How Smart Nora Created $1M in Kickstarter and Preorder Sales

Smart Nora is the revolutionary contact-free snoring solution that earned a spot on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2017. Its CEO and co-founder, Behrouz Hariri, talks about how they raised over $1M in Kickstarter and eventually grew to $8.5M in annual revenue.

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Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • [01:32] How Smart Nora came to be
  • [03:17] Smart Nora as a product solution and the product design process
  • [08:04] Some of the feedback that they got that led to changes in their product design
  • [10:58] How much they invested in testing and designing their product
  • [12:55] What they did to prepare for the $1M in pre-orders that they got
  • [14:21] The Kickstarter process and their next steps after creating their Kickstarter video
  • [17:54] Behrouz’s tips on what to do on the PR side
  • [19:24] How they sold their pre-orders on their Shopify store
  • [23:33] How they got their product manufactured and how long it took
  • [26:38] How they managed the quality of their product and what they did about IP protection
  • [29:17] How they shipped their products and how they made their next million in sales after the pre-orders
  • [31:49] Switching their focus to marketing and making more sales
  • [34:09] How Smart Nora landed on Oprah’s Favorite Things
  • [35:09] Getting into corporate wellness programs as a next step
  • [37:09] The one thing they did that had the biggest impact on their growth
  • [38:08] The areas where Behrouz personally had to evolve and grown in to grow their business

Key Takeaways:

  • When you’re a user of your own product, it really accelerates the feedback process.
  • The great thing about Kickstarter as a format is there are so many examples you can follow. There’s a nice formula that people have perfected over time and it’s such a good place to get inspired.
  • In any Kickstart pre-order campaign, your delivery date becomes the last thing that people remember. The freshness of the pre-order fades after a few months and it can get very contentious between the funders and the campaigners.
  • When your Kickstarter campaign is ending, there is a lot of momentum toward the end, coming from both social media word of mouth and press coverage.
  • Good decisions move you forward, but a lot of conversations that don’t end with a clear strategy leave a lot of people stranded.

Action Steps:

  • When you’re a startup, look at your options and the real feedback that you get from people and let that pull you into the next step.
  • When you start a Kickstarter campaign, make sure you have a great video that will serve as your centerpiece.
  • When you do a pre-order campaign, have realistic updates for people and set good expectations.
  • What to do on the PR side:
  1. Draft your press release and select outlets that you know are interested in a product like yours. Send them the press release on the condition that they will not publish it until the day of your campaign.
  2. Pick a goal that you can actually deliver your product with.

Brandon said:

“The biggest lesson that I think we learned around our paid digital marketing is that if you’re testing with really small budgets, it’s not representative of the CPA or CPC that you will get with bigger budgets.”

“There’s always this conflict of how much meaningful time to invest into a decision or a conversation, where it’s not more than the priority it has for the business but it’s also not so little that we make a lot of nonsensical decisions or a lot of non-decisions.”

More from Behrouz Hariri and Smart Nora:

Smart Nora’s Website

Behrouz’s LinkedIn

Behrouz’s Twitter (@_Behrouz)

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