Following the product’s launch and an appearance at the Tokyo Designers Week, I asked creator Bjørn Bye to reflect on the crowdfunding approach.
I have known about crowdfunding from the start of Kickstarter and Indiegogo and have been fascinated by the concept since then. In 2012 my brother and a friend of mine launched a project, and I followed the process from the sideline. The decision to launch HOOK on Indiegogo was both scary and fun. Still, just looking at five or ten project videos on any crowdfunding platform is inspiring and a push to just go ahead.
The waiting is an ongoing thrill for the whole duration of the campaign. Not only do you check the progress yourself four times a day, you also know that a lot of your friends and family stop by regularly to see if they have put their money on a good horse. In the case of HOOK there was a quite rapid climb to about 50% of the funding. Then there was a long nerve-wracking quiet period. The campaign went through the Norwegian summer holiday, and I guess that was the reason for the halt. At the end of July I got a few good articles in the right media, and the funding started moving again.
I think it depends on the project or product. In the case of HOOK I had a confirmation on my patent application both for Norway and abroad. I would not have launched HOOK without the patent. The good thing about crowdfunding is that if you succeed you don’t have to sell out shares at an early stage. Instead you build value (if you succeed) and you build your first market and sales statistics. Investors can be a good and necessary stage in an entrepreneurial business, but they sure know what they want for their money.
Yes, put effort into making a fun, inspiring and personal film. Pull as many favours as you can from people you know to make it as good as possible. Work on the marketing of your campaign prior to launch. Some successful projects have worked on PR and information months before the launch. I started working on the promotion after the launch and to get attention in the web-jungle is not easy!
Set your goal to what you really need and perhaps even a bit less. The psychology of the community is that if it doesn’t look like you will reach your goal, people wait and see. If you reach your goal early (due to a lower target) more people might back your project since it is a success. There are several blogs with good tips on how to work on a crowdfunding campaign. Search and read a few of these, and if you find tips that strike you as good ideas for your campaign, they probably are.
See the original HOOK crowdfunding project here!