Hardware Startup of the Week: Kokoon EEG Headphones

Kokoon is a hardware startup that managed to raise $1,936,825 on Kickstarter, massively exceeding its goal of $100,000. It’s fair to say that this was a success story then, so let’s break it down and see what the company got right in terms of startup marketing and what you can learn from their success.

What is Kokoon? 


Kokoon is a hardware solution that many companies have tried to solve traditionally with drugs and medications. On the face of it, the Kokoon appears verymuch like a pair of headphones, and one of their main functions is indeed to provide audio as you’re sleeping. In fact though, the device has a lot of unique selling points that differentiates it from other options on the market.

For one, they use patented ‘cool gel cushioning’ technology to ensure they stay cool, soft and comfortable while you’re wearing them in bed – which is something that can’t be said for your Beats by Dr Dre which are more focused on fashion than comfort in some people’s opinions.

More exciting are the EEG sensors that are used to detect how deeply you’re sleeping. This information is then used to alter the nature of the audio for optimum sleep efficiency. As you’d expect, passive noise cancellation is also included, and the company has partnered with Onkyo Corporation to ensure they can deliver the very best sound. Throw in a smart alarm as seen with most fitness trackers, sleep tracking, an app, and portability, and you have a very compelling value proposition.

What Kokoon Did Right

So what can other hardware companies learn from Kokoon, and how can you emulate some of that success (or try)

The campaign obviously went viral and far exceeded its goal of $100,000. This is a great problem to have and clearly shows enough people in the world are looking for an alternative solution to help them get a better nights rest. So why did the campaign get so much attention? I believe that the coolness factor plus the practical value of the device amongst a niche group of people prompted it to be shared amongst that group made it go viral.

kokoon 3One interesting thing to note is that partnership with Onkyo. Partnering with an established company like this is not only a great way to improve your end product, but also helps to legitimize your concept in the eyes of others. Imagine that you’re a writer or editor working for a big magazine or website, and you see a press release come through from a company you’ve never heard of, versus one that at least has a partnership with a recognized brand. Which are you most likely to cover? This is something that Elon Musk talks about with regards to how he got his Space X program off the ground.

This no doubt helped Kokoon in getting some of the very impressive coverage they managed to obtain – from blogs and magazines including the likes of Wired. Of course, what also helps in this regard is the very fact that the company are offering something different with their Kokoon product. If this was just another fitness watch, they’d have a hard time standing out in what is rapidly becoming a saturated market. Instead, they’ve managed to jump on a current trend of the quantified self, while simultaneously offering something unique with clear differentiation. 

Finally, the company also has a very effective social media presence, and have been effective in content marketing. They post articles to their Facebook page which cover related topics such as improving your sleep environment, or getting along better on the London Underground. This way they provide real value to the people who’re likely to purchase the Kokoon, while subtly promoting their technology and highlighting the need for something like their solution.


In conclusion then, Kokoon broke onto the scene with a unique product in a very trendy niche, and combined this with effective social media and content marketing on top of a high-profile partnership. When you look at it that way, it’s hard to imagine them not succeeding.

Check out their campaign for yourself, and let us know what you think. What do you think was the secret to their success? What other startups do you think we should feature next? And if you want to see more startup success stories like this one, be sure to subscribe to the blog!

This entry was posted in Hardware Startup of The Week and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.