1. It Aids With Sleep Inertia
Joglekar, who started the company with his friend from seventh grade, Justin Lee, explained the motive behind the company.
“We both work long hours and have erratic schedules, so napping is key,” he said. “The problem with it is that we always wake up feeling terrible, with headaches and grogginess and it ruins our productivity for the rest of the day. We built the Napwell to solve that problem.”
That groggy feeling, they learned, is due to sleep inertia. It occurs when you’re suddenly awoken from a deep sleep. Their mask eradicates that feeling by waking you with a simulated sunrise.
Feedback from customers has been positive, with glowing reports from frequent flyers, soldiers, night-shift workers and people with sleep disorders. Other find it effective if they want to wake up quietly without disturbing their significant other.
2. They Found that Napping Is Really Important
Through their research, the entrepreneurs learned that sleep is beneficial in many ways. “Put simply, naps are awesome for you. Regardless of how well you sleep each night, naps can boost your memory, creativity, and ability to learn new things,” Joglekar said.
He highlighted the effects of napping as being able to:
– Increase creativity by 40%
– Improve performance of pilots & astronauts by 34% and their overall alertness by 100%
– Perform better than caffeine for boosting verbal memory and procedural motor skills.
3. It’s a Harvard, MIT & Stanford Collaboration
Lee graduated from MIT in 2008 and is now a PhD candidate in a joint program with Harvard Medical School. Joglekar is a 2008 grad of Stanford University. “We feel that our educational backgrounds have allowed us to take a scientific approach to our product roadmap,” he said. “We try to ground all of our development in research and are lucky to have access to, and get advice from, some of the brightest minds in sleep research.”
Their sleep team consists of a group of engineers from MIT, Harvard Medical School and Stanford. They also look to advisors, who are sleep experts from “some of the most prestigious sleep research labs in the country.”
4. They Used Kickstarter, Which Got The Attention of the ‘Shark Tank’
Napwell’s campaign was the men’s first foray into Kickstarter. They did their homework, spending months preparing and then, once the campaign was live, promoting it full time. They got the word out by initiaitives like emailing people, posting on Facebook and writing articles on napping. “Thankfully, the campaign was a success and we raised 130% of our goal without a dollar spent,” Joglekar said.
In fact, it was their presence on Kickstarter that got them noticed by Shark Tank’s casting directors. “We were actually contacted via Twitter during our Kickstarter campaign. Turns out one of the casting directors had seen our product during a TechCrunch pitch competition and contacted us because of the success of the Kickstarter campaign,” Joglekar said.
5. It’s User Friendly
At the start, one of their main goals was to make the product user friendly, and the end result was a collaborative effort over time. In fact, their first prototype was simply a mask with a strip of LEDs placed inside. It was powered by a 9V battery and controlled by an external dimmer-switch that the user rotated to make the lights brighter or dimmer.
To make a mask that would simulate a sunrise while still being comfortable for a person’s face was no easy task. But the co-founders worked with a set of testers to obtain the best product.
Their finished product make its easy to use, which is important when you getting ready to nap. Consumers set a timer for their desired nap length. Ten minutes before wake-up time, the lights inside the mask gradually brighten.
Another positive aspect of the product is that it’s battery operated. This means users don’t need a smartphone or Internet connectivity, so can use the mask anywhere they want to nap.