Posts Tagged ‘crowdfunding’

Motorbike HIGH RES
15Megan Jones

Megan JonesMarch 5, 2014

Crowdfunding Success Stories – 3Doodler

A couple of months ago we talked about some of the most exciting tech to come out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. One of those products was the 3Doodler, whose Kickstarter campaign in early 2013 smashed its target within days.

We thought the 3Doodler sounded so cool that we’ll be having a 3Doodler scribe at some of the sessions at Technoport 2014. In advance of that, we asked the 3Doodler creators to reflect on their crowdfunding success and share some insights.

What lead you to try crowdfunding for the 3Doodler?
All three co-founders have been users of CF sites for some time. Between us we have backed well over twenty projects in the past few years, and at the Artisan’s Asylum, where we work, we have been able to witness other CF projects from inception to execution. We knew that CF, particularly on Kickstarter, would offer a great platform to garner interest in the 3Doodler, test the concept, market to potential consumers, and create a vibrant and supportive community. It also came with the benefits of having all mechanisms, such as payment processing and community management in place.

Your Kickstarter project was almost an overnight success. Did that bring unexpected consequences?
We were prepared in the sense that we had the resources to cope with the emails and media attention. We also had a concrete sense of the goals and budgets of our project before going on Kickstarter, and before putting 3Doodler into the public eye.  That said, the pace of emails and messaged (each of which we committed to respond to) caught us off guard, with thousands coming in a day at one stage. That’s when having a flexible team, and a friend or two to lend a hand can really help.

Would you do crowdfunding again, or would you look to more traditional investors in the future?
Yes, absolutely we would, crowdfunding worked very well for us the first time around. The whole Kickstarter experience was a very positive one for us – we were able to get some fantastic feedback from backers and the community. And that’s why we would do it again – the fact that we get to build a community before 3Doodler had even hit the stores was awesome.

What are your thoughts on equity crowdfunding?
It’s great for feedback and getting your project off the ground, but you just need to be careful and make sure you have resources to cope with the emails and media attention. Make sure that you have a concrete sense of the goals and budgets of your project before going on Kickstarter, since you’re putting it into public eye. Crowdfunding not only allowed us to be financially independent and get proof of concept early on, it also allowed us to build a community out of the gate.

What does the future hold for 3D printing and the 3Doodler?
Tools such as the 3Doodler represent a new medium in 3D expression. This gets you closer to being able to take an image or idea from your mind and render it as a physical object in reality. If you can envision an object you can now create it. And it will facilitate the ability for us to communicate our ideas and visions to one another.

Finally, any tips for product designers considering a crowdfunding campaign?
Prepare, take your time, get it right – make sure your idea’s great, and you have the right people to launch it. The exercise of asking all the right questions up front makes the plan much easier. Don’t ask questions too late! The moment you have launched it’s very hard to correct planning mistakes.

Also, be responsive: Every backer is a key ally. They were there first. Reply to their messages, hear their comments, give them respect. They stick by your side if they do and they’ll let others know. Good communication is also a sign that you are on top of things and can execute. But at the same time, stick to your plan and keep the backer audience in perspective, you can’t change your whole app on the feedback of a few. Keep it balanced.

Image credit: 3Doodler

Wired_FoodieDice
15Megan Jones

Megan JonesFebruary 27, 2014

10 Exciting Crowdfunded… Foods

Cows, crickets or coconut ice cream? With food at the heart of many global challenges, from climate change to soil loss, this week we bring you 10 crowdfunding innovations you can actually eat.

1. Goodio Cools

Image: FundedByMe

The Finnish food company Goodio already makes chocolate, but they know that even in cold countries people want ice cream. With a successful equity campaign on FundedByMe, they are now getting ready to launch a dairy-free, organic ice cream made from coconuts. They promise it in four flavours – vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and mint – so stay tuned on their Facebook page for future delectation.

2. Beer52

Image: Beer52

What could be more popular than a crowdfunding campaign where the supporters get rewarded in beer? With this Scottish craft beer club, Beer52, beer-lovers can subscribe to receive monthly boxes of craft beers from around the UK. Small, local breweries get national distribution and word-of-mouth advertising, consumers get to try new products, innovators collaborate, and the world becomes merrier and slightly more intoxicated.

3. Flavourly

Image: DollyBakes

Monthly food sampling must be the next big thing, because another new start-up, Flavourly, reached its crowdfunding target within 24 hours. The equity campaign only launched on Angels Den two weeks ago, and the founders have already had to introduce a stretch goal.

Like Beer52, Flavourly is a subscription service in the UK that allows customers to discover new craft beers every month – but this time packages also include fine foods and snacks.

4. Exo

Image: edible startups

If you’ve ever been grossed out by a bug-eating contest, you might not be so excited about the UN’s recent recommendation that we should all be eating insects. On the other hand, innovators like the guys from Exo think insect protein might be more palatable without the “ick factor” of crunchy legs.

Exo protein bars are made from ground up cricket flour and other, tastier ingredients like chocolate. Eating crickets could help overcome the global food crisis, since they need much less food and water than, say, cows, have much lower GHG emissions, and reproduce faster. They also have more iron and high calcium content.

Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, you can now pre-order your very own Exo bars. And let’s be honest – they’ve got to taste better than stink bugs.

5. Koopeenkoe

Image: New Scientist

Cut to the chase and get straight to the heart of things with the Dutch scheme Koopeenkoe, where customers buy beef directly from the source. The best part? A cow isn’t slaughtered until every part of it has been sold, minimising waste and maximising freshness. The cows are raised on a mostly organic diet and outside most of the time, and customers get to eat locally. The website is in Dutch, but this article explains the process in English.

6. Foodie Dice

Image: WIRED

Finally, a legitimate excuse to “play with your food”. This Kickstarter project spices up an ordinary cooking experience with an element of chance. To play, role six Foodie Dice, see what ingredients land face-up, and use all or some of them to make your meal more creative. The basic pack includes nine dice: protein, cooking method, grain/carb, herb, bonus ingredient, plus spring, summer, autumn, and winter vegetables. The bonus pack includes a wild card, spices, dessert and vegetarian protein. This campaign only finished in November, but you can already order your own Foodie Dice on the website.

7. Pizza Rossa

Image: Wikipedia

The award for best start-up of 2013 – at least on Crowdcube – goes to Pizza Rossa, a new fast-food restaurant hitting the streets of London later this year. Their campaign also beat records for largest amount of equity funding raised in the UK. Unlike Italy or New York, good pizza by the slice has apparently been hard to find in Britain – but not for much longer.

8. inSpiral Kale Chips

Image: inSpiral

Bye-bye fatty potato crisps, hello guilt-free kale chips. Wildly popular in US health food circles, this superfood is becoming increasingly mainstream in Europe. The start-up inSpiral markets their kale chips as a raw food, vegan, gluten-free, additive free, organic snack – salty, flavourful, and still good for you.

Thanks to their Crowdcube campaign, these Inspiral kale chips are now cheaper, more widely available, and sold in a 100% compostable packaging. Check out their inspir(al)ing crowdfunding pitch on Youtube.

9. Soylent

Image: Soylent

If you see cooking as a hassle you may find new happiness in Soylent, a food replacement that claims to “free your body” from food. Whether Soylent makes eating pleasurable is debatable, and some nutritionists are dubious about its health benefits. Still in its experimental phase, if more widely accepted Soylent may also help ease global hunger and malnutrition. In the meantime, its new nutrition label sheds some light on its many health-giving ingredients.

One thing is certain: Soylent’s crowdfunding campaign has been a massive success, raising around $2 million. The product should be available for wider consumption in spring 2014.

10. FundaFeast

Image: GoFundMe

Like 4D printing, crowdfunding perpetuates itself. Through GoFundMe, individuals can raise cash for their own personal projects – in this case, FundaFeast. One of the first dedicated food crowdfunding sites, FundaFeast went live on February 1st and may mark the beginning of a increase in more specialised crowdfunding platforms than the Kickstarter and Indiegogo giants.

Other food crowdfunding (foodfunding?) platforms – mostly US-based – include Credibles, where customers support local food business in exchange for credit, and Foodstart, raising money for restaurants and food trucks.

 

All of these projects sound delicious, but where are the Norwegians? If you know of a Norwegian crowdfunded food scheme, we want to hear about it!

HOOK
60David Nikel

David NikelJanuary 24, 2014

Crowdfunding Success Stories – HOOK

Last year I reported on the success of the Norwegian crowd-funded project HOOK:

Whether it’s due to the funky design, the clever copywriting (strong as an ant, smart as an elephant), the successful $20,000 crowdfunding project, its sheer simplicity, or the fact the inventor spent months researching the idea in public restrooms around Europe, I’m not too sure. I’m not the only one impressed by Hook, a shockingly simple product that fits between a door and doorframe to provide you with a place for your jacket, and slips neatly away in your wallet. (Arctic Startup)

Following the product’s launch and an appearance at the Tokyo Designers Week, I asked creator Bjørn Bye to reflect on the crowdfunding approach.

What inspired you to try crowdfunding?

I have known about crowdfunding from the start of Kickstarter and Indiegogo and have been fascinated by the concept since then. In 2012 my brother and a friend of mine launched a project, and I followed the process from the sideline. The decision to launch HOOK on Indiegogo was both scary and fun. Still, just looking at five or ten project videos on any crowdfunding platform is inspiring and a push to just go ahead.

What was the waiting experience like?

The waiting is an ongoing thrill for the whole duration of the campaign. Not only do you check the progress yourself four times a day, you also know that a lot of your friends and family stop by regularly to see if they have put their money on a good horse. In the case of HOOK there was a quite rapid climb to about 50% of the funding. Then there was a long nerve-wracking quiet period. The campaign went through the Norwegian summer holiday, and I guess that was the reason for the halt. At the end of July I got a few good articles in the right media, and the funding started moving again.

Would you do crowdfunding again, or would you look to investors in the future?

I think it depends on the project or product. In the case of HOOK I had a confirmation on my patent application both for Norway and abroad. I would not have launched HOOK without the patent. The good thing about crowdfunding is that if you succeed you don’t have to sell out shares at an early stage. Instead you build value (if you succeed) and you build your first market and sales statistics. Investors can be a good and necessary stage in an entrepreneurial business, but they sure know what they want for their money.

Finally, any tips for those considering a campaign?

Yes, put effort into making a fun, inspiring and personal film. Pull as many favours as you can from people you know to make it as good as possible. Work on the marketing of your campaign prior to launch. Some successful projects have worked on PR and information months before the launch. I started working on the promotion after the launch and to get attention in the web-jungle is not easy!

Set your goal to what you really need and perhaps even a bit less. The psychology of the community is that if it doesn’t look like you will reach your goal, people wait and see. If you reach your goal early (due to a lower target) more people might back your project since it is a success. There are several blogs with good tips on how to work on a crowdfunding campaign. Search and read a few of these, and if you find tips that strike you as good ideas for your campaign, they probably are.

See the original HOOK crowdfunding project here!

CES 2014
60David Nikel

David NikelJanuary 13, 2014

The Internet Of Everything Is Here: CES 2014

The “internet of things” was the cool phrase to say last year, as tech was smashed together with all sorts of everyday objects. It was only a matter of time before this evolved from innovate ideas to consumer products. Last week’s Consumer Electronics Show – surely one of the biggest geek-outs in the world – revealed the latest developments in this rapidly-evolving trend.

The internet of things has become the internet of everything, with all manner of mobile and wearable tech now being developed. The concept is basically connected tech that changes our lives, making them easier, safer, or simply more fun.

Here’s some of the media reaction:

“We went into this whole thing expecting very little in the way of amazing new products and we were pleasantly surprised. The big guys might be boring but it’s the little guys – like early mammals scuttling under the dinosaurs – that make the biggest impact”TechCrunch

“A phantasmagoria of light, sound, and electricity. Actual electricity, and the kind of spiritual, psychic kind that only happens but once a year”The Verge

What caused such a reaction?

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest announcements from the world of mobile and wearable tech:

Virtual Reality with Occulus Rift

Immersive virtual reality is coming on leaps and bounds. Occulus Rift presented their Crystal Cove prototype – an augmented virtual reality headset that puts you into a game. It fixes many of the niggles from previous versions and is the clearest sign yet that we’ll see something on the market this year.

“Of all the exciting, innovative products we’ve seen at CES this year, the Oculus Rift “Crystal Cove” prototype is unquestionably the best of the best”Engadget

Pebble Steel Smartwatch

Kickstarter graduates Pebble promised “something special” and they didn’t disappoint. The Pebble Steel does away with the lightweight “plastic toy” feel of the older models in favour of metal, leather straps, and a more solid construction. Together with a specialist store featuring over 3,000 apps, these are signs that Pebble is growing up fast.

The 3 Doodler

3D printing has up until now been an activity reserved for engineers and the technically-minded. Crowdfunded project 3Doodler opens up the possibilities to the rest of us with its fantastic 3D printing pen that really does let you draw in 3D. It works in a similar way to a 3D printer, by rapidly heating up and cooling plastic as it passes through the head.

But rather than talk, let’s watch. You can’t fail to be amazed!

Elsewhere at CES 2014, it seems the car is rapidly evolving from a means of transportation to our latest connected device. From laser headlights to driverless steering, technology in cars will be a big thing in 2014.

But that’s for another blog post :)

Photo credit: Daniel Incandela

Introduction to Crowdfunding
60David Nikel

David NikelDecember 13, 2013

An Introduction to Crowdfunding

Over the coming months the Technoport Playground will host a series of articles, interviews, and discussions around the topic of crowdfunding.

There’s no doubt crowdfunding is a buzz word, but there’s also no doubt it’s changing the way small businesses can get funding. According to research firm Massolution, US $5bn will be raised through crowdfunding in 2013.

A trip back in time

The concept has its roots way back before the days of social media, and even before computers. Way back before any of you dear readers were even born! To learn the roots of crowdfunding, we must travel back to late 19th Century America.

Journey with me…

Statue of Liberty

It’s well known that the French gifted the Statue of Liberty to the United States, but what’s less well known is America had to find $300,000 to pay for the base on which the statue would be constructed.

The American committee responsible for raising the funds approached newspaper owner Joseph Pulitzer to help launch a campaign. Through the press, they invited citizens to donate whatever they could afford to help fund the base, and in return each donor would receive a miniature replica of the statue. The plan worked, raising $100,000 in five months.

Cutting out the middle man – to an extent

The internet – and specifically social media – has opened up the world of funding for startups and innovators. No longer are entrepreneurs forced to dress up in suits and go cap in hand to VCs or bank managers.

If someone has an idea, or better still a prototype, they can instantly validate that idea with cold, hard cash. According to Fundable, the average successful campaign lasts around 9 weeks and raises US $7,000.

At Startup Weekend, participants are taught they must validate their idea as early as possible. With crowdfunding, all an inventor needs is a prototype (or perhaps just a drawing!), a YouTube video, and some compelling copy to start a campaign.

Of course at some point in a startup’s growth, VC money will be required. But that money will flow so much faster after a successful crowdfunding campaign that validates customer demand.

Equity crowdfunding – the future?

In most campaigns, donators are rewarded with early access the product or service in question, sometimes with additional benefits.

Following on from the success of this donation-based model, bigger businesses are jumping on board the crowdfunding train and planning an equity-based model. There are legal hoops to jump before this approach will become commonplace across borders, but it looks a surefire bet.

Where this all takes place

Perhaps the best known crowdfunding site is Kickstarter, although it focuses on creative projects. Rival site Indiegogo has grown massively, mainly because of its wider remit. Meanwhile Crowdfunder bills itself as crowdfunding for businesses, and is home to $500,000+ projects looking to attract serious investment.

For those interested in the equity-based approach, check out FundedByMe, who claim to be Europe’s fastest growing crowd investment platform.

I’ve been an interested observer of crowdfunding for several years but have never taken the plunge with an investment.

Have you?

Photo credits: David Muir & Chaymation