An astonishing idea comes up unexpectedly. Spray Printer is a hardware startup company, which came to the world from a single word from a little girl.
SprayPrinter is a company’s name as well as their 1st product, “SprayPrinter”. It is a wireless device that converts digital designs into wall art from a smartphone.
What attracts people is the easiness of usability. There are only three steps. First, choosing your favorite image from the application, which has endless collection of designs. In second, connect Spray Printer with aerosol spray can, activate the application and start painting. And… enjoy! That’s all you need to bring the plain wall to your own art gallery!
BRAIN PORTAL was lucky enough to have chance to arrange an interview with their engineer, Henry Patzig who has a master’s degree in industrial engineering and management and a valuable experience from working at Siemens.
Protorype No1: Combined car engine injector and Nintendo Wii
−−− The uniqueness and boldness were the first impression of SprayPrinter to me. How did you come up with this product in the first place?
Henry: The collaboration between the founders of SprayPrinter – Richard Murutar and Mihkel Joala – started with the prototyping firm Prototaip. SprayPrinter grew out of that company when Mihkel´s daughter wanted him to paint a unicorn on her wall. Mihkel isn´t good at drawing so he didn´t really know how to do that. He was working as a professional inventor at Prototaip so he built a machine that could paint the picture instead of him.
For that, he combined a car engine fuel injector and a Nintendo Wii console. Richard and Mihkel realized this new gadget is bigger than Prototaip and so they concentrated on developing it full-time.
−−− As for decollating the wall, paintbrush, stickers, photos and paintings or any other existed decoration methods could be your competitors. What is the superiority of SprayPrinter compared to those?
Henry: SprayPrinter combines creativity and technology. Previous knowledge or experience in arts or technology is not necessary for getting your design successfully on a wall. SprayPrinter is attached to a spray can and the movement of your hand definitely has an effect on the final results, but it is impossible to print the wrong way.
SprayPrinter’s app tracks the movement of the SprayPrinter and sprays paint only on specified positions which guarantees high-quality results.
Maximization and Exploitation of synergies of 6 talents
−−− Both the knowledge on hardware and software is necessary to develop SprayPrinter from the scratch. Also, you have wonderful promotion on Indiegogo. Please tell me about your team members who made those happen.
Henry: The team behind SprayPrinter is well-balanced. Mihkel is our crazy inventor and a real peach. He comes up with new solutions in a flash and has always remained an optimist despite all the setbacks during the development process. If there are some technical issues, he sits down, thinks deeply for a while, eats marshmellows and has a new solution on the table by the morning.
We also have production engineer Henry Patzig. We lovingly call him the pessimist of our team due to his down-to-earth approach to life. He injects our team with rationality and careful consideration and is a master at balancing others’ sense of exhilaration.
−−− Wow, you already have experienced hardware engineers. What about business management, communication and marketing?
Henry: The CEO of SprayPrinter Richard, fits his position for multiple reasons. He already has a start-up failure experience from the past so he knows how to avoid the common mistakes when starting a company. Also, he is a very charismatic speaker who could sell oil to Norway. His best trait, however, is that he enjoys every single moment of his work and probably does not even distinguish between work and leisure time!
The SprayPrinter team has two specialists to administrate communications. Sirje and Aet make sure that the contents and visuals complement each other. Taking into account that SprayPrinter has already been featured in more than 10 languages, starting with small local newspapers and ending with the Discovery Channel, their competences sure work in a successful synergy.
The one who always sets our aims high (but never impossibly high), is our COO Alo Murutar. He has a degree in economics and more than a 20 year experience in running a company.
−−− I see. SprayPrinter has capable people in various fields. How did you get into a team?
Henry： Mihkel and Richard met through mutual friends on a little Estonian island, Tondisaar. They matched well and Mihkel told Richard about his prototyping firm Prototaip. This impressed Richard and he got really enthusiastic about it.
Mihkel told Richard he would be his Yin if Richard was his Yang if they combined their competences and so they did! The dynamic duo hassled with the development for a month and realized they need a bigger team. Now the team behind SprayPrinter consists of 6 people.
What We Gained Through Indiegogo Campaign
−−−As for the crowd funding, it takes months of preparation for promotions videos, pictures, and articles. Did all the efforts turned to what you expexted?
Henry：Of course. The main purpose was to get the initial capital to be able to work on the project. But through the campaign we could validate our market and also get the attention of investors.
Indiegogo seems to be the best platform for creative industry startups. The people who follow it have more in common with our product.
−−−Did anything change after the campaign?
Henry：Yes. After the campaign we started talking with investors and found additional seed capital to put the product development into full speed. Big companies like Montana and Bosch are keeping their eyes on SprayPrinter and cooperation negotiations are ongoing.
Mindset Difference between Startups and Manufacturers
−−−In my opinion, it is a favorable environment to have experienced team members and the company itself used to be a prototype developing company in the past. Did you have any troubles in terms of developing and mass-production?
Henry：Yes. For a startup it is difficult to approach big manufacturers who are not used to the mindset of a startup. We need to move fast, the risks we take are bigger, and we need to react quickly to the market demands. These are the things that the bigger companies are not used to.
−− What you mentioned happens in Japanese manufacturers as well. What about the counterbalance between hardware and software?
Henry：With our modest financial means we need to keep both of these developments running simultaneously which takes a lot of effort and resources. They need to work together seamlessly and once you update one you need to modify the other.
−−− Thank you for sharing interesting stories! May I have your motto as a hardware startup?
Henry：Work hard, Play hard. It’s only worth it, if it’s fun!!
SprayPrinter puts their goal to be a known brand in a couple of years from now. And they are working on the goal to make SprayPrinter a worldwide phenomenon and to shift people’s mind, making SprayPrinter a new standard for decorating living spaces.
As they put it on Indiegogo, “There is nothing more uninspiring than a boring blank wall”. I cannot help decorating my plain wall with a picture after this uplifting interview with Henry.
There will be unrespecting problems as all the hardware startups should confront, but these guys are mixture of talents to manage them.
I am very much looking forward the day to fill up my boring wall with favorite paintings by SprayPrinter.
SprayPrinter definitely opens up a variety of new possibilities to personalize one´s surroundings. As the Art blog Wide Walls put it: “SprayPrinter is undoubtedly a new futuristic way of seeing wall art and gives people more possibilities to change their own environment.”