You’ve ran your tests and iterated until you can iterate no more (well, you could but you won’t). Now finally, (finally!) you’re ready to bring your product to the masses.
But what’s the best way to get it out there? Kickstarter and Indiegogo have brought some real success stories to market over the past few years and many more companies are choosing to go their own way with pre-orders not backed by any platform.
Whether you’re a team of 1, 10 or 100, there are great opportunities to finance your hardware product; it just comes down to picking the right platform.
Snapshot: State of the Hardware Financing Union
Rapid growth in total dollars pledged on crowdfunding platforms -- 2011: $138 million, 2013: $1.17 billion, 2015: $4.35 billion (source)
443 hardware products raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter and Indiegogo since the platforms began (as of 2014)
128 hardware companies pre-sold nearly $70 million in products in Q1 of 2015
Median amount pledged for hardware crowdfunding projects = $211,000 (source)
The Quick Facts
Launched in: 2007
Approval Process: None
Location: No geographic restrictions
Fee: 5% Indiegogo fee + 3% and $0.30 per pledge payment processing fee
Offers a “flexible funding” option where you can keep funds raised even if you don’t meet your goal
Less stringent approval means you can start your campaign fasterIndiegogo is the only large international optionFlexible model means you can keep some money even if your project is unsuccessful, provided you're able to uphold promises to pledgers.
Alternatively, some startups choose to forgo crowdfunding platforms altogether and finance their products via pre-orders on their own website.
The numbers around this financing path are more elusive as there’s no central authority keeping track. However according to Techcrunch, in Q1 of 2015 about 1/6th of hardware campaigns (in dollars) were hosted via pre-order campaigns.
If that’s true then total hardware crowdfunding dollars are bumped up to about $85 million in this first quarter alone. Pretty amazing stuff.
More autonomy - your platform, your rules.
No fees - keep all the cash with a self-hosted campaign.
More Website Traffic - a self hosted campaign results in more traffic for your website, which leads to potentially better engagement with you brand content.
Stand-out factor - a stand-alone campaign can appear as a breath of fresh air amidst all the crowdfunded projects + there’s less visible competition with other campaigns on the same platform.