Crowdfunding speakers can tell you that crowd funding (raising funds online for any new product, service, or project) offers aspiring project creators more opportunities and pitfalls than ever before. While some campaigns experience extreme success, the vast majority of crowdfunding projects never succeed. Happily, if you choose to follow a new set of rules quickly being defined by today’s most innovative crowdfunding ventures, odds are that you can avoid this trap – and even potentially get funded in wildly successful ways. To give his expert advice on crowdfunding, we turned to Co-Founder and CEO of Prynt, Clement Perrot.
S: What is it about crowdfunding that makes it so darn popular, even among folks who aren’t crowdfunding speakers?
P: There are several reasons why people are interested in crowdfunding campaigns:
– They can find products that are unique and don’t exist anywhere else.
– They can participate in the creative process by giving their feedback.
– They get to support startups in the hope that they grow and become popular.
S: What’s so appealing about crowdfunding from the perspective of a project creator? What does it allow you to do that you could never do in the past?
P: There are multiple reasons why crowdfunding has become such an important milestone:
• Manufacturing is really expensive (as an order of idea, a mold for plastic injection is about $50,000), and startups don’t have the means to overcome those initial costs. Crowdfunding helps them get to that point, and that’s why more and more startups are able to enter the hardware market.
• As hardware bears more risk than software, it’s hard for investors to commit if you haven’t shown any demand. Crowdfunding campaigns give an overview of the traction you can get. That’s the reason why a lot of projects are backed by VCs after their campaigns.
• Crowdfunding campaigns can help you recognize the right number of products needed for the first batch of production. Inventory is hard to manage at the beginning, so pre-orders are a real advantage in that sense.
• The community – taking on board all the feedback you get from backers, and bringing people into the fold of your idea.
S: Who can be successful with crowdfunding?
P: Crowdfunding campaigns are becoming more and more professional. There was a time when crazy people with an innovative idea could get visibility quickly and manage a successful campaign. It seems like nowadays, you still need an original idea, but you also really need to plan ahead and work with professionals, in order to get press, traction on social media, and high conversion with a great page.
S: What types of concepts and campaigns seem to be best suited to crowdfunding platforms – and why so?
P: There are different platforms and each one seems to be suited for a certain kind of project. For instance, Indiegogo seems to be more oriented toward artistic projects, whereas Kickstarter carries more tech products. This is partially related to the audience of each platform.
S: Is crowdfunding the future of philanthropy and investment from a crowdfunding speaker’s perspective – why so/not?
P: I don’t think it’s going to replace investment – but for getting out there, launching a product, crowdfunding has become a major game changer; but it’s only part of the process in becoming a successful startup.
S: What should everyone know about crowdfunding that they may not be aware of?
P: More and more people are seeing crowdfunding platforms as a place where they can find great innovations. The issue is that they often forget that those products (most of the time) require time to finish their development, and get through production. They are quite demanding,
expecting the product to be perfect and shipped in the next few days. It sometimes seems like backers have the same expectations as when they purchase on Amazon.com for example.
S: What advice would you give hopeful crowdfunding project creators?
P: Plan as much as possible ahead of time, and be truly transparent with where you stand and what issues you can potentially face.
S: What do most people not know about crowdfunding that they should?
P: It definitely is harder than it looks and a campaign requires months to plan.
I’d like people to be also more discerning when it comes to certain crowdfunding projects. I like it when people ask technical questions on my project, because it gives me a chance to prove that what we have built is real and works, as opposed to some other projects.
S: What are the possible pitfalls associated with crowdfunding?
P: There are multiple downsides to crowdfunding – the worst is seeing a project fail in shipping a product. To limit those downsides, project creators should be as transparent as possible (and platforms should demand that), and backers should analyze the risks before joining a campaign.
S: What would you tell anyone who’s thinking of going the crowdfunding route to add to the advice they get from most crowdfunding speakers and consultants?
P: I would suggest that they gather as many people as possible to help them plan and prepare the campaign. But after that, you don’t have anything to lose in going that route.
You can find in-depth information about succeeding in your next intrepid venture in Make Change for You, now available in paperback. To learn more about how to lead and succeed, or run successful crowdfunding campaigns, we also invite you to visit our website: www.AKeynoteSpeaker.com.
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