Hi! I have been in the London tech scene for the past 5 years and love all things startup, crowdfunding and social media! I have an amazing job because I get to help people fund their dreams. I lead hardware, technology and design for Indiegogo in the UK, helping people get their product to market. I also write and host a weekly technology show on Tech City News, rounding up the week's investments and biggest tech stories.
Just over one incredible year. It has flown by!
There are so many amazing things about crowdfunding, the last of which is raising money. In fact, I think that if you go into your crowdfunding campaign with the sole objective of raising money, you won't do it right. By running an Indiegogo campaign you have the opportunity to test the market and validate your idea with a varied and representative global crowd - we have run over 300,000 campaigns from 224 countries and territories and every day around 70 countries are actively funding.
You get FREE market feedback to help you refine your product-market fit, you are able to find and build a community of people who share your passion and believe in your product so much that they are funding it before it even exists! These people are not only your future customers but become your evangelists who will be invaluable for word of mouth marketing.
You can also capture data against your target demographic and get insight into who your product resonates with. The best bit - you get all this in a short period - usually around 45 days. It is the ultimate lean startup method of testing your idea, iterating and producing something that the market actually wants. I could talk all day about the value of crowdfunding as I genuinely think it is democratising access to capital and making people smarter, faster.
It's all about the four P's! Preparation, Pitch, Perks and Promotion
Preparation is key, the more you can prepare, the more successful you will be. Find out where your community live online and start talking to them, Build relevant social media channels, create a landing page where people can clearly understand what you are crowdfunding for, and sign up to be the first to know when you launch. Your email lists are very important, email is the most effective channel of online communication for your campaign and in fact, the average contributions amount through email is about 20%higher than for contributions through other sources.
Build out a team and do research into similar campaigns. There are over 300,000 campaigns to look through - find great campaigns and terrible campaigns and see what they did right and wrong.
We have created great resources for helping set up a successful campaign. Read our Crowdfunding Field Guide and the Indiegogo Playbook which breaks down every step of your campaign and has great tips and strategy. The Hardware Handbook is also a great resource for hardware products.
Have a compelling Pitch, campaigns with video raise 115% more money, keep it concise and clear. Use your pitch text to expand more on your product, explain more about the team behind it and what you have done previously, to give the 'crowd' more trust in your campaign. Make it interesting with images and graphics; no one wants to read endless text.
Be creative with your Perks, people will fund you for a variety of reasons, but often with products, they want the perk. Think about the pricing for your perks. $25 is the most popular perk, add limited quantity perks, feature certain perks, and think about stretch goals and new perks you can add in throughout your campaign to keep up the momentum
Once your campaign is live, the work starts all over again. You need to be proactive about reaching out to your networks, and promoting your campaign. The first 30% typically comes from your own network, so we suggest 'soft launching' and getting some early funding from friends, family, early sign ups. That will validate your campaign so that the wider community wants to fund your campaign and will help your gogofactor. Update your funders, treat the update section like your blog and share exciting milestones. Once you hit your goal, don't stop, 87% of campaigns that hit their goal will over fund by an average of 32%.
Crowdfunding is different in many ways to traditional finance models; a key difference is that you are putting your idea out to a 'crowd'; a large number of potential customers and getting feedback, rather than one bank or a small group of investors funding your idea. Even if you can get someone to sign a big cheque, no bank or investor can tell you what your customers want.
Only they can, and they will - the crowd is very vocal and responsive, we have seen amazing examples of feedback, partnerships, distribution opportunity, and even people joining a team through Indiegogo campaigns. We offer two types of funding, Fixed funding which is 'all or nothing', if you don't hit your target you don't get the money. This is ideal if you have a minimum order quantity for a product or need an exact amount of money to buy tooling for example. However, often people will use Indiegogo for the many reasons I have highlighted.
They may have other sources of finance, or are be able to produce the product anyway. Therefore we have Flexible funding, which is where the campaign owner gets to keep all the money they raise. This is our most popular form of funding. The crowd is what really makes this type of raising finance different to a bank or an investor, the opportunity to get feedback, test and validate your idea and build a community is invaluable.
Go Crowdfund Britain is an initiative we created earlier this year to try and get the whole country funding!
Our mission was to travel the length and breadth of the country to unearth great British businesses, find amazing innovations and help people get their ideas off the ground. To do this, we went on a 10 city roadshow and held masterclasses in each city to give share our tips and strategy for running a successful Indiegogo campaign. We met with 26 journalists to help us spread awareness of crowdfunding, and spoke to campaigners and key people in the scene to find out how we could help these great cities get funding.
We created a £1m challenge to get British ideas, big and small funding by 2015. A few months on, and there have been so many incredible campaigns launched from 15 cities across Britain raising over £1m!
Britain is a great nation of innovation, creativity and talent but access to capital is a problem and awareness of crowdfunding outside London is low. We noticed that the majority of crowdfunding successes happen to come from London, so we wanted to get outside the capital and spread the word of crowdfunding as an amazing alternative for raising finance. Our aim was to get businesses off the ground and give people the tools they needed to run a great campaign.
We wanted to show people that you don't need to come to London raise funds, that you can access the world's crowd, right from your own living room, which so many of our Go Crowdfund Britain campaigns proved, such as Edinburgh based Tens Sunglasses, which raised over $550K from 50 countries
There were too many, but seeing such a variety of creative cause and entrepreneurial ideas get off the ground has been pretty inspiring. Everything from sunglasses, a home security system, films, charging belt and great causes. It is amazing how much talent we have in this country. It was also really interesting seeing the strengths of different cities, for example Newcastle is really strong at medical technology, Bristol has a burgeoning iOT scene and Manchester is a powerful Tech hub.
The stories. Every single entrepreneur that I work with is so passionate about what they do and they each have an incredible story. I get to meet brilliant people every day and help them get their idea off the ground. I also find it so rewarding hearing their experiences from their Indiegogo campaign and witnessing their growth, Tens now have an expanding office and a distributor in Asia, A 3D printed Orthotics company received a £30k donation from a complete stranger who ended up joining their team because she believe so much in what they were doing. There are inspiring stories every day, it's pretty incredible!
Make it compelling! People fund people as well as the idea, so be on your video talking passionately about what you are doing and why you want the crowd involved. People will fund you because they share your passion, they want to be part of your project, and also because they want the perk - but it's not a transactional process, they are funding you because they believe in you and want to help your business get off the ground.
Explain who you are and why you are the person/team to make this happen. Crowdfunding is all about transparency, trust and openness. Indiegogo is a reward's based platform, this isn't equity crowdfunding, you will retain 100% of your company, so think of interesting perks that your target audience will be excited by.
Crowdfunding is a very exciting sector that is growing rapidly, in 2015 I think we will see even more UK campaigns validating their idea, building their community and raising money through Indiegogo. In the hardware space, I think we will see even smarter wearables, lots of iOT and smart connected devices and some interesting medical technologies.
Indiegogo has become an incubation platform for innovative technology and it's so exciting to see coming next! You could fund your next bright idea right now - what's stopping you?