JULY 9-12, 2018

Discover RISE's 13 conferences

How to make wearables actually wearable: Misfit Founder Sonny Vu answers your questions

Anna O'Hare
Published on May 31, 2016
“The vision for wearables is always to make devices that don’t look like wearable tech” said Sonny Vu during his Machine Stage talk today. Sonny’s 20/20 in that regard. Sonny took his company from crowdfunding their first product to being acquired by Fossil Group for $260 million. As a founder he’s been through it all and reached the heights that many startups are striving to reach. Unsurprisingly, the RISE startups were full of questions for Sonny. Here’s what he had to say – he also hit us with the best advice he’s ever been given.
iclothing India asks… Misfit was acquired by Fossil Group. How do you know when it’s the right time to sell a startup? Honestly it’s when founders are ready to sell. For us with Fossil Group, we just kind of knew from the beginning that they were the right partner. Because we were the tech company that always longed to be in fashion, and they were the fashion and design powerhouse that was always excited about technology. It was really a match made in heaven. The cultural fit was amazing. We thought similarly about how we treat people and do business. Nowboat asks… Apple have such a throwaway attitude to wearables. How does sustainability fit into the wearables industry? Well it’s too bad that wearables are seen as throwaway. I think it’s because many wearables aren’t actually wearable. They’re either not that beautiful and interesting to wear or you have to stop wearing them because you have to charge them all the time. People get tired of charging things. If things they wear don’t provide that much value, you shouldn’t ask people to do too much. That’s one of the things we focus on at Misfit – making things that don’t require charging and will work for up to six months. If you are providing a lot of value, you have a display smartwatch, ok I’ll charge that, but making things wearable is key. Ibebot and The Social Ladder asks… How do you hold onto your company’s identity and culture after an acquisition? At a certain point you know who you are as an entrepreneur, as a startup, as a company and as a team. You figure out what’s non-negotiable, and there aren’t that many non-negotiables in life to be honest, and you work on the rest. For us, we had to do things differently. When we found Fossil Group, we saw that it was a group of people who thought differently; who weren’t just about fashion and design but were excited to see real evolution. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you should hold strong opinions, loosely held. uncloset asks… What’s the next trend in wearables you have your eye on? Hybrid smartwatches. Smartwatches that look just like regular watches but are connected. Watches with an analogue movement and looks like a regular watch but does more than just tell time. Chefworks ask… What does he see the potential application of wearables in the kitchen or food related environment? Kitchen tech is a really exciting space. There are some really exciting companies out there doing some really things – companies like Drop. Their kitchen scale is a beautiful product and they’ve built an amazing user experience. Join us at RISE 2017. Bring your startup. Apply to ALPHA.