Kickstarter · Crowdfunding

Kickstarter : Who has had success raising more than $50K for a start-up/project?

Mark Mongie Creative Director at SweetRush Inc.

February 18th, 2015

I am considering raising a small amount of capital to add to my own Angel seed funding of a project. The product is for sale to millennial-aged consumers, so it makes sense to raise some capital from my future customers - as well as generating online buzz for the product launch that is only 3 months out. Are there any downsides to Kickstarter funding?

Derek Dukes Business Development, Startups at Amazon Web Services

February 18th, 2015

Hi Mark,

I've raised over $250K on Kickstarter across 3 projects. From my experience the most successful campaigns come to Kickstarter with some core set of customers already ready to buy / promoted the campaign on Kickstarter. Ideally, if it's in a niche community, then it helps to have a social footprint in those communities as they can be tough to build quickly. 

One thing to consider is that the pre-campaign ramp time, when aggressively managed will take at least 6 weeks to execute, but another 2 weeks after to get your money + the length of the campaign. I typically advise people to plan for at least 3-4 months from start to campaign end, money in the bank. Then for delivering the product it's just based on that specific timeline. 

David Austin Relentless problem solver and innovator.

January 14th, 2016

I plan on doing one in mid-March.  My first.

Agreed with Jeff.  Note that a number of campaigns fail the first time and then rerun (you need to improve the product beyond the first offering) and in general you'll sign up everyone who signed up the first time plus enough to get funded the second time.  The worst failure is that you do get funded and fail to deliver or the delivery won't be as promised... and it's too easy for people to do that through kickstarter.  Even that situation you'll generally want to avoid - get funded the first time if at all possible.

Also, along the lines of failing to deliver ... nobody thinks it will happen to them, but if they've never successfully executed a $50K startup project all within a few months ... then they don't have the depth to know what's involved.  Kickstarter provides you with an instant batch of waiting customers and given a $50K funding ... chances are that you don't have time to grow your business to the point of delivering that volume overnight.

Also, after that ... crickets ... another risk, assuming you thought you'd get more out of it.   All you have then is hopefully some money left over, good market presence, and if you have happy customers... you'll have some loyalty but even then you won't be able to tap it through kickstarter unless by their terms.  Kickstarter doesn't give you the contact information for you buying customers.  You have to use them again to access that customer base (which is a boon for indiegogo and others who do give you that info).

But you'll have no sales channel (other than another kickstarter campaign), and often you'll not have enough capital left over to move to the next level.  So I would caution against is the idea that kickstarter, or many other co-funding campaigns, is a great vehicle to raise seed money, because usually most of that money is gone at the end of the project.

The main things you are getting out of kickstarter are the things I already mentioned, and proof that you can take to investors so you can take things to the next level.  Those things are huge and should not be underestimated, but be sure to run the numbers before you assume that kickstarter is equity cofunding.  It isn't.  If you want equity cofunding, then use an equity cofunding model.

Evan Cohen Senior Manager - Hardware, Design and Technology at Indiegogo

February 19th, 2015

Hi Mark!

Happy to weigh in here. There's definitely a few elements to take into account prior to launching a campaign, as the first few days are really important in gaining traction. I often tell campaigners they should hope to seed at minimum 30% of their funding goal PRIOR to the campaign, as that represents market validation to other people on the platform (stranger dollars).

I'm not sure about KS, but I know promotion on Indiegogo is entirely merit based. This means campaigns that demonstrate initial traction and can bring some early backers are promoted through platform channels (home page, newsletter, trending page, social media, etc). Think of the platform as an amplifier; the more success you have, the more amplification the platform can provide.

We generally like working directly WITH campaigners, providing specific campaign strategy and support to help get them launched. This is the best way we can ensure campaigns are properly prepared for launch. Personally I've worked with many of our largest campaigners including Jolla, Bluesmart, Skully, Brewie and SmartMat to help get them set up. 

We think this direct support puts you in the best position to be successful in your launch. If you're interested in connecting with our team, let me know. 

Good luck!



February 18th, 2015

I think it's important to cautiously optimistic about crowdfunding - whether Kickstarter, Indiegogo or somewhere else.
1. You've got to put the work in - it's not if you build it they will come. You have to do a lot of work upfront to make it worth the investment
2. The few, the... - take a look at the stats - the % of projects that have raised more than $20K this year is around 12-13%. You hear about the big ones because they get the PR.
3. Customers - then don't forget that you'll have hundreds of people to keep communicating with. They can be fans but they are also time intensive.
Not at all to say it's not worth it, I think it's very powerful but there are variables to consider.

Ayush Jain

February 19th, 2015

Just today, I am organizing a webinar with a guest who raised 40K just recently on Kickstarter.
Join Live and ask your questions. Starts in few hrs from now.

The Guest - Esosa Ighodaro
The Product- CoSign
The campaign-

Hope it help you


January 12th, 2016

The biggest downside is failure. The campaign lives for ever on the internet.