Are you are an electronics maker and thinking about launching your idea on a crowdfunding platform?
Recently, I was thinking about launching an open-source board and saw three popular crowdfunding platforms. I am sure you must be aware of Kickstarter and Indiegogo but do you about Crowd Supply?
Crowd Supply is one of the platforms focused on open-source embedded hardware. You will find most of the projects on electronics hardware. On Kickstarter and Indiegogo also hardware projects but them other categories are also there.
One thing stuck in my mind was, what should I do to be successful in my crowdfunding campaign.
I had no idea, even I could not get clear advice online, so I thought, let me try to analyze it myself.
Which crowdfunding platform gets more website traffic?
Firstly, I tried to check how many visitors are there on these three popular platforms to understand the basic idea about the popularity of these platforms.
I used NeilPatel.com to do this analysis and here are the results on organic website traffic (monthly) on these platforms.
If you try to analyze the traffic of these three platforms, you would say Kickstarter and Indiegogo are much better organic reach so we should launch maker board on those platforms.
Don’t get carried away by just seeing the website traffic. Crowd Supply is serving the niche open-source hardware projects, on the other hand on Kickstarter & Indiegogo you will find all sorts of projects. So, you need to think, where is your target audience?
It is very important to pick the right platform (where your target audience is).
It is not just that.
Crowd Supply has the highest success rate compared to other platforms. They also help you in various ways (of-course there is a fee for that) as mentioned below:
- Setting up the campaign
- Shipping fulfillment
- Allows you to sell on their platform even after the campaign is over
They will allow you to pre-launch your project on their platform so that you get some early feedback and a chance to tweak if required.
There are some of the value adds from Crowd Supply.
What can we learn from the successful projects on Crowd Supply?
Next, I thought let me see what kind of projects are getting launched on crowd supply and if we get to know of any pattern from the successful projects.
To do so, I took a sample of 20 projects who were successful and have raised greater than 30,000 USD which is a reasonably good amount for any hardware project (IMHO).
I started collecting information about these projects like Product/Project name, description, goal achieved, how many updates they have shared, no. of backers, average spend per backer, etc.
Below are the details of those 20 projects:
|1||Keywords||SDR||Instrumentation (multiple instruments in one board)||Low Cost Linux Board + GPS + GPRS||ESP32||RISC-V||Raspberry Pi, Sterio Camera, Computer Vision||USB, Security, FPGA||FPGA Dev Board||Omega Low Cost Carrier Board||SDR||ESP, POE||USB Hacking tool||Raspberry Pi popular, Power Shield, Painpoint- battery power, Flash corruption||AI, Nvidia TX2, SDR||RaspberryPi OpenVideo||RISC, FPGA||RISC-V||USB Security||SDR||ARM + FPGA+ Connectivity|
|2||Product Name||LimeRFE||ScopeFun||Onion Omega2 LTE||TinyPICO||HiFive1 Rev B||StereoPi||Fomu||iCEBreaker FPGA||Onion Omega2 Pro||LimeNET Micro||wESP32||USBNinja||LiFePO4wered/Pi+||AIR-T||NeTV2||HiFive Unleashed Expansion Board||HiFive Unleashed||Tomu||XTRX||Snickerdoodle|
|3||Description||A Software-Definable RF Front End Module for LimeSDR Platforms||Open Source All-in-One Instrumentation||A 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connected Linux dev board with GNSS global positioning||A tiny, mighty ESP32 development board||An open source, RISC-V development platform with wireless connectivity||An open source stereoscopic camera based on Raspberry Pi||An FPGA board that fits inside your USB port||The first open source iCE40 FPGA development board designed for teachers and students||A tiny, open source, plug-and-play Linux dev board with Wi-Fi and lots of storage||A software-defined radio platform with integrated processor for creating self-contained wireless networks||An ESP32-based board with wired Ethernet connectivity and power over Ethernet||BadUSB embedded into a USB cable||A full-featured LiFePO4 battery, power manager, and UPS for the Raspberry Pi||Artificial Intelligence Radio - Transceiver (AIR-T)||An open video development board in a PCI express form factor that supports overlaying content on encrypted video signals. Let's bring open video to the digital age!||This board is purpose-built to expand the capabilities of the HiFive Unleashed board and comes pre-programmed with a PCIe Root Port in the PolarFire FPGA and much more. Make a RISC-V PC!||The world’s first RISC-V-based, Linux-capable development board||An ARM board that fits inside your USB connector||The first ever truly embedded SDR||A palm-sized, reconfigurable Linux computer that connects to the real world: ARM + FPGA + Wi-Fi + Bluetooth + 180 I/O|
|4||Goal % Acheived||536%||113%||311%||39929%||293%||398%||589%||447%||1178%||1516%||361%||530%||825%||586%||50175%||428%||529%|
So, what’s the Pattern?
- Hardware has something unique (1) and is based on popular platforms (2) like Raspberry Pi SBC or compute Module, RISC-V Open Architecture, SDR (Software Defined Radio), ESP32, FPGA Board, USB Security, Onion Omega Linux Computer, etc.
To be successful on Crowd Supply you need the following:
- Project / Product (Unique): Right product is the most important thing. You can test your idea by asking feedback on your social media channels or you can even create a project on Hackaday, Hackster and see what kind of response you are getting. Based on the response you can tweak and launch your project idea.
- Existing large followers/community: If you are building something useful for an existing large community, chances are high that you will get a good response. Example: Raspberry Pi (SBC, Compute Module), RISC-V, ESP32, Onion Omega 2S Linux Computer, SDR, USB Security, etc.
- Build a successful prototype: The product should have reached a successful prototypes stage. This is important to build confidence. People will invest if they are convinced that they will get the board/product. Also, good documentation and use-case examples are very critical.
- Promotion: Good online promotion after the campaign launched is a must. Don’t just depend on crowdfunding platform, make all efforts to promote your campaign once it is launched. The more people are aware of your project, more are the chances of a good response. Involve your well-wishers, friends to help promote & share online. Use all social media channels for promotion. Share example use-cases regularly on social media for promotion.
- Updates: Share updates with your followers about the progress you are making. This will get them engaged and can also influence more backers.
I hope you got some useful information & tips about crowd funding.
You should also read the following articles for more insights about the Crowd Supply platform:
Let me know your feedback in the comments section below or write to me directly here.
If you are interested to learn about embedded system design, read articles here.
For backers (customers who buy products on crowdsupply): Crowd Supply is a very trustworthy crowdfunding platform. They heavily curate products (>90% of submissions are rejected) to ensure quality, and 100% of projects that were funded were delivered to backers (as of 2022). You can’t say the same about kickstarter.
For creators (people who sell products on crowdsupply): Their services are expensive, but worth it. The Crowd Supply team is very helpful, knowledgeable, and passionate about bringing open-source hardware to market.