Crowdfunding. It’s one of those new words & ideas, up there with “Innovation,” “Tweet,” and “Selfie.” Just like how these new words and phrases can be confusing - or even scary - at times, doesn’t mean that they aren’t a good thing.
Lately, it seems as though Crowdfunding has been synonymous with “scams,” or “empty promises,” but I think that, really, it’s just misunderstood - and too frequently, people cannot see through the social buzz to see the amazing opportunity that Crowdfunding provides.
Most people know Crowdfunding by the two major sites: Indiegogo & Kickstarter. These websites enable innovators with new ideas to show the world what they’ve come up with, and publicly raise money from “Backers” whom support their vision. Generally, a Crowdfunding Campaign has a general overview of the product, what it does, the team creating it, and how they’re going to bring it to the masses. Supplementing this info is video, prototype images / demos, timelines, etc. The Campaign then has several tiers of backing of various cost - anywhere from getting the product when the vision is launched, to getting early prototypes, or even becoming a consultant to the company.
Okay - so you know what Crowdfunding is (It’s raising Funds from a Crowd, DUH!), but what does that mean for small business, startups, and Innovators?
That means dreams can become reality - that means we can really create and get to market that hoverboard you’ve always been drawing! But really - Crowdfunding enables small companies and determined individuals to raise money to complete their projects where they otherwise could not. In the past, teams would have to raise money through friends and family, or run the grueling gauntlet of gaining investors, whom take a large chunk of your company away, and can often change the whole way your company and project is run.
In particular, Crowdfunding enables Hardware Startups - not even just helping them, but allowing them to exist at all! Before Crowdfunding, creating a brand new product at a brand new company from scratch would be nearly impossible - it costs a TON of money. Finding a manufacturer, engineering devices, testing, sourcing raw materials, shipping & handling product to and from manufacturer as well as to and from the customer, and more, all on top of the standard needs to develop all the software used with the product & website, as well as sales & marketing. So unless you were a large company with a lot of money to dump onto a new device - it probably wasn’t going to happen.
At TrackR, our Crowdfunding Campaigns have allowed us to tackle all of these departments, and create a brand new product completely from scratch, alongside your input & needs. In fact, TrackR bravo is our THIRD Crowdfunding Campaign - we ran one with TrackR wallet & TrackR sticker, too!
However, even though a hardware startup can get the money and execute, it is STILL necessary to rapidly innovate - and that inevitably can mean delays. There is a delicate balancing act between getting you your new device as quickly as possible, and creating the best possible product that we think you’ll love. As release dates for hardware approach, there become complications of how many units to get out in the first round, as well as other operations. Inevitably, the first round of any new product isn’t perfect - when the iPhone first launched, the battery life would barely last 3 hours!
At TrackR, we want to avoid a major fault in our product - that means taking the time to work on it until it is as perfect as possible. While we initially had a January 7th launch date, we had to push that back a month - but the effect of pushing into February was running into Chinese New Year. Since our manufacturer is in China, this posed a major obstacle - the country shuts down for 2 weeks, and takes a couple weeks thereafter to recover. This brings us to our current deadline - Shipping in March. While we could have shipped a good product on our original deadline, we decided to take a bit of extra time to make you all something TRULY great.
So what does Crowdfunding do? It enables companies like TrackR & our Team to create something that has never been seen or done before - it lets us create something without the oversight of large corporations or money-minded investors.
So when you’re curious why companies take money before having a product to give you in hand, just remember - you’re helping fund the product that got you excited in the first place. While Crowdfunding is indeed very new and challenging to the status quo, it has an amazing opportunity for anyone with a dream or a vision that they want to share with the world.
The best part is - when we DO reach the end of the rainbow, we’ll have your new, shiny TrackR bravo for you!