About this project
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ERNIT is actually not about money. The piggy bank project will be a tool to teach children about setting goals, having patience and being grateful. Traits that will last a lifetime.
App and piggy bank
ERNIT is a piggy bank for the modern family. All of our backers want to teach children how to be smart about money. ERNIT does this with a digital heart that connects it to an app which the whole family can use to spark the vital conversation about digital money early on. Pledgers will be the first to teach their children with the first limited batch of ERNIT – the piggy bank of the future.
"Learning should come as soon as children start receiving money, for example, from the Tooth Fairy."
Professor Annamaria Lusardi, The George Washington University School of Business.
ERNIT consists of an app connected to a piggy bank. Pledgers and their families will be able to download the app and join the conversation that will make kids financially wise beyond their years. In the app your kids can set goals and you can start the talk about what your family cares about most.
"Poor financial decisions can have a long-lasting impact on individuals, their families and society." Financial Education in Schools.
The ERNIT project will be your children's tool to set concrete goals. This option is going to increase the learning experience. The app makes your child choose a picture of the goal. So if the goal is a new bike you can find a picture of the exact color, brand and price that you are aiming for. The same can be said if the goal is a birthday gift for grandma or a donation to your family’s favorite charity.
Choose between goals
ERNIT lets your child set multiple goals at once. This way they will have to decide where to put the latest contribution each time ERNIT lights up. Enhancing their financial literacy and conception of value. This feature sparks a dialogue about your family’s priorities.
Touching digital money
ERNIT makes digital money tangible. An important feature if you like most parents want them to learn how to save. ERNIT makes a sound when money is added, lets children touch to put money in while the lights in the piggy’s snout show how far along they are toward reaching their goal. Just like when most of us were kids.
"80% of U.S. students are unable to properly analyze a basic invoice."
Programme for International Student Assessment.
ERNIT works perfect without real money. The learning experience is just as great and a lot of our over 250 backers have pledged to start this way. You just download the app, connect it to the piggy bank and you are good to go – an easy way to teach your child about financial goal setting and saving.
"61% of americans are unable to answer 2 out of 5 basic financial questions." National Financial Capability Study.Most of our parent pledgers start giving their children allowance when they are 4 to 6 years old. It’s never too early to get a head start. ERNIT is a fun and wise companion from the very beginning. Especially when the world of digital money is changing so dramatically right now. The future is digital.
The good thing about digital money is that it lets you send contributions from around the world. Giving you an instant connection with your children. Imagine sending a message and a greeting when you are on a business trip far away from home or giving grandparents the opportunity to keep in touch even if they live in a different city. Every message and notification lights up the piggy bank. Always making conversation.
Intangible money is part of the problem of financial illiteracy. And the problem is getting bigger and bigger in most countries of the world. In the U.S. alone, student loan debt for people under 30 years has grown to 322 billion dollars. You can make a difference for future generations by becoming a part of all the ERNIT supporters that have pledged and shared.
Student loan debt
Become a part of the ERNIT project and pledge to teach kids to be smart about digital money.
Start saving with ERNIT
"Financial education can make a difference. It can empower and equip young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to take charge of their lives." Financial Education in Schools.
ERNIT will empower your child with financial habits in four easy steps:
1. SET A GOAL
First, your child sets a goal with the app. The goal can be set for anything large or small: a teddy bear, a bicycle, a gift for grandma or even a donation for charity.
2. START SAVING
Once the goal is set, you can send contributions to ERNIT from all over the world. Both the app and the piggy bank responds when something new has happened. The ERNIT project will allow you to interact from anywhere.
3. PUT MONEY IN
When your child receives money, they have to press the piggy’s snout with their small hands to put the contribution into ERNIT. Afterwards the piggy bank lights up and sounds happy in celebration of each step closer to the goal.
4. SEE THE GOAL CLOSING IN
The string of lights around ERNIT’s snout is a regular reminder of progress – and a conversation starter. The lights go from 0 to 100 percent, and when the snout is all lit up the goal is reached with patience and modesty.
ERNIT is designed in collaboration with the award winning Danish design studio Kilo, headed by founder Lars Larsen, known for delivering simple, world class design solutions to complex design challenges - ERNIT is yet another example of this. A bold contemporary reinterpretation of the classical piggy bank. A bridge between technology and tradition to make that nostalgic connection between you as a parent and your child.
ERNIT has design elements with a clear focus on combining emotion and piggy bank heritage into a contemporary physical character with a cute and clear iconic appearance. The piggy bank appeals to both children and adults and its main goal is to emphasize learning and conversation. The future is ERNIT's.
ERNIT's design elements will teach with three key elements:
1. INVITE TO TOUCH
The shape invites children to pick ERNIT up with two hands and provides natural access to the oversized playful button on the snout. A silicone layer gives it a soft, organic feel. Design elements that enhance learning.
2. REINTERPRET THE OLD
ERNIT creates a connection between parents and children by reinterpreting the shape of the classical piggy bank using archetypical elements such as the snout and the curly tail.
3. INTUITIVE LIGHTING
Friendly eyes give ERNIT a personality while the LED lights around the snout indicate the saving progress with a natural start and end point.
The design process has been a long and fun journey for us at the ERNIT team. From the first studies of the oldest piggy bank – a small Greek temple with a slit – that dates back to the second century BC over moneybags, a diverse range of animal studies, interpretations of stacking coins to intensive studies with a clear focus on the classical typology associated with a cute little pig. We have chosen the pig as a symbol to bridge new and old.
The design process has been tightly accompanied by complex engineering work. This includes workshops with LED lights to support the animation of the eyes, firmware to connect the app with the piggy bank, PCB boards to control the different mechanisms and a lot of testing, testing and testing. Thanks a million times to all of the families, children and school classes that have given us priceless feedback.
The app is divided into a parent and a child section. In the parent section you can invite grandma, an uncle or just a friend to play a part in this new learning experience. Here you can also follow the different activities and learn even more about how to give your girl or boy healthy financial habits.
The main part of the learning experience happens in the child section. When they have multiple goals at once they have to prioritize between the different goals each time the piggy bank lights up. A lesson and an invite to learn about lots of different aspects of life.
It is important that it is your child that makes the decisions. Sure you can either accept or decline goals. You can also tell them that they should save and give more than they spend, but in the end they will have to swipe and push and press the app – that is how you empower them with financial wisdom.
The main goal of the app has always been to create an intuitive approach to the flow. The end result may look easy, but the process behind the development has included a lot of wireframes, UX designs and sketching.
It’s important that the app is intuitive for both small kids and pre-teens. That means a structure that is flexible and can be both simple and complex depending on the task. We have chosen to test different combinations of colors and figurative symbols on our own children, our friends children and total strangers children to see what made sense. This has given the app a balance between being fun to use and easy to understand.
Today we have completed roughly 80 percent of the design and engineering phase, and are beginning further testing and molding to give all of our backers the very first exclusive batch of ERNIT's.
By pre-ordering now you will be a part of our coming milestones like:
- Purchasing high quality injection molds for production
- Stretching towards additional ERNIT colors
- More beta testing of the whole system with up to 25 families
In return, you'll get one of the first ERNIT's and be an early adopter of this innovative project. For that you will get eternal good karma and a big thank you!
ERNIT was founded in 2013 by Soren Nielsen, Thomas Bjerring and Mads Tagel. Our team has collectively worked together for two years developing ERNIT, and individually we have worked decades in areas like digital design, creative technology, educational communication, sound design, financial literacy and consumer electronics.
Thomas Bjerring is a creative technologist. His quest to innovate and use emerging technologies creatively has brought him into the creative departments of large ad agencies like McCann and DDB. He is a devoted fan of blockchain technology as well as a recording artist and music producer within the electronic scene.
Mads Tagel is a digital designer and strategist. Educated at the Royal Academy of Architecture in Copenhagen, he later developed digital LEGO games for children at renowned Titoonic, before founding digital agency Geist. Later he also founded startup Passionistas and has worked as a digital strategist with clients like Amazon, Facebook and Ferrari.
Soren Nielsen is the former editor-in-chief of Denmark’s largest financial magazine Penge & Privatøkonomi. He has made digital and print strategies for the brand in areas like stock investing, savings and banking. He has a financial degree from Copenhagen Business School and a Mini MBA from Henley Business School. Soren also has a journalistic degree and has worked within the financial area at newspapers, news agencies and magazines for the last 10 years
Lars Larsen is the founder of Kilo, the design studio behind the design of the ERNIT piggy bank. He is a graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture, and the Danish Design School. His work is included in SFMOMA’s permanent collection and he has won numerous awards including the Danish Design Award, Red Dot Design Award, Good Design Award and the Cannes Lions golden trophy. He has made iconic work for companies like Louis Poulsen, Aiaiai, Biomega, Hay and Muuto.
KILO was founded in 2005 and is today considered one of Scandinavia's most influential design studios. Kilo is an idea-driven industrial design studio that creates with a holistic approach and often explores the potential of crossbreeding elements or attributes from different disciplines into new functional and aesthetic hybrids. Kilo is internationally recognized and has earned a reputation for delivering world class design and innovation for clients no matter the size – from start ups to corporate organizations.
Henrik Jacobsen is an engineer and owner of the engineering company Makethat, which specializes in product development, all the way from prototyping to manufacturing. Often working in the space between designers, entrepreneurs, investors and the factory. He has formerly been part of projects like Haxi, SmartHome and ShareBox. Does also have a background as a helicopter pilot, which started his interest in engineering.
Mohammed Filfil studies civil engineering in electro-technology at The Technical University of Denmark and made his first simple robot as a seven year old. Since then he has been working on all kinds of electronics from software to hardware circuitry, and has worked for a drone-company working on fully automatic flying drones and radars. He has been involved in projects like Haxi and is now establishing his own company.
We want to thank a lot of people, companies and organization for pushing us this far. Thanks a million times goes out to: Innovation Fund Denmark / Thomas Haderup / Jochum Kirsebom / Jacob Bøtter / DELTA / Idemolab / Kristian Lund / Væksthuset København / Kristen Tate Communications / Lemonsqueeze / DDB Copenhagen / Greener Pastures / Coinify / Morten Andersen / Benjamin Media / Paradigm / WAAITT / Andreas Krueger Sound Design / Erol Kazan / Mathias Buus / Bjarke Walling / AND A SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL OF OUR FAMILIES. WE LOVE YOU.
THANK YOU for taking the time to look at our project — we appreciate your support, and we hope you will enjoy empowering kids with healthy financial habits.
Risks and challenges
Producing a big amount of identical products is a challenge for anyone – especially for those without a factory. Luckily our team consists of an hands on industrial designer who has been a part of several award winning products with lots of manufacturing experience. On his side we have chosen two experienced engineers in troubleshooting in the product development phase including sourcing the right materials while we have chosen board members with a long time experience in working with factories in both Europe and Asia.
Making an internet of things product requires both hardware and software knowledge. We have chosen to connect the two dimensions with firmware which still needs further exploration to find the perfect match for ERNIT's needs. As a small company we have chosen to have these vital skills in our core team.
As with most consumer products produced in large quantities we need injection molding to get the production up and running. These molds require a very large capital upfront and are one of the main issues in delaying the production. Luckily we have been supported by among others Innovation Fund Denmark to make a strategy and risk management in this area where our team of industrial designer, engineers and board members have a great deal of experience.
We have combined spent decades within industrial design, digital design, financial infrastructure and manufacturing. We are already in the process of overcoming these risks and challenges as this Kickstarter campaign is on its successful path towards full funding. And the whole ERNIT team guarantee a product to be delivered in June of 2016.
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