Three founders, who have raised over $730K though crowdfunding platforms, gave expert advice to a roomful of entrepreneurs at the LegalForce store in Palo Alto, CA. If you missed out that’s okay because, being the studious entrepreneurs we are, we took notes. Read their advice here:
Stefan Lindsay rocked out on Kickstarter with his app-enabled smart GTar that makes it possible for anyone to easily pick up and play a guitar. The popularity of the GTar led fanatics and backers to help the company raise an astounding $353,392 of $100,000 goal. That’s more than three times their intended goal. See how they achieved this below:
1. Launch your crowdfunding campaign at an event with a lot of press coverage.
The press can magnify your reach significantly through media distribution networks.“Within 11 hours of launching our Kickstarter campaign at TechCrunch Disrupt we raised our goal of $100k,” said Lindsay.
2.The video is everything.
All Kickstarter campaigns need a video, so to set yourself apart, make an awesome video. For some of us it’s not that simple, luckily, Lindsay gave an excellent tip. “Prepare a script for your video that tells a compelling story about your product,” said Lindsay.
3. Find a way to make people feel good about supporting you.
“We teamed up with a program called Little Kids Rock so that some money that came to us would go to them,” said Lindsay.
4. Fake it to make it.
GTar started from humble beginnings; they started in a garage in Cupertino as a matter of fact. Although they were small, GTar did not let this fact hinder their potential for success. “Act like you are a big company launching a real product,” said Lindsay. This way, you force yourself to push the limits.
Aamir Patel also shared his expert advice. He is the founder of Silic – a company that developed a product that some could mistake for magic. Leveraging nanotechnology, he developed a self-cleaning t-shirt. With his unique product, Patel had raised $200,000+ before he even graduated college! In total, he raised $298,251 of his pledged $20,000 goal. See how how this ambitious college student achieved his goals:
1. Fend off copycats by patenting your ideas.
Patenting your ideas doesn’t have to be expensive or intimidating. It’s best to research your options and get recommendations from other startups. “LegalForce is a great choice for patenting your idea. At LegalForce, it costs $45 dollars for a 15 minute private legal consultation, you can’t beat that… it’s worth the investment,” said Patel.
2. Offer the best product possible.
If you are going in, go all in; don’t cut corners. Quality should never be sacrificed. “We worked along side the world’s leading textile technology company to allocate the best hydrophobic nanotechnology on the market,” said Patel.
4. Pay extra to name drop.
“We are partnering with a former designer from the Vera Wang Collection to bring you designer clothing at a reasonable price,” said Patel. Automatically, when consumers and potential backers hear Vera Wang, their eyes light up – this reaction is worth the extra cost.
5. Try, try and try again.
“If your Kickstarter project fails, don’t be discouraged… just do it again,” said Patel. Aamir Patel’s first Kickstarter campaign was for a 24-karat gold-plated iPhone case. According to Patel, this Kickstarter campaign was a failure but it also served as a great learning experience. With more experience in his back pocket, he got back up and tried again and eventually he was successful.
6. Get as much feedback as you can before you launch your product.
“Get as much feedback as you can…don’t rush to market, it’s not about being first,” said Patel.
Entrepreneur, Al Linke lit up Kickstarter with his interactive LED display, PIXEL. Not only was he extremely successful at raising funds but he did it all while still working a day job. Considering this started only as a hobby, it’s amazing to us that he raised $51,536 of $8,000 goal. See how he did it below:
1. Marketing & PR are key.
When juggling a day job and a Kickstarter campaign, the allocation of your time is paramount to your success. If you need to figure our where to spend your time, take it from Linke that your time is best spent on marketing and PR. “Marketing and PR will determine your success,” said Linke.
2. Take advantage of open source hardware and software.
“The communication to the LED display through bluetooth was taken care of by open source hardware and software. I didn’t have to develop this myself and that was a tremendous help,” said Linke.
3. Plan ahead for success.
It’s important to realize that a successful crowdfunding campaign can become a magnifying glass for the good and the bad press. If you happen to become successful, negative reviews from angry customers because you don’t have an adequate amount of the product to fulfill their orders can be painful. To avoid this scenario, “make sure you have a manufacturer lined up before you launch,” said Linke, “also, be sure to pad your ship date.”