A crowdfunding campaign is a huge undertaking, so it’s best to learn as much as you can from people who have already been there and done it. BrightLoop is an education startup that has successfully funded their $30,000 edtech Kickstarter campaign. We profiled them here on the blog back when the campaign first started and now we’ll revisit to learn from their experience. This article is from Edtech Times. Here’s a short excerpt, but you can read the full article here.
Challenge – Demographics
One of the things I brought up in this blog was that the average person who peruses Kickstarter is a male in the 20’s with disposable income. This is not something that worked in our favor as the average person who might be interested in BrightLoop is a teacher who likely does not frequent Kickstarter. This made us less likely to go viral through the kickstarter platform
Benefit – Tribe
Due to the Kickstarter demographics we were not able to go viral through the Kickstarter platform, however another thing that I found in my research is the number of facebook friends you have, can also be indicative of a Kickstarter’s success. According to Seth Godin, “Kickstarteris the last step, not the first one.” Kickstarter is not a way for you to attract attention to your project. It is a way to “organize and activate [your] tribe”. But you have to build your tribe first.
My co-founder and I are both in our 20’s and Facebook entered the scene around our freshman year in college. What this means is that we are connected to most of the network we encountered after the age of 18 through Facebook. Having majored in education as an undergrad, attending a different graduate school of education afterwards and having taught in three different schools, my extended Facebook network happens to be heavy on teachers.
Challenge – Hustlin’
To be totally frank, my life in Kickstarter felt like the rap song, Every Day I’m Hustlin’ by Rick Ross. Now to make sure I wasn’t saying anything inappropriate in that reference I decided to consult Urban Dictionary for the official definition, which is “Having the ambition and drive to do everything and anything to make mad money.” This is your life for the full time of your Kickstarter, especially if you are not a viral Kickstarter project. Every day in Kickstarter world you are hustlin’, you are pivoting, you are questioning if your emails are effective, you are wondering what new ways to contact people, you are fearing your friends, your facebook network and your email list will shun you at any moment. When I went to bed at night, I dreamed that I was working on my never-ending Kickstarter to-do list. The worst part? You have this distinct fear that at the end of the 35 days of hustlin’, you will have hustled for no reason. Kickstarter is all or nothing… and while you are in the middle of it you can’t help but fear that it was all for nothing.
Benefit: Pre-Sales and Larger Reach
Before we’ve finished building our product we have already sold over 500 licenses ofBrightLoop. Most edtech startups give away their finished product, so to already have those sales numbers pre-product is exciting. The other benefit is that some of these were personal and some of these were gifts, and each can benefit our company in different ways. The first thing you should know—and I am speaking from my experience as a teacher—when teachers find an awesome product, they talk about it! If you can get teachers talking about your product, that is one of your biggest translators to sales. The teachers who took the extra step to buy it for themselves through Kickstarter now feel like a part of our team. Assuming the product is as great as they hoped, we will have our own group of advocates who were with us from the beginning. For the ones that were gifts, we now are able to reach teachers we may never have had the opportunity to interact with and provide them free access along with a gift box from someone in their lives who cares about them. Hopefully they will love the product and share it among their peers.