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Anyone here posted a project on Kickstarter to raise funds?

What's your experience? Curios to know... thinking of posting one. Thanks.
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Be sure you understand the rules, which recently changed, and made it less friendly for tech projects like electronics where a potential backer might want to back a project and get say 3 Arduino add-on boards.

I have not been on the side of the producer, but I have backed several kickstarter projects, and due to the new rules, I have unsubscribed from the KS mailing list, and I no longer look for neat projects.  I tend to have to think long and hard whether the project is worth it to me to back the project (and thereby give KS more money).

Personally, except in very rare cases, I don't back 'art' projects, but I do back projects where the reward is something tangible that I want (or at least mildly covet).

Most of the KS projects I have backed, have been done by people who might be good at building a prototype, but are not good at actually producing the product.  One project was nearly a year late from the original estimate for the shipping date (triggertrap).  It is kind of amusing that due to the delay, I had sort of given up on them, and started to get into Arduino programming on my own.  So without their delay, I wouldn't be here.

Some of the projects out-sourced their builds to foreign contract builders, and all sorts of problems arose from that.  There were some cases of outright fraud, where the contract vendor took the money and disappeared, but a lot of the problems stem from dealing with somebody 1/2 way around the world, and not in person.  There were also cases, where the widget was designed around a particular part that had become unavailable, and the widget had to be redesigned for the replacement part.

In the 22 projects I have backed, only two stood out in terms of delivery of the product (teensy 3.0 and the peak design/camera capture follow on project leash/cuff).  These were projects done by people who had made products before (in the case of peak design, their original project was reasonably on track, but there were some delays).  In both of these case, the people started to produce the project used their own money to ramp up production when it became obvious that the project would be successful, and they were able to ship quickly after the project close.  However for most people, this just isn't feasible, since they are turning to KS to buy some needed item like a laser cutter, or need a certain amount to order in order for economies of scale to kick in.

With some of the projects, they became victims of their own success.  If you think you can personally make say 200 boards in your spare time after work, and suddenly you have orders for 9,000 boards, it is a whole new scale to things.  You will burn out friends/relatives if they are doing it for free to help you if you make it big.  So you have to think about possibly hiring people to do it as a day job.

Back when I was still following KS projects and looking for new ones to think about backing, I noticed there were projects where the intro video was just horrible, and those projects typically did not get funded (i.e. if they didn't get enough backers, the project gets nothing).  I know marketing is sometimes a dirty word in the techie culture, but your video is the basic elevator pitch.  You need a real short summary in the title, and then in the video you have 3 minutes to make me excited about your project.  If you don't excite me, I will move on to the next project, and never come back.  So practice your skills at doing the basic elevator pitch.  Have other people watch it and take their feedback.

Bear in mind that you will not see the money until at least a month after the project closes (and after KS and amazon take their 10% cut), so you need to factor that into your plans.

A turnoff on some of the projects was the creator did not do his/her homework in terms of shipping charges.  Make sure you factor in shipping to the rewards (and note the US post office just had some major rate changes).  Before you put up the proposal, know how much shipping will be to other countries.  Put it in the rewards setup, and don't make people have to add $5/10 on their own to cover shipping.

As part of one of the KS projects that I backed, the author wrote up his tips and tricks for how to get funded, and what happens afterwards.  I read the manuscript when it was made available freely to his backers, and he had a lot more of things to help your project.  It is fairly cheap if you have a kindle, and it might be worth it to buy it and read it: http://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Kickstarter-Secrets-Crowdfunding-ebook/dp/B008IL46MQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360196981&sr=8-1&keywords=Unlocking+Kickstarter+Secrets+Crowdfunding+Tips+and+Tricks

<edit on March 7th>
I noticed I used the wrong project as a successful follow on.  I meant to use peak design, which did a camera quick release known as camera capture, when I used trigger trap, which was the project that was almost a year last.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 08:28:38 am by MichaelMeissner » Logged

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Michael, wow... awesome post. Thanks for taking the time to compose this. This deserves to be a sticky smiley

I already have the product, been selling them since 2009. So it's not a prototype but commercially available already.
I'm looking at KS basically to raise funds so I can use it buy inventory parts in larger wholesale quantities.

This will allow me to:
a. lower selling price of my products  (several products use the same part)
and
b. increase or keep profit margin the same, even with the lower selling price.

I don't know if that purpose (using funds to buy inventory parts for an *existing* product) meets Kickstarter criteria.... since the project is already done and available. In a way, this is *Low Risk* to the buyers I guess? Which is a good thing.

***

I do have another project in the works (right now I'm in proto stage) and considering posting it also on KS to fund PCB production and assembly.



« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 08:21:56 pm by vasquo » Logged

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Here's me kickstarter experience: I see something that someone wants thousands of dollars for - I design my own version of it and post it here! Take that KS!
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I don't think financing an existing product would meet kickstarter where they want to be right now.  I tend to view that after some bad experiences with wildly popular projects that essentially haven't delivered, either due to inexperience of the creators not being able to deliver or outright scam artists (there is a lawsuit from disgruntled backers for at least one project, which is in part where the new rules came from), I think KS is pulling back and trying to get back to their original vision of being sort of a collective tip jar to fund artsy projects.  But that is more my take as an outsider, who has a little bit of money to spend on whim projects every few months.  To grow an existing product, might be for more traditional financing (angel investor, VC, bank loan, etc.).

Crossroads: Way to go.
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Wow thanks for sharing Michael! +1 for you.
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Michael, wow... awesome post. Thanks for taking the time to compose this. This deserves to be a sticky smiley

I already have the product, been selling them since 2009. So it's not a prototype but commercially available already.
I'm looking at KS basically to raise funds so I can use it buy inventory parts in larger wholesale quantities.

This will allow me to:
a. lower selling price of my products  (several products use the same part)
and
b. increase or keep profit margin the same, even with the lower selling price.

I don't know if that purpose (using funds to buy inventory parts for an *existing* product) meets Kickstarter criteria.... since the project is already done and available. In a way, this is *Low Risk* to the buyers I guess? Which is a good thing.

***

I do have another project in the works (right now I'm in proto stage) and considering posting it also on KS to fund PCB production and assembly.





I tried this exact thing several times (trying to lower costs by buying in bulk). Every project I submitted was declined.

Maybe i'm just bitter, but it really annoys me that people like myself with an actual working product get turned down, while products like the iPod Nano watch, that was just a concept model created by a bunch of graphic artists, gets millions in funding (and will never see the light of day).
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What was their exact reason for the decline?
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What was their exact reason for the decline?

Something along the lines of "your project is not the type of project that our community is looking for." I asked for an exact reason, and they said they could not tell me. They did say that I met all the requirements though.
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Is there a replacement for kickstarter in the technical sector?  I've funded 6 kickstarter campaigns (two books, two techy, and two "charities"), all of which have delivered.  They seem particularly well suited to doing a run of a book...

I really DISlike the fact that indiegogo lacks the "doesn't meet goal, doesn't get anything" trigger; it seems like it could work our really badly for the project, the buyer, or both.
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Here are two of their blog postings where the whole issue erupted that can make for interesting reading, though in the middle of it, I decided, that except in a few cases, I would not back further kickstarter projects.


Wizdum, I've heard that before, and it doesn't surprise me.  My mental model of what KS is (or used to be) is to fund projects that are at the concept state, and get them into the next level.  Products that already exist don't really fit into what they want to do, though like in anything involving judgement, it can be a slippery slope.  And the Nano watch was one of the straws that broke the camel's back, because that is the one that has backers suing kickstarter, and has caused them to retrench.  Listening to interviews by the KS founders before the whole mess came back to haunt them, they have always been ambivalent about funding actual products (though I suspect a good deal of their money comes from 'products').
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Maine
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Wizdum, I've heard that before, and it doesn't surprise me.  My mental model of what KS is (or used to be) is to fund projects that are at the concept state, and get them into the next level.  Products that already exist don't really fit into what they want to do, though like in anything involving judgement, it can be a slippery slope.  And the Nano watch was one of the straws that broke the camel's back, because that is the one that has backers suing kickstarter, and has caused them to retrench.  Listening to interviews by the KS founders before the whole mess came back to haunt them, they have always been ambivalent about funding actual products (though I suspect a good deal of their money comes from 'products').

I can't remember if it was Kickstarter or Indigogo, but one of them specifically mentioned raising money for business inventory being an acceptable use.
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Hmmmm... It's beginning to look murky as mud....

It seems KS is more excited to approve/showcase products that are non-existent yet (only as renderings, or a prototype on a bench) as opposed to an already-built/already-being-sold online products. 

I think some KS backers are suing because they're treating KS as an online store/pre-ordering system... and the projects they backed up took longer to develop, or didn't materialize.

Again, offering ready-made/already-made/available-online products is ZERO-RISK to KS backers, but KS doesn't seem too hot on that idea.

I'll check out Indigogo.



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Exhibit B:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/461687407/kickstarter-open-source-death-star?ref=category
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yea, as if I ever considered donating a fart to a kickstarter project... that just seals the deal that I wont
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