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Bia is the first multi-sport watch you'll love! Slim lightweight design. No-wait GPS. Plus a must-have safety alert for solo workouts.
Bia is the first multi-sport watch you'll love! Slim lightweight design. No-wait GPS. Plus a must-have safety alert for solo workouts.
2,118 backers pledged $408,160 to help bring this project to life.

This is not the update you were hoping for....

When you backed us on this amazing journey it was always about more than just a GPS Watch. It was about matching a broader set of needs with the word  "athlete". It was about building a female-founded technology company. ...and it was about developing a product that we were *all* excited to be a part of creating.

We knew the journey was going to be tough. And it has been. The last couple of weeks have been the hardest. 

  • In late May, based on the results of our water resistance testing, we made the decision to push our ship date back from August to October. (I think many of you missed this update - or we didn't do a good job making the change as explicit as we should have - for that we apologize.)
     
  • Up until about two weeks ago, October looked on target. And then BOOM! Trouble. 

A number of things went wrong all at once. On a product this complex and this close to the finish line, even small things add up. Therefore I need to revise our delivery date to "holiday". Our internal target date is actually sooner BUT I have learned my lesson and will now communicate a worst case date not a best case date. 

Before I go into details on what's causing this delay and why I believe this delivery date will hold I want you to know that we are as disappointed and as frustrated as you are. There are no words to describe how hard we are working and how much the entire team is pouring into this product to make it fabulous. 

What Does Complex Look Like?

Before we dig into the details, here is a sense of what we mean when we say "complex"

How Close Are We to Shipping?

We've gone through 3 full field test builds with our manufacturer and had units in the field for nearly 3 months. We are down to a few more major steps - all with their own lead times - before we ship:

1. Build final molds for plastic parts: Started!

2. Freeze all electrical and mechanical changes.

3. Complete Pilot Production Run: Once we have tested and frozen all changes to the electrical and mechanical aspects of the device, we produce 200 units to implement final manufacturing quality tests and make the line flow as smoothly as possible.

4. Procure parts for mass production: Started for long lead time items!

5. Freeze and test firmware

6. Start mass production. We'll ramp from 500 to 1,000 units per week to start so we can put extra quality controls in place. 

Why the Delay?

We expected to exit our July field test build ready to freeze electrical and mechanical design and start the 4-6 week lead time for our Pilot Production run. There were cost saving changes we had wanted to implement but we deferred them in order to lock down the design and get Bia out as quickly as possible. However, during that build and the 3 weeks since, we've found two problems that must get fixed before going to production because they effect the quality of the product we'd be sending to you.

Problem:  The watch is now water resistant (yay!) but the manufacturing yield is low. We need over 95% passing water resistance testing the first time. Currently we have closer to 30% passing the first time and on the ones that fail the LCD is cracking at higher pressures. 

Resolution: The LCD's are cracking because the new button material that both feels great to press and enabled a very water-tight seal has a downside. It is causing the internal parts to compress too tightly at higher pressures - which in turn cracks the LCD. We are working with 4 different hardnesses of gasket materials, .001 mm variances in circuit boards, adhesives, and machined parts, and precise torque values on .5mm self-tapping screws to fix this issue with a high manufacturing yield. It's a Mechanical Engineer's Tetris. 

Problem: We found an electrical problem on the circuit board that causes a momentary spike in battery output that results in the watch battery lasting 6 months instead of two years. It doesn't effect every watch so it was not readily apparent or easy to diagnose. This is the problem responsible for the new delay. 

Resolution: We are finalizing changes for the new circuit boards this week, however, we need to robustly test the changes on a batch of 20 boards before freezing design and starting our Pilot Production run. We spent 3 unplanned weeks identifying the problem and designing and then prototyping the fix. It will take another 4 weeks to produce and robustly test the 20 new boards. I don't want to assume the fix works, skip to the full 200 unit Pilot run and get an ugly surprise. Hence October is now "Holiday". Sigh. 

Will "Holiday" Really Hold?:

Honestly, I think it will. Why?

  • The problems we are solving are well understood and we are deep in the process of testing solutions. New problems could arise, but we aren't seeing any yet. 
  • Firmware was my original worry and this extra two months - along with the great talent we've added to the team on this front - mitigates that risk.
  • Procurement of parts could always bite us but none of these changes impact our longest lead time items so we are doing "risk buys" to secure supply in advance. 

On behalf of the whole team I can't tell you how much your continued support and enthusiasm means to us. We'll keep you posted on progress. Together we are building something great. 

C2K and the team

Comments

    1. Kristi Dunnam on October 14, 2013

      Also wondering the status.. and looking for any updates please!

    2. Missing avatar

      Michael Goscinski on October 14, 2013

      Cheryl,

      It's a month and a half since the last update here. Any news, good or bad, which you can share?

    3. Christina Wallace on September 28, 2013

      Thanks for the update. Will keep my fingers crossed "holiday" means in time for the NYC Marathon on Nov 3... =)

    4. Mike Cochrane on August 28, 2013

      As a swimmer frustrated with every other GPS product on the market, I'm happy to wait a bit longer for a quality product that's clearly being designed and built by people who will use it. Keep up the good work, and thanks for being straight up about where you are at.

    5. Kim Brantley on August 27, 2013

      Keep up the good work. I'm willing to wait to ensure a quality product. Just hoping I get it before the R n R Marathon in Savannah on November 9th...It'd be a great time to test drive it!

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      Sharon on August 27, 2013

      Thanks for the thorough update! I agree with Emmy and Jessica's comments. I am super excited about getting the final quality product! I appreciate your transparency and hard work.

    7. Emmy Ann Horstkamp on August 27, 2013

      Thanks for the update. I'm curious to actually see the watch. I'm taking that vague deadline as a vague deadline and will not get my hopes up to have the watch before Christmas. Luckily I'm familiar with startups and all the delays of launching a new product. Keeping my fingers crossed that you can get it to us before the new year.

    8. Paige Sato on August 27, 2013

      I guess I'm in the minority. I never got the update about the pushback from August to October, and this is even more upsetting. I understand the complexities involved, appreciate your effort, but am really really unhappy about this.

    9. Missing avatar

      Jessica Valadie on August 27, 2013

      I hear the frustration you and the team are feeling, but I have to tell you....like other commenters here, I'm happy to wait for the kick ass end product (sorry, no other way to put it!). Thanks for the transparency you continue to have during this process, just reaffirms my gut instinct that my money was extremely well spent! Thanks to you and the team for your hard work to give us a high quality product. And hang in there. :)

    10. Missing avatar

      Renee Defeo on August 27, 2013

      Excellent update! Keep trucking forward! I am so excited to see and try the final product, but very willing to wait for the process to be done correctly and have an awesome robust product! Looks like you have a plan to get to the end of this journey and we are all cheering you along the way! Keep up the great work!

    11. Sarah Cook on August 27, 2013

      Thank you for your transparency and all of the interesting details. I don't want a fast Bia, I want a great Bia. It's worth the wait.

    12. Missing avatar

      Kelly Seier Vocke on August 27, 2013

      Great update! Love the insight into the development process and how you're balancing schedule with technical risk.
      Plus infographics!

    13. Missing avatar

      John Barrett on August 27, 2013

      Thanks for the details, but not to be funny when you say "Holiday" are referring to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Presidents day (2014)

    14. Missing avatar

      Jana Daeuber on August 27, 2013

      Thanks for keeping us updated. I appreciate the lengths that you are going through to assure a quality end product.

    15. Michelle Gour on August 27, 2013

      I would rather wait for a quality product than receive a so-so product that met a deadline. Thank you for all of your hard work and for the updates. You all are amazing!

    16. Missing avatar

      Dagmar Ebaugh on August 27, 2013

      Thanks so much for this awesome detailed update, Cheryl and team! I totally feel your frustration, but can't begin to express how grateful I (and hopefully all your supporters) am that you and the team are being so thorough and quality-focused vs. just 'shoving' out a half-baked product. We also applaud how transparently you are sharing the design, testing and production process with us. This is a great learning experience for me, just as an 'interested observer'. What a fabulous holiday achievement it will be to finally sport our super-functional, reliable Bia watches! Tons of good luck vibes coming your way! - Dagmar