Kickstarted: Hibermate smashes targets

Two years ago Cobalt’s NewsFlash reported on a new model to fund creative projects – crowd funding and social product development. Today, KickStarter and Pozible, among others, have become almost mainstream - at least within the product development world that is.

A recent product that Cobalt has designed for our client, Hibermate Pty Ltd has successfully listed on KickStarter. Actually, ‘successfully’ may be selling it short. Smashed might be a better descriptor as within 17 hours and 3 minutes the project had reached its US$10,000 funding target and within 2 days they had doubled it.

Within its 30-day fundraising period, the campaign has raised over $110,000, more than ten times its funding goal. The campaign now has a substantial investment amount to complete development and initial production.
For those that are new or hazy about crowd funding, here is an overview of the concept.

  • Crowd funding is based on the idea of inviting a lot of people to each contribute a little to generate a usable amount of funding and sales to launch new projects.
  • People with a suitable product idea (‘developers’ such as inventors, designers, entrepreneurs etc.) list their product on one of any number of crowd funding websites (KickStarter (US), Pozible (Australia) and CrowdCube (UK) with more sites still emerging).
  • Each site has its own rules (for example you need to have a US-addressed representative or entity to list on KickStarter). The sites make their money by taking a percentage (about 10%) of contributions. Crowd funding is a nice business model for them too.
  • The websites attract millions of everyday people worldwide, as they attract people looking for creative and new ideas. People who each pledge relatively small amounts (‘contributors’) receive a reward as below.
  • Developers are required to define their funding goal ($) and a rewards schedule based on tiered contributions from a couple of dollars through to larger amounts (sometimes up to several thousand dollars).
And some more tips:
  • Crowd funding is not risk or cost free. Before being ready to list on a crowd funding website, a product developer needs to put in a fair amount of effort and investment themselves. This includes protecting the intellectual property (IP) of the idea, and then undertaking initial design development to a level that clearly demonstrates and communicates the idea.
  • Crowd funding is not for shrinking violets as you’ll need to sell yourself as well as your idea online to a whole wide world of backers. You’ll also need to make and submit a video description of the idea and the successful projects usually have good videos.
  • Ensure the idea appeals to the kinds of people that trawl crowd funding websites. That is, quirky technology, lifestyle or homewares products are good. Worthy but obscure products are not. Alternatively, truly altruistic products, i.e. products that help third-world communities, could also do well.
  • Also ensure the product is of a value that suits being provided (‘pre-sold’) as a reward for contributions.
  • Have strong IP protection in place. IP protection, especially across multiple countries, requires good legal advice, which we all know is never cheap.
  • Get professional industrial design done on the idea to turn it into a feasible and desirable product. As a minimum the product idea needs to be represented by still CG images. Better yet are CG animations and a working prototype.

In summary, crowd funding isn’t for all and has some real drawbacks. But it has emerged as an exciting and liberating alternative of bringing about new products and designs and that can’t be a bad thing.

For more information on Hibermate:
www.hibermate.com

Crowd sourcing sites:
www.kickstarter.com
www.pozible.com.au
www.crowdcube.com
www.quirky.com