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Learning from our Crowdfunding experience

July 25, 2018

 

Our campaign was to build the next generation of our network rendering software. It would allow combining computer power from the cloud, from friends and from a local network. Something we knew people in the industry wanted.

 

But, despite a lot of research, networking and careful planning we missed our campaign target by a huge margin, when the campaign finished, we had only 3% of the target. We thought we had a pretty good plan, a great video, great rewards, an engaged user base and campaign page which we tested with some of our users before launch and the response was all good. So what happened?

 

First, we did our research

 

When we sat down to work on our crowdfunding campaign, it seemed pretty inevitable that we had a good chance to be successful. We had a growing list of users, support from influencers, a modest budget for spending on paid ads and even data from a survey indicating that about 20-25% of our users were a 'yes' in response to our direct question of "would you support us in a crowdfunding campaign?".

 

All of this boosted our confidence, so we committed to build and launch the campaign. To hone our strategy further, we spent a lot of time looking at other campaigns on Indiegogo and kickstarter. We made sure we looked at a lot of failed campaigns to get at least an intuitive feeling for why campaigns fail. We knew the dangers of looking at too many successful campaigns. There is a strong temptation to imitate success, but this is a flawed approach because often there are other factors than their campaign page, video and perks that you don't see which ultimately make a campaign successful. More on this later though.

 

We developed a strategy

 

With our research done we decided on our strategy, which was fairly straightforward. Realising that we had limited reach on our own, we decided to seek support of key influencers. We were fortunate enough to have already made friends with influencers in the space. This allowed us to reach their much larger audiences on good will alone. They also kindly donated some of their own premium content to package with our campaign rewards (Special thanks to Oliver Villar from Blendtuts and Aidy Burrows and Gleb Alexandrov for their contributions!).

 

This really helped since our campaign goal was to build software that would be released for free,  which meant the main output of the campaign couldn't be a reward for backing our campaign, though we did have a reward giving early access to the software. This was quite unlike other campaigns on Indiegogo in which the project was to build a product that was for sale and the rewards were pretty much to get the  product they were raising funds for at a discount or with a package deal