Kickstarter: crowdfunding the 2012 way
It was recently alleged that crowdfunding website, Kickstarter.com has fudged their reporting to make the site look like a more successful tool for crowdfunding than it actually is, to which we asserted that other peoples’ success does not necessarily encourage or discourage entrepreneurs, who typically have an attitude that they can do anything, no matter the past failure rate.
With all of the hoopla surrounding the Kickstarter success rates, we thought we would take a look back at the Kickstarter projects we have shared with you, the reader. Our data is not indicative of how the site works in full, as we do not cover any of the creative projects like movies or albums, nor do we cover art installations, mission trips, group gardens, but we do share technology tools, which for the most part have performed quite well on Kickstarter, many of which have raised nearly ten times what their original fundraising goal was.
Kickstarter entrepreneurs must declare the dollar amount they are raising, and if they do not raise that amount through the site, no money exchanges hands, but for projects that meet their goal, perks are offered to people who pledged funds, and the entrepreneur has to deliver a product along with the promised perks.
Below are the ten projects written about on AG that succeeded in meeting their fundraising goals, along with one that is still fundraising, and five projects that failed.
1. Curly Cable: 1,814% funded
Curly Cable for iPad and iPhone adds a curly cable to iPads and iPhones. Simple. Genius.
- Fundraising goal: $1,500 / Fundraised $27,216 / Funded on January 28, 2012
- AG story on Curly Cable
- Kickstarter page for Curly Cable
2. Trigger Happy: 887% funded
Trigger Happy app controls your digital camera via smartphone. Innovative photo tools that automate photography seem to do well on Kickstarter.
- Fundraising goal: $25,000 / Fundraised $221,739 / Funded on May 5, 2012
- AG story on Trigger Happy
- Kickstarter page for Trigger Happy
3. Brydge iPad case: 887% funded (fundraised $797,979!)
The Brydge is hellbent on adhering to Apple design standards, and it turns an iPad into a laptop, adding speakers, a keyboard, and even when shaken roughly, it stays put. Nice.
- Fundraising goal: $90,000 / Fundraised $797,979 / Funded on June 4, 2012
- AG story on Brydge
- Kickstarter page for
4. GoPano: 846% funded
GoPano is a lens that snaps on to an iPhone 4 to steady your camera to film a 360º video, getting rid of the need to have a steady hand when filming panoramic videos. Dummy proof.
- Fundraising goal: $20,000 / Fundraised $169,209 / Funded on May 14, 2012
- AG story on GoPano
- Kickstarter page for GoPano
5. Timelapse+: 829% funded
The Timelapse+ is an intervalometer, aka timer device, for automatically triggering SLR cameras, built with bluetooth for connecting accessories, including smartphones, created (among other things) for long-term timelapse projects.
- Fundraising goal: $20,000 / Fundraised $165,730 / Funded on February 19, 2012
- AG story on Timelapse+
- Kickstarter page for Timelapse+
6. Galileo: 702% funded
This clever iPhone device gives video 360 degree tilting and panning and solves a real world problem. Fabulous!
- Fundraising goal: $100,000 / Fundraised $702,427 / Funded on April 21, 2012
- AG story on Galileo
- Kickstarter page for Galileo
7. Tiltpod: 637% funded
Tiltpod for iPhones is an articulating iPhone base which solves the balancing act of trying to get yourself in iPhone pictures before your smartphone falls off of a rock or table, or worse, chops your head off in pictures.
- Fundraising goal: $10,000 / Fundraised $63,745 / Funded on April 1, 2012
- AG story on Tiltpod
- Kickstarter page for Tiltpod
8. Romo: 359% funded
Romo turns your smartphone into a functioning robot for under $100 – this is easily the most fun Kickstarter project we’ve ever written about.
- Fundraising goal: $32,000 / Fundraised $114,796 / Funded on November 21, 2011
- AG story on Romo
- Kickstarter page for Romo
9. Glass: 287% funded
With this glass multi-touch keyboard and mouse that uses smartphone-like technology and open source software to track your fingers when you tap on the glass, germophobes will rejoice at no longer scraping out the crevices of their keyboard with rubbing alcohol and q-tips.
- Fundraising goal: $50,000 / Fundraised $143,538 / Funded on January 1, 2012
- AG story on Glass
- Kickstarter page for Glass
10. Last Alert: 124% funded
Find your missing iPhone even if it’s dead with the Last Alert app. Nice!
- Fundraising goal: $3,500 / Fundraised $4,334 / Funded on March 8, 2012
- AG story on Last Alert
- Kickstarter page for Last Alert
Spike: 94% fundraised, still fundraising
Spike gives your iPhone a real keyboard and is built to improve typing accuracy and make using an iPhone feel more natural.
- Fundraising goal: $75,000 / Fundraised $70,153* / Fundraising ends on August 11, 2012
- AG story on Spike
- Kickstarter page for Spike
*as of publication
The not so lucky projects
Obviously, not all fundraising goals are met, and while we enjoyed the following five projects, no money changed hands with these crowdfunding projects:
- 1. UPPRcase, lowrcase: beautiful, durable iPad cases
- Fundraising goal: $20,000 / Fundraised $10,400 / earned 52 percent of their funding goal
- AG story on UPPRcase, lowrcase
- Kickstarter page for UPPRcase, lowrcase
- 2. Cord-on-Board: stores iPhone charger in phone
- Fundraising goal: $20,000 / Fundraised $7,263 / hit 36 percent of their goal
- AG story on Cord-on-Board
- Kickstarter page for Cord-on-Board
- 3. Acoustic kickstand for Kindle Fire
- Fundraising goal: $12,000 / Fundraised $3,259 / earned 27 percent of their goal
- AG story on Acoustic kickstands
- Kickstarter page for Acoustic kickstands
- 4. 17″ tablet PC
- Fundraising goal: $50,000 / Fundraised $6,719 / met 13 percent of their fundraising goals
- AG story on the 17″ tablet PC
- Kickstarter page for the 17″ tablet PC
PopCom designs smart vending machines to automate regulated products
(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) PopCom raises $1.3 million in equity crowd funding to launch smart vending machines that will securely sell regulated products like cannabis and alcohol.
Dawn Dickson is upgrading the beloved vending machine to thrive in the era of COVID-19. Dickson is the Founder & CEO of PopCom, a black-owned retail technology company whose mission is to “equip entrepreneurs and brands with future-ready retail solutions that allow rapid retail expansion, incredible customer experiences, and powerful sales data.”
Dickson started her entrepreneurial career with Flat Out Heels, rollable flat shoes that fit in a purse. The business was an e-commerce hit, relying on online data analytics to drive sales and growth. She found there was a disconnect in leveraging that technology when she looked for traditional vending machines to sell her products in places with high foot traffic like airports. Like any good entrepreneur, she created her own solution to the problem.
PopCom vending machines use facial detection and machine learning to create an interactive and intelligent retail experience. In 2020, the Columbus, Ohio based company is rolling out secure pilots for automated vending of regulated products like alcohol and cannabis. The machines rely on biometric analysis to verify identity, and can even anonymously evaluate age, gender, and emotional sentiment while a customer is browsing to convert sales. Products can therefore be available on demand with minimal human interaction.
The growth of this technology is timely as COVID-19 continues to ravage retail in the United States. “Vending machines and convenience services are becoming more essential, and retailers are looking for more ways to deliver their products direct-to-customer with less human friction. We are excited about what is to come,” Dickson told BlackNews.com.
And what is to come is coming quickly. Dickson just completed a record-setting equity crowdfunding campaign on Start Engine, being the first female founder in history to raise $1.3 million in just 47 days! Previously, PopCom raised an initial $1.07 million from their first campaign. According to SEC regulations, companies can raise up to $1.07 million from regulation crowd funding sources in a 12-month period.
How to choose the right software for your business
(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) What are the best software options for your company? Well, we have a list of suggestions and questions to help you determine what is best for you.
It’s almost impossible to run a successful modern business without some kind of software to help you stay productive and operate efficiently. There are millions of companies and even more independent developers working hard to produce new software products and services for the businesses of the world, so to say that choosing the right software is intimidating is putting it lightly.
Fortunately, your decisions will become much easier with a handful of decision-making rubrics.
Determining Your Core Needs
First, you need to decide which types of software you really need. For most businesses, these are the most fundamental categories:
- Proposal software. Customer acquisition starts and ends with effective proposals, which is why you need proposal software that helps you create, send, and track the status of your sales documents.
- Lead generation and sales. You’ll also want the support of lead generation and sales software, including customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. These help you identify and track prospects throughout the sales process.
- Marketing and advertising. Marketing and advertising platforms help you plan and implement your campaigns, but even more importantly—they help you track your results.
- Finance and accounting. With finance and accounting software, you’ll track accounts payable and receivable, and countless variables influencing the financial health of your company.
- Supply chain and logistics. Certain types of businesses require support when it comes to supply chain management and logistics—and software can help.
- Productivity and tracking. Some software products, including time trackers and project management platforms, focus on improving productivity and tracking employee actions.
- Comprehensive analytics. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and other “big picture” software products attempt to provide you with comprehensive analytics related to your business’s performance.
Key Factors to Consider
From there, you’ll need to choose a software product in each necessary category—or try to find one that covers all categories simultaneously. When reviewing the thousands (if not millions) of viable options, keep these factors in mind:
- Core features/functionality. Similar products in a given niche can have radically different sets of features. It’s tempting to go with the most robust product in all cases, but superfluous features and functionality can present their own kind of problem.
- Integrations. If you use a number of different software products, you’ll need some way to get them to work together. Prioritize products that make it easy to integrate with others—especially ones you’re already using.
- Intuitiveness/learnability. Software should be intuitive and easy to learn. Not only will this cut down on the amount of training and education you have to provide employees, but it will also reduce the possibilities of platform misuse in the future.
- Customizability/flexibility. Out-of-the-box software products work well for many customers, but they may not suit your current or future needs precisely. Platforms with greater customizability and flexibility are favorable.
- Security. If you’re handling sensitive data (and most businesses will be), it’s vital to have a software developed with security in mind. There should be multiple layers of security in place, and ample settings for you to tightly control accessibility.
- Ongoing developer support. Your chosen software might be impressive today, but how is it going to look in three years? It’s ideal to choose a product that features ongoing developer support, with the potential for more features and better functionality in the near and distant future.
- Customer support. If you have an issue with the app, will someone be available to help you? Good customer service can elevate the value of otherwise average apps.
- Price. Finally, you’ll need to consider price. The best apps will often have a price that matches their quality; it’s up to you to decide whether the extra expense is worth it.
Read about each product as you conduct your research, and pay close attention to reviews and testimonials from past customers. Additionally, most software companies are happy to offer free demos and trials, so you can get some firsthand experience before finalizing your decision. Take them up on the offer.
Finding the Balance
It may seem like purchasing or subscribing to new software products will always improve your business fundamentals, but this isn’t always the case. If you become bogged down with too many apps and services, it’s going to make operations more confusing for your staff, decrease consistency, and drain your budget dry at the same time. Instead, try to keep your systems as simplified and straightforward as possible, while still getting all the services you need.
You won’t find or implement the perfect suite of software products for your business overnight. It’s going to take weeks, if not months of research, free trials, and in-house experiments. Remain patient, and don’t be afraid to cut your losses on products that aren’t working the way you originally intended.
‘Small’ business was once a stigma, but is now a growing point of pride
(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Small businesses make up the majority of companies, employers, and money makers of the American economy, that’s something to be proud of.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, all businesses were small businesses. Independent craftsmen served communities with vital services. Small merchants opened shops to provide the community with goods. Lawyers, doctors, and other professionals hung out a shingle to offer their services to neighbors. Small businesses were the norm. Some of the most beloved American companies started out local. John Deere, Harley Davidson, and King Arthur Flour, all got their start as small businesses.
Business changes led to a attitude change
It wasn’t until manufacturing allowed businesses to scale and produce more efficiently that the idea of big business became more important. Post-World War II, the idea of a small business became derogatory. It was the age of big government. Media was growing. Everyone wanted to be on top. Small businesses took a back seat as people moved from rural to urban communities. Small business growth plateaued for a number of years in the mid-20th century. Fortunately, the stigma of small business is fading.
Small businesses are the backbone of the economy
According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, the “American business is overwhelmingly small business.” In 2016, 99.7% of firms in American had fewer than 500 workers. Firms with 20 workers or less accounted for 89.0% of the 5.6 million employer firms. The SBE also reports that “Small businesses accounted for 61.8% of net new jobs from the first quarter of 1993 until the third quarter of 2016.” Small businesses account for a huge portion of innovation and growth in today’s economy.
Modern consumers support small businesses
According to a Guidant Financial survey, the most common reason for opening a small business is to be your own boss. Small business owners are also dissatisfied with corporate America. Consumers also want to support small businesses. SCORE reports that 91% of Americans patronize a small business at least once a week. Almost half of Americans (47%) frequent small businesses 2 to 4 times a week.
Be proud of small business status
Small businesses are the innovators of tomorrow. Your neighbors want to support small businesses, knowing that their tax dollars stay in the community, and that they’re creating opportunities within their own city. Your small business status isn’t a slight. It’s a source of pride in today’s economy. Celebrate the fact that you’ve stepped out on your own in uncertain times. Celebrate the dirt under your fingernails, literally, or figuratively, that made you take a risk to do what mattered to you.
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Ladies and gentlemen, the U.S. National Anthem
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