If you have a great idea but lack the funds to get it started, crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo offer a great opportunity to get your target audience (the crowd) to collectively offer financial backing to your product or project to really get things off the ground.
Yet, whilst this can seem a great idea, in practice up to 70% of crowdfunding campaigns fail to hit their target.
“We’ve worked on over 200 campaigns and raised an additional £3.5 million for campaign owners”
Ready to remedy this, Hyperstarter is shaking things up with its clever new tool that analyses crowdfunding campaign pages, identifying the problems that are easily missed but that could signify the end of someone’s funding dreams – as well as offering valuable advice to help see to a campaign’s success – all for free.
As well as the tool, this startup takes things further with expert consultancy, hands-on support with marketing and its very own promotional platform for those who want to make sure their campaign goes the whole hog.
A kick start
Although in the early stages of development, this killer combination of analytics and consultancy has already had an impressive impact on the crowdfunding community. As Hyperstarter’s founder Giles Dawe (pictured left) tells us: “So far we’ve worked on over 200 campaigns, raised an additional £3.5 million for campaign owners and worked on projects from the British Invention of the Year to Carlos Santana’s shoes.
“In order to get to the stage we’re at, we had to work closely with campaign owners and, of course, generate positive outcomes for the projects we work on.”
He adds: “My personal favourite campaign is the ONAK folding canoe. It’s an origami-inspired canoe that can quickly fold into a luggage-sized bag and transported anywhere.
“I think the idea behind ONAK is that it’s aimed at city dwellers who want to bring the outdoors to their local rivers. The campaign was also one of our most successful, and in less than 2 weeks we raised an additional €100,000 through pitching and outreach.”
A startup themselves, Hyperstarter is about to move its current base from China to join the Bristol tribe at leading business incubator Entrepreneurial Spark. Giles tells us: “Being based in China was a real problem as major sites such as Google, Youtube and Facebook were being blocked. Sometimes there were even whole days where the internet for the whole city would be ‘turned off’, which made it extremely difficult to run an internet business.
“We’ve already taken on our first UK member of staff and we’re looking to launch version two of Hyperstarter soon”
“As I was preparing to come back to the UK, I wanted to find out which were the most popular startups in Bristol and how they achieved their success. I came across Entrepreneurial Spark and was recently accepted. Local companies like Signable and YellowDog are great role-models for startups as they have grown quite quickly and raised a lot of money but are still based in Bristol.”
Challenges of the crowd
Being at the forefront of crowdfunding campaign success can be a balancing act. The reality is that some crowdfunding campaigns can be worked on whereas others are bound to fail from day one. For Giles, however, collaboration with similar organisations has been key to understanding how to identify great potential.
Success story: Hyperstarter recently helped ONAK, the origami-inspired
folding canoe, to reach its crowdfunding target
“I found out the details of all our closest competitors and then I contacted them.” Giles tells us, “I wanted to introduce myself and our company, just to let them know what we’re working on. I found it was a great eye-opener to just speak freely and see how approachable they were. During these conversations I found that the majority of our competitors turned away customers, some as many as 90%.”
Of course, there are a few common pitfalls that newbies to the crowd will often face. Giles explains: “Be wary of launching too soon. The idea of just launching a campaign, hoping that others will come across it and then have the same feeling and passion as you is incredibly rare. I think it’s perhaps naive to think that because you believe your product is great, that everyone else would love it too.”
So, if you’re thinking about setting up a crowdfunding campaign in the future, Hyperstarter seems a pretty good place to start. And as they expand the business with help from Entrepreneurial Spark this is a startup that will surely thrive. Giles adds: “We think we’ve got a great business model in a popular niche sector and we’re looking to grow.
“We’ve already taken on our first UK member of staff and we’re looking to launch version two of Hyperstarter soon. This would move the ‘hands-on’ work we’re doing into a more affordable, scalable subscription-based model.”
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