Peak Design goes back to Kickstarter to launch $299 travel backpack

Meet the Travel Backpack 45L. It’s Peak Design’s latest creation and the company just launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring it to life. This product marks the eighth Kickstarter campaign for Peak Design — all of which have been wildly successful.

Peak Design turned to Kickstarter in 2014 to launch the first generation of its Capture camera clip. Over 5,200 people pledged support to bring that product to life. Since then, Peak Design used Kickstarter to launch several camera straps and mounts and, most notably, the Everyday Backpack, Tote and Sling, which saw pledges from 26,000 people for over $6 million. Peak Design collected over $15 million in pledges through its seven previous Kickstarter campaigns and is now the most active crowdfunded company — miss you, Pebble.

Crowdfunding is deeply lodged into the Peak Design’s ethos, the company tells me. For one, Peak Design feels crowdfunding helps with the costs associated with bringing new products to market. The company offers pre-sale discounts through Kickstarter campaigns, which covers the costs of the product and lets the company use the extra to develop the next product. Second, Peak Design says it leverages the two-way communication Kickstarter provides to tweak product design, clean up messaging and ensure a high-level customer experience.

The $299 Travel Backpack 45L is the company’s largest bag to date and is designed with a traveler in mind. The bag is constructed from 400D weather nylon and the inside is coated to provide additional water resistance. The bag has compression and expansion straps to let it grow or shrink as needed. A bevy of lockable zippers and access points seem to be positioned in a smart way around the bag.

TechCrunch loves Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack. Several of us use it as our everyday bag. Both sizes can handle a 15-inch MacBook Pro and they have the right mix of storage and access. I trust this new bag was designed with a similar level of competency.

Along with the backpack, Peak Design also released a series of packing cubes, each designed to address a different travel need. These are sold separately from the Travel Backpack and start at $29.95. There are six different types: standard packing cubes, a toiletry bag, an electronic bag, a camera bag, a shoe pouch, and a rain cover that’s made out of 200D rip-stop nylon.

What’s Peak Design Founder and CEO Peter Dering’s favorite part of the new bag?

“The entire back panel,” he says. “Not only does it beautifully conceal all the straps, it’s also got a beautiful grab handle that, for some reason I don’t understand, just makes you feel like a badass when you use it. It kind of feels like when Neo grabs that bag of guns in the Matrix, only my bag is full of drones, mirrorless cameras, and underwear. We’re all in agreement that any character Keanu Reeves plays is an aspirational character, right?”

I guess he’s right.

The $299 Travel Backpack 45L and packing cubes are available for pre-order on Kickstarter now and the company expects them to be in major retailers by the holiday season.

Bag design with Peak Design

Xage secures $12 million Series A for IoT security solution on blockchain

Xage (pronounced Zage), a blockchain security startup based in Silicon Valley, announced a $12 million Series A investment today led by March Capital Partners. GE Ventures, City Light Capital and NexStar Partners also participated.

The company emerged from stealth in December with a novel idea to secure the myriad of devices in the industrial internet of things on the blockchain. Here’s how I described it in a December 2017 story:

Xage is building a security fabric for IoT, which takes blockchain and synthesizes it with other capabilities to create a secure environment for devices to operate. If the blockchain is at its core a trust mechanism, then it can give companies confidence that their IoT devices can’t be compromised. Xage thinks that the blockchain is the perfect solution to this problem.

It’s an interesting approach, one that attracted Duncan Greatwood to the company. As he told me in December his previous successful exits — Topsy to Apple in 2013 and PostPath to Cisco in 2008 — gave him the freedom to choose a company that really excited him for his next challenge.

When he saw what Xage was doing, he wanted to be a part of it, and given the unorthodox security approach the company has taken, and Greatwood’s pedigree, it couldn’t have been hard to secure today’s funding.

The Industrial Internet of Things is not like its consumer cousin in that it involves getting data from big industrial devices like manufacturing machinery, oil and gas turbines and jet engines. While the entire Internet of Things could surely benefit from a company that concentrates specifically on keeping these devices secure, it’s a particularly acute requirement in industry where these devices are often helping track data from key infrastructure.

GE Ventures is the investment arm of GE, but their involvement is particularly interesting because GE has made a big bet on the Industrial Internet of Things. Abhishek Shukla of GE Ventures certainly saw the connection. “For industries to benefit from the IoT revolution, organizations need to fully connect and protect their operation. Xage is enabling the adoption of these cutting edge technologies across energy, transportation, telecom, and other global industries,” Shukla said in a statement.

The company was founded just last year and is based in Palo Alto, California.