A new product has just hit the the public sphere, and its Kickstarter is getting a lot of buzz. The SNOOZ, a sound making machine, just launched its Kickstarter a few weeks ago and has steadily been receiving backing ever since. Probably because, this thing is, well, awesome.

I met with Eli Lazar, inventor of SNOOZ, to grab some insight into the world of SNOOZ and how he aims to make everyone sleep better.

Lazar says humans are the only animals that deprive themselves of sleep. Not only do they deprive themselves of sleep, but they are proud of it. Remember all those college kids boasting about their all-nighters? I know I did. But no all-nighter would be complete without the proverbial “crashing into bed” shortly after. Lazar also said that a staggering percentage of individuals sleep with noise. TVs, fans, and etc. are all used to provide distraction from the unsettling or disruptive peripheral noises that interrupt our sleep. Lazar's goal was to create a machine that is so helpful with sleep, yet so energy efficient and easy to use, that is will knock any one out.

In fact, he has been giving prototypes of SNOOZ to friends, family and anyone interested just to see how well it works — and everyone loved it. When the idea was first pitched to Serra Ventures, CEO Tim Hoerr was not completely sure that a small white noise machine would have a market. But then his wife tried it, and has been sleeping with it ever since. This was about a year ago, and Tim Hoerr has remained one of SNOOZ’s biggest supporters.

Aside from Tim, SNOOZ has a handful of other dedicated backers that have participated in the almost serendipitous inception. Deanna Mcdonagh, Associate professor of Industrial Design at U of I, got Lazar in touch with Herbst Produkt in Santa Cruz, California that came up with the gray, sleek design, the “chord closet” (the space to hide the electrical cord), and the product name. At first, Eli had wanted to name the product “black out” but was encouraged by investors to pick something else (Eli and I had a good laugh at this).

Next came the totally awesome Kickstarter video, filmed on the top floor of the Trump Hotel in Chicago in just one day. The videographer was setup with Eli by their mutual business connection, and the actor, Mike Lebovitz, is a Second City Comedian from Chicago.

Now, with still about two weeks to go, SNOOZ’s Kicksarter campaign has already tripled the $100K goal. Meaning, Lazar and the crew can get a head start on the product and get SNOOZ to market.

What does that mean for us here in C-U? Well, we get to see another awesome tech startup from our very own neck of the woods make a name for themselves and we can add another to name to tech’s “Made in Champaign” list.

All images coutresy of SNOOZ, LLC.