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What a busy and historic week for guitar designer Rob O’Reilly’s as his midi Expressiv, a plug and play system which brings electronic keyboard sounds to a guitar, became the first project to reach it’s funding goal on Kickstarter Ireland’s platform. Rob has 61 backers that have pledged €17,148 of a €15,000 goal and he still has 11 days to go.

According to Rob, “Expressiv is the first and only system that uses a smart fretboard scanner to know which notes you are pressing, the same way that keyboardists get a note when they Expressivpress a key. This leaves your strumming hand free to control any parameters such as pitch bend, modulation and octave shift using the onboard touchpad, joystick and buttons. With the flick of a switch, you can change from synthesizer control to standard guitar functionality. Now guitarists of all levels have access to the sounds that until now were only available to keyboard players, and whats more, at an affordable price. The Plug and Play functionality means you only have to plug a standard USB cable directly into your computer with no hardware, driver or power supply required and you are ready to play awesome sounds.” Rob plans to launch a range of guitars in 2-015 with the Expressiv technology embedded.

As I wrote in another post in October, Crowdfunding is very much here to stay and what’s more, Rob O’Reilly is proof that anyone can tell their story and look for funding to realise that story/dream. Interestingly, Ireland is country number 10 to have its own dedicated Kickstarter platform. The UK platform has been live since October 31 2012. Kickstarter has raised close on $1.4 billion in pledges for over 70,000 projects since its inception in 2009.

The sheer size of the numbers involved is testament to the popularity of this funding option. Research the projects listed on the both international and local platforms and if nothing, you’ll get good insight and ideas.

Related: Crowdfunding coming to a company near you

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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