April 30, 2013 · Tips & Insights

5 Benefits of Crowdfunding for Hardware Makers



When you think of Indiegogo, you think funding. However, did you know that crowdfunding has numerous additional benefits outside of the money you raise? This is especially true for campaigns where you are allowing people to reserve a physical product, gadget or hardware.

1. Mitigate risk

Hardware is a risky business. The decisions you make during production — from color and style to the number of units produced — will result in a physical reality that you can’t change on a whim. Your Indiegogo campaign can divest that risk by exposing your project to the crowd before production, allowing you to gauge true market size and consumer preferences.

The StickNFind team found their audience through their Indiegogo campaign, demonstrating, with concrete evidence, that at least 12,000 people want their product. Through the campaign, they also know which color options were most popular among their contributors and can make educated assumptions about the ratios of products that they will need to manufacture.


2. Connect with your audience

Your campaign can give you a clearer picture of your market and allow you to reach your audience on a level never before possible. Not only does a contributor receive your product, but they can become part of the creation process. You can use the feedback you receive from the crowd to iterate along the way, and this dynamic relationship connects your contributors to your product in a meaningful way.

The Indiegogo campaigner dashboard provides you the contact information for your contributors, which includes their email and mailing addresses, as well as the referral data from people sharing your campaign. This referral mechanism makes it possible for you to identify the key influencers in your network to help you develop a relationship.

3. Prove demand

An Indiegogo campaign is also an effective way to demonstrate product demand. While a focus group may hint at a demographic’s opinions, a crowdfunding campaign can show potential partners, distributors, and investors that there is a real demand for your product.

There are numerous stories of campaigners (like Satarii Star and Gravity Light) who were approached by venture capitalists after the success of their campaign. They were able to demonstrate that there was a true market for their product, and that people were willing to make a monetary transaction before the good was made.

4. Gain visibility and expand your reach

An Indiegogo campaign also creates a lasting piece of marketing collateral for your business. Your campaign is a media event and can create exposure on a global scale with your pitch picked up by any number of media outlets. Indiegogo’s merit-based approach to promotion gives everyone an equal chance at getting featured. Our gogofactor surfaces the best campaigns for placement on home page, newsletter, blog, and social media by measuring the overall activity in a campaign — as well as your audience’s response.

The Robot Dragonfly campaign tapped into the enthusiasm of their contributors and rewarded people who secured them press placements. By creating an update with some simple rules (more reward for larger press, etc.) they were featured everywhere from TechCrunch to NBC News to the Discovery Channel. Pretty rad press for this joint effort that was developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

5. Funding

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about money. When creating a physical product, you need capital upfront and early in order to manufacture. Through live crowdfunding campaigns, Indiegogo makes it possible for you to access capital, so you can get your dream off the ground faster, ship earlier, and keep your contributors happy.

Indiegogo accepts PayPal and credit cards, making it easy for people to contribute. If you choose Flexible Funding, you receive money throughout the life of your campaign through PayPal, allowing you to have capital sooner. If you choose our Fixed Funding model, you will start receiving money as soon as you hit your goal.

Don’t just take it from me. Courtesy of the Misfit Shine campaign:

Part of the idea behind the lean startup is to prove demand, and build products in a rapid, user-centered design cycle. By reaching out on Indiegogo, we can assess our demand, build a stronger relationship with our early adopters, and use feedback to make our product as amazing as possible.


This Misfit Shine team

Now that you know the additional benefits of starting an Indiegogo campaign, will you be our next success story? I can’t wait to find out.

Are there additional benefits I missed? Sound off in the comments. And make sure to follow me on twitter to stay up to date on all things hardware and Indiegogo!