6 Marketing Lessons from Killer Kickstarter Campaigns

In iMedia Connection, I have a cover story telling the lessons learned from six inventive Kickstarter campaigns that are worth studying. Some are big, others are huge, and still others are smaller than you might expect.  But they all have something to teach us. 

Here’s how the article starts: 

Let’s start big — like $13 million big. The $13,285,226 raised by The Coolest Cooler on Kickstarter made it the most-funded Kickstarter project of all time. The campaign page has engaging videos. The product has an almost ridiculously rich feature set, including a USB charger, speakers, a blender, a lid light, and a cutting board. The campaign, which ran for 52 days, was picked up by just about every national news outlet you can think of, from ABC to CBS to NBC — an impressive win. But that’s not why it’s on this list. What’s the marketing lesson here?

Read more at this link:   http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/37745.asp#singleview

Read More

Startups and Crowdfunding Meet + Replicate

There’s a new hybrid in town. It has the head of a startup and the body of a crowdfunding campaign. This is a confluence that can create weirdness, like the first all-pug dog production of Hamlet, but it also supports entrepreneurs and creative media makers who might not otherwise find their voices or an audience.

Is this a good idea?

Some might argue that there are plenty of ideas that should not see the light of day. There’s no denying that the great power of the Internet is its leveled playing field where just about anybody gains admission, and the great weakness of the Internet is its leveled playing field, where just about anybody gains admission.

You probably want to know if crowdfunding your startup is a good idea or not, so let’s get right to that.

Read the rest of this post on Medium: https://medium.com/@docuguy/crowdfunding-startups-meet-and-replicate-2ad0c015d89b

Read More

Seed Money for Startups – Crowdfunding is One Path

The Huffington Post is running an article I wrote about startups using crowdfunding to get seed funding.  Here’s a look.  

Your startup is so ready to launch you can taste it. You have assembled your dream team. You’re interviewing prospective customers. But, like all startup founders, you have a big decision coming up about seed funding.

Should you bootstrap? Seek out angel investors? Go the venture capital route? Try an incubator?

In Los Angeles, where the state of the startup is anything but traditional, startup founders are looking to a fresh pathway to acquire seed funding. They are looking to crowdfunding.

Read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post.

Read More

Startup in Los Angeles? Try Crowdfunding

Coming up this week, I’m teaching a crowdfunding class at General Assembly. It’s Thursday 29 May from 7:30-9PM. If you’re curious about crowdfunding and want to see what it’s all about, this is the class for you.

I’ll be covering:

Is your project crowdfundable? Who will want to give you money? Why are campaigns successful? Why is a crowdfunding video important?

The class will be at General Assembly, at the hub of the startup community in Los Angeles. (It shares offices with Startup LA.)  If you’re looking for seed money for your startup, why not think about crowdfunding to get you there?

Here are the takeaways you’ll get from the class:

Learn how to create an online culture to support your campaign Find out the six rules for crowdfunding success Know how to avoid the top crowdfunding fails Go deep in analysis of successful Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns

We’ll do some fun brainstorming in class and I’ll have a workbook for you to help you get to the next steps. Here’s a sign up link:

Read More

Startup Hacks: Connect Your Startup with a Culture

If you’re launching a startup, you have to speak to a culture. Think about Uber – how it has powerfully tapped into an urban hipster culture. And Snapchat – connected to a teen culture. And recent crowdfunding campaigns like the one for URB-E, an electric bike that addresses the ‘last mile’ challenge in the greening of cities. (When people in cities use public transportation to get to work or school, getting them right to their door is a challenge. They need another solution. That’s the so-called ‘last mile’ challenge.)

My sense if that if you launch a startup without creating a social culture around it, or connecting with an existing social culture, it will drop like a rock in the ocean and never be seen again.

I’ve seen this time and again with crowdfunding campaigns, and what are crowdfunding projects but mini-startups? Often crowdfunding is used to pre-market products, testing the waters for user adoption. The projects that make it, like the New York Pizza Project, and Kittyo, tap into existing markets and cultures. The …

Read More

TechSmart Podcast: Josef Holm, co-founder of Tubestart

Tubestart started early in 2013 when Josef Holm and his friend and business partner, comedian Claude Shires, created a YouTube channel for a library of standup comedy bits they’d acquired. The site received a million views, but Holm and Shires received only a small amount of revenue.

They saw an opportunity for YouTube creators to have their own channel where they could crowdfund their projects. They’ve adopted a model that allows video creators to crowdfund monthly subscription-based support for ongoing projects. Creators can also launch all-or-nothing Kickstarter-style campaigns on Tubestart and flexible funding campaigns are okay, too.

Most YouTube creators, says Josef, are not doing one-time projects. If they’re launching channels, they’re doing web series, and that means ongoing support. This is what Tubestart is built to deliver.

In the podcast, Josef describes how to succeed on Tubestart and in crowdfunding. “You need to run the campaign like it’s a presidential campaign. You need to want to win,” he says. He breaks down the planning and techniques to help video creators launch and maintain successful crowdfunding campaigns. He also …

Read More

TechSmart – Lesley Mansford CEO of Razoo

Lesley Mansford is CEO of Razoo, the fastest-growing crowdfunding site for causes. In TechSmart Episode 29, Lesley gives valuable tips and shares techniques for fundraising success on Razoo, and also talks about Razoo’s support for GivingTuesday, the annual, national day of giving on December 3, 2013.

TechSmart is available on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher Radio. When on the Red Cup Agency site or Digital Fundraising School, just click the orange button to listen.

Podcast interview conducted by Lee Schneider, creative director of Red Cup and founder of Digital Fundraising School. To learn how to crowdfund, click here.


GivingTuesday is intended to bring focus to local communities and attract the support they deserve. As part of the event, the Razoo Foundation will partner with Razoo to award $100,000 in donations to participating nonprofit organizations and fundraisers raising money on their behalf. In the podcast interview with Lee Schneider, Lesley pointed out that Razoo saw 50% more giving on GivingTuesday in 2012 compared to the same date in 2011.

She expects a similar showing this …

Read More

TechSmart – Sebastian Marshall – Episode 28

Sebastian Marshall is Executive Director of Children’s Plaza Nonprofit Corp, which runs  GiveGetWin — a new approach to fundraising that helps raise funds for charity without emphasizing suffering or having anyone feel guilty. Marshall has lived, worked, and traveled through dozens of countries and currently divides his time between Asia, the US and Europe. Marshall’s main focus is the charity, which is a 100% volunteer operation.  He pays his bills with a small group of clients at his management consulting practice, focusing on executive development.

Sebastian and I cover a broad range of topics on the podcast today, centered around online trends. We talk about online collaboration using Skype, Google Docs, Trello, Asana and Teambox. We discuss the shift of leisure time from offline to online, and we discuss the way everyone is creating new media on the fly.  Sometime next month, look for me on Sebastian’s site, GiveGetWin, where I’ll be offering a special online learning session all about creating quality content online.  Sebastian will be back on TechSmart soon to …

Read More

TechSmart – DIY & Startups – Crowdfunding with Kevin Lawton

The Start Up Revolution and Crowdfunding

First there were solopreneurs, brave souls who moved away from corporate America, armed only with a laptop, a pair of pajamas to work in, and a cell phone to call prospects. Then, seemingly overnight, the solopreneur movement blossomed into an international Do It Yourself culture. The Do It Yourself (DIY) movement was given mojo by Makers who actually make things and display them at Maker’s Faires around the country. People who make things with their hands started to influence people who make things online. And, as they say, the revolution has begun. (It will not be televised.)

DIY culture infuses craft culture like Etsy, developer culture like Github, information culture like Quora. Start Up culture that has galvanized small businesses and now, even corporate America. Start Up culture is the next wave in business, marketing and cultural development. It is remaking the way we work, with virtual staffing and online collaboration. It is reshaping how businesses are started, with crowdfunding.

To get a taste of how the crowdfunding revolution is shaping the dreams of entrepreneurs and Start Up people, here’s a podcast I recorded …

Read More