of product development and improvement through direct dialogue with customers; and ensure timely sales operations that are also optimal for their business size."
The press release states that on July 1, "two new business projects nurtured within Sony will officially launch in the Japanese market via First Flight." The first is MESH, a DIY kit that "turns anyone into an inventor." MESH completed a successful Indiegogo campaign in March.
Preorders are available for FES Watch, "a project that merges technology with fashion," with the band and the watch face changing in response to the user's wrist gestures.
There is also the HUIS home remote control, which features an e-paper screen and can be programmed to replace existing remotes.
"Sony's innovation is ingrained in the company's founding spirit of `doing what has never been done before.' Nothing embodies this spirit more than passionate entrepreneurs who give shape to their ground-breaking ideas and introduce them to the world, without fear of failure," said Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony. "The First Flight platform and other Seed Acceleration Program initiatives accelerate and optimize this process. Sony itself originated as a start-up, and through the Seed Acceleration Program we are challenging ourselves to return to our entrepreneurial roots. At Sony we will continue to explore ways of delivering new, emotionally compelling experiences and enhanced customer value."
First Flight is currently Japan-only.