We’ve been following Luis ‘Deilor’ Sevilla’s post-LoL Fnatic Coach career with a watchful set of eyes. We first interviewed him back in March with the plans for his the all-new gaming keyboard, then called Shortcut, in the very early stages.
Now, with a new name and look in Raise and seven months down the line, it’s about to launch on Kickstarter.
Luis ‘Deilor’ Sevilla: Put it this way; a lot has happened since March! As you can see, Raise is much more “normal” than Shortcut. This is the consequence of a closed beta that we did with 50 users around May.
Although the feedback about ergonomics was really good, we realised that most users took too long to get used to Shortcut. We thought that although Shortcut had a lot of potential, it would be too niche as an initial launch product.
“We went all the way to Shenzhen; the Silicon Valley of hardware. We visited over 25 factories, multiple design houses and spoke with many gaming peripheral experts”
We started working on a keyboard that had similar health benefits but no learning curve and that’s how we came up with Raise.
A lot of time and energy went into it. We went all the way to Shenzhen; the Silicon Valley of hardware. We visited over 25 factories, multiple design houses and spoke with many gaming peripheral experts. It was an awesome experience, and we learnt a ton.
Since late summer we’ve been prototyping, testing and preparing the Kickstarter campaign.
ESI: What have the major challenges been to date? Did you anticipate these or has it been a case of learning as you go?
Luis: From Dygma’s perspective the major challenge was having to pivot from Shortcut to Raise. We had to reconsider our approach balancing testers’ feedback and our vision for the company.
For me, the major challenge has been handling our social media and communication. Communication is crucial for any startup because you fight against being irrelevant. You want to deliver value and build your brand. If you achieve it, later you’ll need to take on the established brands.
Over the course of the year we’ve worked with two different communications agencies and a community manager but these never really meshed. We haven’t found anyone that reaches our expectations. As such we took it on ourselves; I’ve created 95% of the written content and I’ve been 100% in charge of our social media for the last few months!
ESI: You’re soon going live on Kickstarter. Why was this decision made?
Luis: Since the start of the project launching a Kickstarter campaign has been something I’ve considered.
Hardware is insanely expensive and this way your first buyers are the ones that really want your product. If you succeed, you have market fit and it’s far likelier that your company survives. If you don’t succeed, in short it means that your product and communication aren’t good enough.
ESI: You were quite open with utilising the community to be a part of perfecting the keyboard in its early stages, have they continued to play a key role?
Luis: Yeah, up to the point that we were sure that our design was ready. It’s really important to listen to feedback but you can’t expect users to design the product. You need to understand what their needs are and how to ensure you’re meeting them.
“Since late summer we’ve been prototyping, testing and preparing the Kickstarter campaign”
This means that sometimes you’ll make decisions that some users may not agree with or understand, but overall you’ll still improve the user experience.
ESI: Are there any further plans for the promotion of Dygma Raise with pro players and teams? You’re closely involved with Movistar Riders as the team’s Director of Performance, will they be one of the first to utilise the new keyboard?
Luis: Yes but it’s neither simple nor easy.
Most of the top teams are already sponsored by major brands. Also, we only have one keyboard; we don’t have mice or headsets and as such we are less attractive to orgs as they’d need to find other sponsors for those peripherals.
What we want to do is sponsor players that really see the value of Raise. But that’s not straight forward either; orgs are not at a point that they accept player sponsors that conflict the team sponsors.
For sure we will do something with Movistar Riders in the future but for now, I’m not sure what that will entail.