How to launch a HW project on Kickstarter and stay alive.

You’ve been dreaming about making a gadget of your own for quite a while; you’ve built prototypes, wrote code lines and spend hours soldering arduinos and raspberry Pis and you’re ready for the next step – to launch your product on Kickstarter. 5 years ago you may have been an early adapter but today launching a crowdfunding campaign is quite mainstream, and in fact much more challenging than the way it used to be. Here are 5 tips that will help you to have a successful launch and bring your project to life.

Make it real before you launch

Making molds and finalizing your PCB are definitely not wise when you haven’t got any feedback from the crowd but doing nothing is even more risky. You have to make you project work: if there’s a communication protocol – solve it, if there are HW challenges you better overcome them before you offer your product and if you’re building a robot make sure that it is the real deal. People can easily see the difference between an arrogant dreamer to a hands on entrepreneur. You don’t wanna be the first…

Design, design, design

When someone backs your project at kickstarter he backs your vision. and your vision must look amazing. There are so many projects out there, and your idea have most likely been done in quite a similar manner, therefore you mush stand out, and having an amazing, astonishing and remarkable design is your way to be above the noise.

making the financials right.

Don’t ever underestimate the complexity and the logistics of delivering people physical stuff. You have to make your homework right and take into consideration you real BOM, your tooling and NRE (non refundable expenses) figures, understand the logistics and the shipping costs and put the right price to your product. you can sell your activity trackers for 29.99 and have a great success but when the time to deliver will come you won’t be laughing.

Beware of copycats

Writing design patents and lawyering up before the campaign is nice if you have extra cash but if you’re project is interesting you’ll be able to find it on AliBaba within days. Manufacturers in the far east work much faster, have their supply chain figured up and can deliver descent products at a significantly lower price points. They can (and will) copy your design and your campaign but they cannot copy your brand, your service and the experience you provide your backers and it is essential to establish a powerful brand and a strong community before you’re going out there.

Time is money

The assumption that everyone is going to be late on kickstarter is one of the main reasons the whole crowdfunding world is taken as super risky and un-credible. Be ready with everything you need to deliver – budget, operations, R&D program, logistics – and take a buffer of extra 3 months but please, don’t be late.

Making a crowdfunding campaign that stands out is difficult and making this with HW is even  harder. You really wanna be above the noise to make it happen and the more prepared you are before, the greater are you chances to reach the goal and to deliver.

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