Birmingham startup surpasses Kickstarter funding goal

Fledging hardware.

Birmingham-based technology company Fledging, which was founded earlier this year and spun out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), launched its second product offering this month on Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.

The product, called Fledging Shell, is a portable lightweight, high-speed external storage device that can be used to replace external hard drives. It is the only product of its kind to work on all computers, is the world’s first NVMe (non-volatile memory express) USB SSD and enables users to take their data on the go, said Weida Tan, Fledging Founder and CEO.

The product reached three times its funding goal in the first day and surpassed its original funding goal within hours, the company said.

“The community has shown a very strong interest in trying our product out,” Tan said. “We chose to launch the product on Kickstarter because it is a great test ground for trying out cutting edge technology.”

Fledging’s first product, Feather SSD, was launched earlier this year, also on Kickstarter, and created internal storage components for Apple computers. The product was sold to 2,200 customers in 71 countries and currently has a 100 percent positive feedback rate on eBay, where it has assumed 20 percent of the market share for its category. On Kickstarter, where it too launched, the product was 447 percent overfunded at the end of its campaign.

Fledging computer enhancements.

Fledging recently won the Birmingham Venture Club Spark Match pitch competition and was named the Student Startup of the Year at UAB’s Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Innovation Awards. The company is currently seeking seed funding, Tan said.

“Birmingham is my second home now,” he said. “From a business perspective, Birmingham is the ideal location for hardware manufacturers like us because of the relative cost of doing business as compared to Silicon Valley or New York City.”

The company served as a sponsor at the Jamf Nation User Conference (JNUC) in Minneapolis this month, where the company was among 1,500 attendees focused on new and better ways to manage Apple devices.

“Fledging’s innovative and powerful products are poised to transform direct-to-consumer peripherals, expanding a billion-dollar market,” said Jon Nugent, Vice President of Innovation and Technology at the Birmingham Business Alliance, who has worked as a resource for the company during its first year. “We are excited to have Fledging in Birmingham and are eager to support them in their continued growth.”

Tan founded Fledging in January 2018 and in June moved into a space in Innovation Depot.

“Fledging is a great asset to the Innovation Depot community, and we are excited to see the launch of Fledging Shell,” said Devon Laney, President and CEO of Innovation Depot. “This company is young, innovative and pioneering, and the passion Weida and his team bring to their work is fantastic to see. We are proud to have them at Innovation Depot and look forward to seeing what innovations are to come from Fledging.”

The company employs five full-time employees and its mission is to make premium electronics for everyone. Tan, originally from Beijing, China, has called Birmingham home for 10 years and is currently a student at UAB.

For more information about the Kickstarter campaign, click here.