22. April 2013–
Axel Pfaender, founder and designer behind successful Kickstarter project Berlin Boombox, gained 338 backers and $20,071 in total funding – surpassing his set goal of $14,000 – in only one month. All eyes were on Pfaender and his loud turquoise pants last Thursday as he shared his experience of crowdfunding a physical product at the inaugural Hardware Berlin event, which brought together an eager group of hardware entrepreneurs, hackers and makers at Betahaus.
Hardware Berlin, originally named Pitch and Bitch, is a quarterly event aimed at strengthening the hardware startup community in Berlin. However, the night turned out to be more of a warning for prospective hardware entrepreneurs – with ProjectGo Founder Christian Wallin warning those who are not passionate or experienced to "stay out of hardware" and WATTlive duo Philip Mahr and Max Frohberg explaining the company's pivot to software.
Still, the highlight of the event was Pfaender speaking about his colourful Kickstarter journey, which included a tale of when Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen emailed him to meet for coffee in Berlin. Check out Pfaender's top Kickstarter tips here:
1) Plan your project wisely
Before starting a campaign, ensure that the funding goal will enable you to carry out your project and set a realistic delivery deadline. A study by the Warton School of Business found that only 25 per cent of Kickstarter projects deliver on time. So plan ahead when setting project dates and funding amounts, he said, because it will save you a lot of work in the long run.
2) Craft a bulletproof PR plan
"You have to do a lot of PR to make your project successful," he advised. Creating awareness about your project not only on Kickstarter, but elsewhere on the internet is crucial. Useful PR tips? Produce kick-ass promotional materials and reach out to influential blogs in your category. Pfaender shot a video and high-quality product photos that have appeared on Engadget, The Verge and Cool Material.
3) Constantly communicate with your backers
Keep your backers happy and provide frequent updates about the project. If unforeseen circumstances mean that the delivery will be delayed, let your backers know as soon as possible to manage expectations and maintain transparency. "Say sorry and explain why," said Pfaender.
4) Keep track of backer responses
Once the campaign is over, project creators can send out a survey to backers to obtain info, such as mailing address and other details, they need in order to send out rewards. In an ideal world, you would receive responses from everyone, but in reality, only about 80 per cent of backers will fill out the survey. Ensure you stay atop backer responses to avoid having someone email you a year later asking why they haven't received their product yet.
5) Work to sustain your project beyond Kickstarter
The challenges of producing, sourcing suppliers and marketing continue to pop up even after the campaign. "The name Kickstarter implies that it is only the beginning of your project," he said.
Have more awesome Kickstarter tips? Share them below...
Berlin Boombox via Berlin Boombox's Kickstarter page
For related posts, check out:
The who’s who of crowdfunding in Germany
Crowdfunding a startup: now open for investors (but not on Kickstarter)
Indiegogo’s Danae Ringelmann in Berlin – crowdfunding, building “a goddamn Tesla museum” and what to do with $15 million