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Nifty MiniDrive: British Entrepreneur Piers Ridyard 'Speechless' As Kickstarter Project Funded In 10 Hours

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You know the SD card slot in your Macbook that you almost never use? What if that could instead house a flush Flash drive to use as a near-permanent backup hard disk?

Clearly, this would be awesome. It would also be a lot cheaper than buying a ton of SSD memory, and more convenient than having an SD card sticking out more than a centimetre from the side of your laptop.

Recently Piers Ridyard, a 25-year-old entrepreneur, did.

Together with business partner Steve Levy he scoped out the idea, named it the Nifty MiniDrive, built a prototype and on 5 July put it on crowd-source funding website Kickstarter looking for $11,000 to make the first batch.

Roughly ten hours later, the project hit its target.

Piers learned that the project had been fully funded while speaking to HuffPost.

"I'm hugely elated by this," he told the Huffington Post at the moment the ticker reached $11,000 (it's now thousands higher). "It just - Kickstarter and the Internet is just such a powerful medium for this."

"I had no idea we would reach it, I thought $11,000 was a little bit ambitious... It's incredible - I'm speechless."

nifty minidrive

Above: the Nifty MiniDrive

The Nifty MiniDrive is one of those ideas which is so simple, and easy to explain, it's almost baffling Apple hasn't made it already. Essentially, it's a card designed to perfectly fit into your Macbook Air or Pro which houses a MicroSD card (not supplied), and gives you up to 64GB of hard disk space.

Ridyard is a former engineering student, who was previously the director at Litescape, an award-winning company he founded with some friends to make large-scale volumetric 3D displays.

Litescape was a success, but concerns about the long-term future of the project - as well as the demands involved in accepting venture capital - meant he eventually gave it up for a change in career.

The Nifty MiniDrive - inspired, Ridyard said, by the lack of memory offered by the otherwise "beautiful" Macbook Air - is a simpler product. And if it works, he's in it for the long haul.

nifty mindrive

A previous attempt to fund the MiniDrive was not as successful, however.

"I developed it on a Friday and launched it on [indie funding website] IndieGogo within 24 hours," Ridyard said. Although it raised $3,000 the page lacked detail, polish and a clear business plan.

Someone should definitely make that.
"It was a very amateur affair," he said. "But the idea itself fired enough people's minds for them to want to put some money towards it."

Crucially it was also enough to build a prototype, which is one of the requirements to get your project accepted onto Kickstarter. The NiftyDrive page is full of images, videos and details about how and when the product will be made. And now it's there, the response has been enormous. Within hours it was picked up by The Verge and dozens of other sites, and the funding flowed from there.

Currently a donation of $25 will get you one Nifty MiniDrive - and with demand being so intense it's clear the company is going to have to make an awful lot of them.

In a nice boost to homegrown manufacturing, for now it will also be built almost entirely in the UK.

"We're using UK manufacturing and doing almost everything in the UK," he said. One component will be made in China, but by a British company.

"We're using some great, very competent manufacturers who helped us make the prototype, and we're very happy with their quality. They've also got the capacity to really ratchet up capacity - that shouldn't be a problem.

"The biggest issue will be assembly, but we're looking at doing that down in Cornwall which is where I'm from. And I'd like to establish something to help the local economy down there if I can."