The Inventor. The Investor. The Consumer. This transaction triangle is becoming outdated as direct and prolific communication allows the inventor to connect directly with the consumer. Kickstarter is the premiere crowdsourcing site, raising funds for innovative ideas through individual investor/consumers who give between $1 and $5,000 a piece. Many new ventures use this site to garner their upstart cash, as well as film directors, musicians, etc.
A recent favorite of mine is “GoldieBlox,” a construction toy and book aimed at getting girls interested in inventing and engineering. Designed by Debbie Sterling, a Stanford graduate, the project raised more than $280,000 for initial product costs (way over her $150,000 goal).
The key to crowdsourcing funds for an upstart project is finessing your network for interested investors and hooking them in with a video to share. Once members of your network start sharing your video widely to their networks, it takes off. Rarely does text, without rich media, hold the attention of the web for long enough to get re-shared. And to get more than 5,000 people to donate to your idea, you need to go viral.
Going viral was key for “LIFX: The Light Bulb Reinvented,” which raised more than a million dollars through 9,000+ investors. In a nutshell, the light bulbs change to any color with an app on your smartphone, and are touted as the most energy efficient bulbs that last up to 25 years.
Kickstarter has some really interesting products on it, check it out and become an investor in the next big thing!
Rebecca Sherwood is digital coordinator at Airfoil, a high-tech PR and marcomm firm with offices in Silicon Valley and Detroit.