Crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular method to raise finance, last week Dutch startup Famatic launched their crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. We had an interview with co-founder Thijs Suijten to talk about Famatic and their crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
Famatic is an innovative photo frame (based on Android) that connects to Famatic’s Cloud. It allows family members to manage the photo frame from the Famatic website, invite other family members or connect social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram. The idea for Famatic was born when Thijs was looking for an easy way to share photos and videos of his daughters with “their” grandparents (who are not active on social media). With their crowdfunding campaign, Famatic is looking to raise $75.000 to start production and introduce Famatic in living rooms all over the world.
When did you decide crowdfunding was the way to go for this project?
We were thinking about the different options on how we could raise funding to start with the production of Famatic. The major advantage of crowdfunding above other ways of funding is that you not only raise money, but immediately get your early adopters involved in the project, which is even more valuable. Next to this, crowdfunding forces us to stay very customer-focused, as we need to keep thinking about how to make our users awesome and create a really compelling product and a message that supports it. It’s always important to think about these things in any startup; rather sooner than later.
Why did you guys go for Kickstarter instead of one of the other platforms out there?
We made a comparison between several Dutch and international crowdfunding platforms. There are several niche-oriented platforms, and for international, product-focused projects like Famatic, founders generally choose between Indiegogo and Kickstarter. With Kickstarter being the largest crowd funding platform in the world, you can access a large community, gain credibility and build brand awareness. An important downside is that it’s more difficult to really stand out with your project, since there are so many of them out there. Going for an international crowd funding platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo also means you have to look at all aspects like marketing, certification, shipment and fulfillment from an international perspective. It’s hard to predict where your project will have the best chances of succeeding, but our choice for Kickstarter was based on their track record and our gut feeling.
Is it easy for a Dutch project to start a project on Kickstarter in the US?
Since the launch of Kickstarter in the Netherlands on April 29th, Dutch founders can start a project on Kickstarter. Before, it was much harder for founders to start a project, because one of your team members needed to be a US citizen.
The main difference between Dutch and US Kickstarter projects is that they raise money in euros instead of dollars; on the listing itself there is no difference between the two. Kickstarter only accepts payments with a credit card (yes also for the Dutch Kickstarter; no iDeal yet). This raises the bar for your Dutch friends to back your project, so if your main focus is the Dutch market it’s better to use a crowdfunding platform that supports iDeal.
Prior to launching the crowdfunding campaign for Famatic; what needed to been done?
Launching a Kickstarter campaign is not something you do overnight, it takes a lot of hard work and preparation. Each project is different, but for a product-based Kickstarter project you need to have at least a working prototype and outlined production plan. Additionally you need to carefully craft your project page — most people don’t read, so make sure you tell your story with headlines and pictures –, create a compelling video and a marketing strategy. We’ve been preparing the campaign for over 6 months and needed many attempts to get a clear message out there. We really care about our mission; connecting generations, and want to help others connect their grandparents to their digital life. So together with our community we’re trying to get the word out that technology can really bridge this generational gap.
Starting a Kickstarter project is like building a website. It takes more than just building an awesome website to get on the first page of Google and get loads of people visiting the website. With any Kickstarter campaign, it is important to make people find your project.
How did you make people find the Famatic project?
We created a landing page before the campaign went live to get people sign up for our launch e-mail list. We also managed to get some big Dutch media outlets to release an article on our launch day and build a followers community on social media. To get the word out in the US we found partner who is helping us to get media attention and manage the campaign; it’s really important to consistently be “out there” and spread your message. In hindsight, we should have put more effort into our pre-launch e-mail list and landing page; we’ve seen others projects have flying starts with their pre-launch list.
Our campaign launched a little over a weeks ago and so far have managed to raise $23.000 of our $75.000 goal. We were off to a good start but we’re not there yet! Our main challenge is to get media attention to spread our word and let people back our project.
How can we help?
If you want your parents to stop nagging you about the most recent pictures of your kids, too: there are still a few Famatics available with Early Bird discount, so make sure you get one now before it’s too late.
Image credits: JanWillemsen