Crowd funding; giving the people what they want

Have you ever looked at a product and thought, who exactly decided that was a good idea?

I know I have.

Even with the best research, there are no guarantees that a new product will be a success.

Imagine if there was a way to capture that demand, find out if that project is really worth all of that time and effort before investing so heavily into it.

Well, now there is.

kickstarter-logo-light

You’ve got to love the internet, don’t you? After all, it has given us so much.

Crowd funding sites like Kickstarter allow people and companies to raise money for projects through a rewards-based system.

This is a chance to show project ideas, and then see if people are willing to back it.

The genius part is that you can assess the demand.

Before you’ve even gotten off the ground you have established a community that are committed to your idea and want to see it succeed.

This was the case for one of Kickstarter’s biggest success stories – The Veronica Mars movie.

veronicamars

The TV series was cancelled after only 3 seasons, much to their fans’ dismay. Although there had been talk of a movie, the ‘small’ viewer numbers made this project unattractive.

Enter Kickstarter.

Within 11 hours, the movie project had reached its goal of $2 million.

The project closed with over 90 thousand backers, and $5.7 million, almost three times their goal.

VMars Kickstarter

This movie would not have gotten made without Kickstarter.

The people have spoken.

Demand-driven projects like this are a win-win for both consumers and marketers.

Personally, I’m excited to see the movie. Veronica Mars was one of my favourite shows and it was heartbreaking when it got cancelled in 2007 after only 3 years. This movie feels long overdue.

Let me know in the comments –

  • Do you think this is the way of the future for launching new products?
  • Would you ever consider using a crowd funding site to get a project up and running? Why or why not?
  • Are there any risks or issues that you can see with using this type of funding?

Until next time,

N. Apple_bitten.svga

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22 responses to “Crowd funding; giving the people what they want

  1. I’m so excited! I love Veronica Mars. Many knew about Kickstarter, but Veronica Mars made it explode. It’s great to see many great ideas and people getting involved by donating. Giving people a reward is grear. I feel like people think they can try to get money for anything. An issue i think is that many may receive more backers than they thought and struggle to keep up and deliver the rewards to everyone. It is a great way to determine if your idea is worth pursuing.

    • That’s a really good point, you’ve got to make sure that your rewards are achievable, there have been a few cases where projects have been way more successful than ever anticipated and some of the funding for these projects should also cover those giveaways. I haven’t actually contributed on Kickstarter myself but I love the way it gives people a clear indication about whether there is a demand for their idea before they’ve spent all that time and money developing it. Me too, looking forward to next year 🙂

  2. I think this is a fantastic way to start up a project. Instead of seeking out large organisations or people with a lot of money to back your idea, you go straight to the people. It is fantastic how you can assess demand based on who is willing to back you from the start. However, I guess there is risk as to how the project will continue to grow past the initial launch. If the organisation is smart they would capture the feedback from the consumers and continue to build a product that continues to meet their needs.

    • That’s a great point, maybe there could even be a donation level where those people get to act as the ‘Beta testers’ and test out the product to give feedback about any improvements/ bugs for the developers. I agree, it’s great to see that if you have a good idea that you can find other ways than appealing to a bank to bring it to life. Of course not every project will reach the same heights as the Veronica Mars movie, but it does go to show the power of consumer demand 🙂

  3. I think this is a really important tools for people with some great ideas, some good ideas could never get off the ground because you had to get companies to back you. Now people have access to a much wider range of people, some campaigns on kickstarter are pretty funny and though and should probably never be made

    • Exactly, and even better is that you don’t have to give up ownership or control of your company in order to get your idea funded. Of course there are always going to be those ideas that aren’t so great, but a strong idea with a solid promotional effort can go far beyond just a dream 🙂

  4. I don’t know Veronica Mars but I do know Kristen Bell 😉 Seems like the fans really want to see Veronica Mars in the movie, if not it will be impossible to reach 2 million in 11 hours. Kickstarter is definitely a great funding platform for someone who want to realize their movie making fantasy dream as well as to check if their work is inspiring to others that will want their product to happen.

    In a smaller scale, Freddie Wong, a YouTuber (http://www.youtube.com/user/freddiew/featured) whom use rad FX in his video also did a kickstarter project call Video Game High School
    Season 1(http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/freddiew/video-game-high-school?ref=live) and Season 2 (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/freddiew/video-game-high-school-season-two?ref=live) both reaching unexpected amount of fund to made the series a hit.

    I really think this is the way how you should get funding and will know if your project is worth producing. I will definitely use this as funding platform because this will give you a clue if whether your project is sellable to the audience.

    • Completely agree, I imagine it would probably be easier to get funding if you already had a bit of a following – you tubers are a good example, even bloggers who get a fair few readers would be in a good position. It was a great show, but only on the air for 3 seasons. This has been a long time coming – I’m excited! Exactly, you could show the pledge levels as a way to demonstrate the interest even to potential retailers. So many possibilities 🙂

  5. I think kickstarter has discovered an untapped market. I know from experiencing that when a TV program ends, that you are so emotionally invested in, it is like your life is over. It is a great way to get the public and the consumers involved, if they love the TV show or product and are devoted then they will be willing to sacrifice a few dollars to make it happen.

    • Exactly. If it’s something that people really want, they are going to be willing to financially commit to help make that happen. Of course the Veronica Mars movie is a bit of a special case – it would take some pretty brilliant viral marketing to get another KickStarter campaign from a less well-known entrepreneur to raise the same kind of funds, but it does go to show that people will back good ideas 🙂

  6. When you got nobody to invest on you then a site like Kickstarter will be the thing we can rely on. If i have some innovation that is bold enough then i might use Kickstarter as this can provide me with huge(maybe) capital to start my thing.
    The downside, funders may feel that the project can be a fraud as they don’t really know personally the project developer, it may end up as a scam and the developer just runaway with all the money. I’m not familiar with how kickstarter running though but if there’s any sites that runs like kickstarter it can be dangerous.

    • That’s a good point, you do have to be careful with investing that the project does seem to be legitimate. The site does their best to police outright frauders, but you’re right, there is no satisfaction guaranteed with the end-result for any project. I suppose it would be worth doing some research if you plan to back a large amount for any venture, though I probably wouldn’t go that far if it was less than $50 🙂

  7. I love kickstarter! I often go to the site and look up innovative products to add to my wish list! :p I think it enables everyone to be an entrepreneur without having to go beg banks for loans. It is a brilliant platform to encourage people’s creativity and actually produce them into actual products. If I have an idea/product, I would definitely use kickstarter without a second thought.
    I think one of the factors that made the site so popular is its interface, the web design is so easy to navigate and not too cluttered, which is why a lot of people find it appealing and easy to use.
    Great post! :))

    • Thank you 🙂 it is pretty cool that these days where there is a will, there is a way. Can I ask, have you ever actually funded anything from the site? Same, though I would need to find some engineers or IT people with the technical skills to help me out, but I suppose that’s exactly why you raise funds isn’t it. Be interesting to see how this concept evolves as more people get comfortable with this kind of funding 🙂

  8. Kickstarter might be running a risk of being over-flooded with nonsensical projects, I know it’s not the reality, but an episode of “2 broke girls” definitely highlighted the issue. A project was started to get one of them new pants, I wouldn’t be surprise if this is replicated or has already been. Kickstarter needs to find a way to block such spams or run a risk of been so flooded that the purpose of letting new ideas grow gets block by spammers.

    • I agree, and apparently the company has recognised this issue by allocating more staff to ‘trust and safety’, but you’re right. It is ultimately a case of buyer beware. The risk really depends on your level of investment; those who are smaller contributors are less likely to be as cautious as those who really want to make a substantial commitment to the project. I wonder if there is some way, like eBay’s feedback system, to allow for more transparency about the credibility of project leaders. Might be something to pitch to the site 🙂

  9. Hi Nat! Kickstarter! I really love visiting the site to check out really interesting innovations! I believe it would be viable to set up funding for a project using Kickstarter where it would be virtually impossible to get venture capital firms to invest into such a high-risk project of yours. However, in this era, I believe it is an area where much greed could lead to people misusing the site.

    • That’s a really good point, and even though the site has stated that they’ve allocated more employees to security, it’s buyer beware. I guess the thing is that you’ve got to really do your research before investing in any project. Maybe the site could set up feedback like eBay – to help regular project funders gain some credibility. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. I think sites like Kickstarter are really great and I love seeing otherwise impossible projects get their funding. That being said, I don’t think that there would be anything that would actually get me to contribute, because I feel like there are plenty of other people out there with way more money than me who could fund the entire project in the blink of an eye. I don’t think that I would personally use one of these sites either because I feel like there would be soo much pressure to meet all these people’s expectations, particularly because they would be financially involved. I would have to be 1000% sure of an idea to even consider it.

    • Fair enough Sarah, I have to say I don’t really have that entrepreneurial drive in me either. I’d much prefer someone else take on that much risk. I haven’t funded anything myself either, though if there was a project that I believed in I would probably chip in to it. There are some contributions as low as $1 🙂 It is cool to see good projects take off, hopefully as these sites get more popular people will also start to become more sophisticated in how they market their ideas! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Crowdfunding is such a great idea, and you’re right, it does provide a tool to assess the viability of a product or offering. I had no idea that Veronica Mars was crowdfunded, how cool! Wasn’t Snakes on a Plane done similarly? Not sure.

    • I don’t think that Snakes on a Plane was crowdfunded per say, but it did generate a lot of online buzz prior to it being released and there was a lot of input from people online into what went into the movie, changes etc. Which just goes to show that consumer involvement in the production process doesn’t always make for a successful result!

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