COO and Co-Founder
Origami Group Limited
As a management consultant in the United States, Marcus didn't have plans to start his own company. After relocating to Hong Kong and joining the HKUST MBA in 2014, he met his three co-founders and launched a tech company called Origami Labs.
The company's mission is inspired by his co-founder's visually impaired father and aims to bring "screen-free" products to the market using voice interface technology. The team joined the University's One Million Dollar Entrepreneurship Competition, helping to solidify their idea into a concrete business plan and allowing them to receive early feedback from the investment community. Since then, they have closed their seed investment round and recently launched their product on a crowdfunding platform.
Their product is ORII, a smart ring that lets you control your smartphone using only your voice. It uses bone conduction technology that lets the wearer get crisp playback of whatever is running on their phone simply by putting a finger to your ear. By working directly with Siri and Google Assistant, ORII can be used to make calls, send messages, set reminders and more.
"As we thought about supporting the visually impaired community, we wanted to address the practical, technological hurdles they faced. But maybe even more importantly, we wanted to make solutions that addressed their social needs and considerations too. Current solutions for the visually impaired may get the job done, but can be socially awkward to use in public," explains Marcus. "We realized early on that one of the best ways we can help the visually impaired community is to design a product that's desirable by all types of people and but can also be used by the visually impaired."
ORII has been tested with thousands of users and received positive feedback especially from young professionals. It offers a stylish and fun way for them to use a smartphone without taking their eyes off what they're doing.
"We also aim to raise Hong Kong's global profile as a hub for hardware development," Marcus adds. "By introducing an innovative product that's designed in Hong Kong, we hope to inspire other teams to leverage our local advantages to capture global imagination."
Marcus and his teammates launched their crowdfunding campaign in July on Kickstarter and have received overwhelming global media coverage. The campaign achieved over 400% of their goal in less than one week.
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