Crowdfunding in the Time of COVID-19

We’re at the outset of a long and challenging road ahead, but early signs show that crowdfunding may offer a reprieve in economically uncertain times.

In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s easy to get discouraged. Much of the world is stuck at home, and near-future prospects for the economy are unclear. But if there’s one trait that defines successful entrepreneurs, it’s determination in the face of adversity.

Let there be no doubt — COVID-19 will chart an ugly course over the next several months or even years. But early signs show consumer confidence in unlikely places, and business opportunities are still plentiful during this time of uncertainty. Entrepreneurs who delight consumers with their products will offer hope during this time of crisis — and many may even come out ahead in the end. 

It’s only natural to feel hesitant about launching a crowdfunding campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic. But here are some reasons that crowdfunding can offer an economic sanctuary in challenging times, all while offering comfort and hope to a world reeling from the outbreak.

1. Indiegogo traffic remains steady 

While brick-and-mortar businesses now find themselves in a state of suspended animation, online businesses have fared much better during the global lockdown. Crowdfunding is no exception, and campaigns of all types have found a new source of traffic in consumers stuck at home.

If the last couple of weeks are any indication, the global lockdown may be pushing people to buy products online that help them cope. During the second half of March 2020, Indiegogo traffic overall increased nearly 14% compared to the same time last year, and daily funds raised on Indiegogo were up 24% compared to the second half of March 2019. 

We’re at the outset of a long and challenging road ahead, but early signs show that crowdfunding may offer a welcome reprieve in economically uncertain times.

2. Campaigns are finding success on Indiegogo despite COVID-19

An air conditioner, an e-bike, and a coffee grinder gained top billing on Indiegogo in March 2020, revealing a world stuck at home and raring to get back into the world. Indiegogo’s top-performing campaigns reflect the unprecedented era we’re living through, indicating opportunities to provide relief during the monotony of lockdown.

Here’s a snapshot of March’s top campaigns on Indiegogo:

  • Babymaker offers a “lightweight e-bike at a price point similar to traditional entry-level bicycles.”
    • Launch date: March 17, 2020
    • Total funds raised: $1,617,145
    • Hit the $1M mark within 2 days  
  • Midea is a “revolutionary air conditioning unit that stays nearly silent while running and consumes 35% less energy than conventional A/C units.”
    • Launch date: February 17, 2020 
    • Total funds raised: $1,453,896
  • Niche Zero is “hailed as ‘a game changer in coffee grinding,’ aiming at making barista-quality coffee available within any home kitchen.”
    • Launch date: November 3, 2017
    • Total funds raised: $3,477,217
    • Broke back into the top 5 campaigns in March 2020 with over $1 million raised during that month
  • Pakt makes “one of the market’s most compact and organized travel backpacks, with twenty ground-breaking features like internally organized pockets.”
    • Launch date: March 17, 2020
    • Total funds raised: $378,282 
    • Raised $233K on day one

3. Indiegogo is doing everything possible to monitor and take action against exploitative COVID-related campaigns

We believe entrepreneurs should find only legitimate business opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve stepped up our review process using the Department of Justice’s guidelines toward predatory campaigns that take advantage of people in need.

Accordingly, products claiming to be anti-viral or specifically mentioning the coronavirus are actively being monitored by our Trust and Safety team. Without providing proof of efficacy, the campaigns that we contact and/or fall under this category will be taken down. We have no intention of allowing people to take advantage of the Indiegogo community by using COVID-19 as a selling point. 

Why are we doing this? Because it’s the right thing to do. We want crowdfunding campaigners to rest easy knowing that backers can look to Indiegogo as a trustworthy source of legitimate products, especially now.

4. We’re waiving our platform fees for small businesses

Shelter-in-place orders have devastated local businesses, and we want to do what we can to help. That’s why we’ve launched the Local Business Relief Program, which waives Indiegogo’s platform fees for local businesses in the service industry, like restaurants and theaters. We founded Indiegogo as an open platform to help small businesses raise capital from a loyal community, and it’s no less true today than ever before.

We’ve already seen countless restaurants, music venues, and bars launch Indiegogo campaigns to raise money to stay afloat until mandatory quarantines are lifted. If you have a business directly affected by the lockdown and qualify for our program, rest assured that you’ll get every penny of what you raise on Indiegogo.

You can read more about Indiegogo’s Local Business Relief Program here.

Stay positive, stay motivated!

Most of the world is stuck at home, and in all likelihood that includes you. Mental health experts are urging people to take up projects to stay clear-headed during the global lockdown. This has been an opportunity for people to explore their passions in their otherwise busy lives. 

So while others take up baking or learn French, why not dust off that product plan and launch the product you’ve always dreamed of? What better time than now? Launch a campaign today.

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