Fundraising is hard for most of the startups and crowdfunding is even harder. Meet Startupbootcamp Istanbul 2015 Alumni Monument who hit $700K on their Kickstarter campaign! What are the challanges of designing a crowdfunding campaign? What are the lessons learned and top tips to be suggested for entrepreneurs? The team shared their journey with us….
Can you please tell us about your journey before starting the planning of your Kickstarter campaign? How did you design the campaign and what are the strategic nuances about the timing of your campaign release?
One of the biggest challenges that startups face is the business validation. Kickstarter is an important step for many startups, like ours, to realize their ideas. It is where the real creators meet with the customers without having to go through the excruciating process of going to market dominated by big players.
We knew that we should be well prepared for the campaign. It took 3 months for us to get ready. First we created a community of early supporters and kept them updated. Then worked hard on creative copy and content of our video. Our resources were limited; so, we decided to spend more time on narrative than camera tricks and production quality. We made 10+ versions of our script.
The product, value proposition, goals and the need should be clear to everyone. Using a clear, simple and structured flow is important to be able to convey your message.
During the acceleration program, we’ve tested and verified our value propositions by talking to potential users. This helped us a lot to prioritize our development plan. Normally, we were planning to roll-out the AI functionality after we release the first product. But customer interviews showed us that we had to prioritize this functionality. With that, Monument now understands what’s and who’s in a photo.
Can you please write about your Kickstarter success? How did it go based on your expectations? What were the ups and downs?
It went beyond our expectations. The night prior to our launch, we wanted to make sure that everything was in place and ready for the morning. So, we hit the launch button to test things and after a short while we noticed that pledges kept coming; even though we had not sent the launch announcement yet. We had no idea how did they find us and luckily reached to some of them. We found out that they actually marked their calendars for the campaign launch, and waited for it. This is an amazing experience and made us even more excited.
What were the challenges you faced throughout your Kickstarter campaign?
Pre-launch preparation for the campaign is probably the biggest factor in its success. Especially establishing a community before launching was one of the challenges we faced. You can not simply expect people to see your project when they’re surfing on Kickstarter. There are thousands of live projects there and you need stand out from this crowd.
Before even we started planning our campaign, we built a landing page and tested various value propositions. We talked and talked and talked to these people to understand their pain points better. We listened to the feedback carefully.
Afterwards, we were selected as one of the hottest startups at CES and get some press coverage. This helped us to grow our email list a lot. When you hit the launch button, you need early supporters to reach your goal in the first 72 hours. If you can create this momentum, you can increase your visibility on the site which gives you more exposure.
What are the lessons learned from this amazing campaign result?
If you do the crowdfunding right, it will help you to create a market and an awesome community. This has been one of the most memorable experiences that we’ve ever had. It was so awesome to see the excitement of the backers.
Key data points from Monument’s Kickstarter campaign:
Number of backers: 5,209
Total amount pledged: $703,818
Average pledges per day: $16,758
Average backer per day: 120
Ercan Erciyes, Semih Hazar, Co-Founders of Monument
What would be the top 5 tips you will give to entrepreneurs fundraising through crowdfunding for the first time?
Crowdfunding communities are amazing places to validate your startup idea, but it requires an enormous amount of upfront work in order to be successful. So, plan well and be proactive about reaching out to your networks.
Our top 5 tips:
- Create a community before launching
- Design simple, attractive page content. Your page should say it all
- Find blogs, influencers, journalists that will help you spread the word. If possible, use a PR service
- Plan the campaign
- Keep the momentum up
What is next for you after this campaign?
We’ve already start the manufacturing process. For the coming months, we’ll be busy with the manufacturing and development to ship Monument to our backers on time.
How did being part of Startupbootcamp impact your product development process?
Joining to Startupbootcamp was an amazing experience. The accelerator program forced us to go outside and talk to potential customers before building something. Also, it helps you to focus and plan your schedule. Startupbootcamp helps you to access industry experts; it helped us a lot to shape our business model.
Are you planning to do any other campaign that people can still back you?
For those who missed the campaign, they can pre-order Monument for a limited time on Indiegogo. Here’s the link: http://getmonument.com/igg
Applications for the next Startupbootcamp Istanbul program are now open!