How Kickstarter campaigns find success
Having a successful Kickstarter campaign is easier said than done. Some find that hook and go viral -- others flop. But creative and prepared entrepreneurs can find success even in failure.
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“Kickstarter was a really great place to start [the project] and see if that was a sustainable model,” he says. “It made me realize I don’t want to do product design. I’m more interested in the performance aspect.”Skip to next paragraph
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Part of the extra work came from the 75 pairs of IMB gloves he promised select backers. Peterman wanted a personal feel to each pair, so he made them all by hand. It takes a few hours to make each pair.
Peterman created the IMB gloves while in The New School’s master's in fine arts program for design and technology. He wanted to make a statement about the lasting archetypes in present-day technology from centuries-old instruments to the qwerty keyboard.
“The iPhone's great, but we all now interact the same way,” Peterman says. “I don't think that's necessarily bad, but I don't think it's the only path."
Some of the money went to his campaign, which involved conferences and middle-school workshops for building IMB gloves (boys and girls worked on the mechanics as well as decorative aspects like sewing). Another chunk of the money went to materials for the gloves.
When it comes to more conventional projects, however, funding can be tough. That’s what Harvard University professor Gregory Norris found when he launched a Kickstarter drive for the Handprinter app. The smart-phone app would determine your handprint (your positive impact on the environment) from the information given and suggest ways to increase your handprint.
Before Kickstarter, Mr. Norris approached a number of foundations about his idea, only to find that those that were interested could not give funding because the concept did not meet their grant requirements.
After coming across Kickstarter, Norris and his team launched a month-long campaign last November, but they received only $2,000 of the $30,000 they needed.
Norris says the team could not pinpoint what made their project fail, but acknowledged that they lacked connections and viral material. They also offered very few prizes beyond simple name recognition, such as a free dinner at the Harvard Faculty Club for those who donated $1,000 or more. (No one did.)
"We learned anyway that the idea and the prizes and their costs didn't catch on," he says. "Evidently the idea of getting your name on this [project], it wasn't cool enough."
The team continued working on the app with funds from two donors. In the meantime, Norris, who works in life-cycle assessment, has been getting the word out at conferences like the recent International Conference of Life-Cycle Assessment in Argentina. The team has continued soliciting donations through nonprofits like Network for Good and New Earth.
"The things we proposed to do in a Kickstarter campaign, even though we don't have the funding, we still need to do," he says," but we're still definitely working at it."
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