If there’s one thing we’ve learned in over 10 years of helping entrepreneurs on Indiegogo, it’s that without question, one of the biggest challenges they face when launching a new product is finding their first supporters. At Indiegogo we’re proud to be empowering a new generation of innovative entrepreneurs that are going direct-to-consumer to reach an early audience of backers.
We’ve shaped our platform to be a launchpad, with a model designed to enable companies around the world to establish direct connections with their earliest supporters and build a community of passionate adopters at the outset as well as to thrive far beyond their first campaign. Our approach is unlike any other – we believe that when entrepreneurs can build a strong foundation, beginning with a great idea that attracts a community of excited backers, the rest will follow. A recent study from the IAB showed that in just a few years, non-store retail growth (or direct-to-consumer engagement) has more than doubled, with many brands choosing to go directly to consumers in order to meet the shifting desires of customers.
Image: Mate e-bikes in production
Just this month, MATE e-bikes came back to Indiegogo for their second campaign, which has raised almost $12 million dollars from more than 23,000 backers in less than two months. When MATE first came to Indiegogo in 2016, they leveraged the Indiegogo platform to connect directly with their target audience: urban commuters who need ultra-portable bikes. Most notable is how Mate bypassed traditional retail channels and went directly to consumers instead. Thanks to this approach, the MATE team has become the largest crowdfunding campaign team on Indiegogo, and they have been able to harness their success to bring their latest new products to their fans. According to the Mate team, “By using Indiegogo, we involve the backers at an early stage and get feedback through close dialogue and creating a community project, which helps us to further develop and improve our bike – a super exciting perspective for both our backers and us. Crowdfunding is also a great way to validate an idea or product, as it gives you the ability to reach a global audience of first movers – it makes the otherwise impossible, possible”.
Image: The Flow Hive honey on tap beehive
The team behind Flow Hive (a revolutionary beehive) used a similar direct-to-consumer approach. Not only did they raise more than $13 million for the original Flow Hive, they connected directly with a passionate community, found a lifelong audience, and built a thriving business. By adopting this direct-to-consumer model, they were able to stay true to their mission and brand, and when the Flow Hive team came back to Indiegogo for Flow Hive 2, they were able to sell hundreds of additional beehives by re-engaging with that same passionate community.
Image: mifold, the Grab-and-Go Booster seat
mifold is yet another story of a great idea that harnessed Indiegogo’s direct-to-consumer approach to grow a business from the bottom up. As a father himself, the creator of mifold came up with a grab-and-go booster seat that could be easily transferred to any car, making carpooling and traveling in taxis safe, easy, and convenient for all parents. mifold was just the beginning. The team was able to get their first 30,000 backers directly on Indiegogo and recently re-engaged with their first supporters for hifold, their second campaign, this time for a highback booster seat. mifold has become a sustainable business, with a large employee base, global distribution deals and now, more than 500,000 mifold boosters seats sold in over 160 countries around the world, and retail sales exceeding $20 million. The mifold team has never stopped innovating to meet consumers needs, and continue to use Indiegogo to bring new products to their devoted community.
China-based companies have also increasingly been using Indiegogo to find their first backers in the U.S. We are now the largest U.S.-based crowdfunding platform being used in China, with 27 Chinese entrepreneurs raising more than $1 million on Indiegogo (and a total of $129 million raised from all campaigns) to break into the U.S. market. Among our Chinese success stories are GPD Pocket 2, a repeat Indiegogo campaigner, who has run four campaigns and raised more than $6 million overall, and bluetooth headphone maker Crazybaby who has raised more than $4 million across three campaigns.
Finally, Indiegogo is also being used by the most innovative and future-looking teams at large, Fortune 500 companies. P&G and Whirlpool have each run two campaigns, and Coca-Cola, Bose, Tyson, and just today, LEGO, have also come to Indiegogo to bypass traditional retail channels and connect directly with a new audience. They can now bring their latest innovations to their biggest fans early in the product cycle, all the while collecting market research and real-time product feedback.
We’re proud of the way the latest generation of innovators are using Indiegogo to engage directly with their earliest supporters. Our innovators do much more than make one amazing product. They build innovative businesses and turn to us to help them seamlessly connect with a community who help bring their incredible ideas to life.