How EzeeCube’s Indiegogo Campaign Becomes a Runaway Success
This interview with Ashok Jaiswal was conducted by Nathaniel Suen and condensed by Wayne Hann-Yuan Chang of EntrepreneurHK.
Ashok shares how EzeeCube’s Indiegogo campaign becomes a runaway success.
Why did you want to raise capital through crowdfunding?
Building hardware requires a lot of upfront investment to do the first production run. As a startup, we didn’t have that kind of capital available to us, so we decided to raise the money from the crowd itself, which would help us verify the product’s market acceptance as well.
Our goal was very high; we were trying to raise 75,000USD. Because our product is very demanding in terms of resources and hardware, it is very expensive to build. If it’s smaller a startup, it would probably only need 5,000 to 15,000USD, which could be raised faster.
What would you advise on how to choose from several crowdfunding platforms?
Right now there are so many crowdfunding platforms. We chose Indiegogo, because it did not require us to incorporate in the USA and it has a global reach to the crowd. Though it is much smaller than Kickstarter, Indiegogo was a better option for us being in Hong Kong. It also helps us to let people know that we are based in Hong Kong.
What are the steps to start a crowdfunding?
Anybody who is planning to go crowdfunding would probably need 5-6 months of preparation. First step is to get the prototype done and shoot a video of the product─What is the need for the product? How does it work? Why do you need crowdfunding money?
Once the video is ready, get opinion from people by showing the video─Does it appeal to you? Will you back the product? Will you contribute to the funding? Once that is done, prepare your complete campaign─get the graphics, text and materials right, and think about the points you’re going to offer your backers.
Once that is done, you need to do some level of personal relationship─which is PR─to different bloggers. The reason for doing this is that just having your product in the campaign does not bring the traffic; you have to build the traffic to the campaign.
Finally, choose a specific date─avoid holidays; pick a mid-of-a-week day; look at the launch time based on the market you are going for, be it Asian market or global market.
Just now you taught us the steps to start a crowdfunding. Are those the most difficult steps, or they are not the most difficult steps?
Once you managed to get people back your product, keeping them engaged into the campaign, motivating them to keep contributing, making them to share with their family and friends, answering their questions and continuing to build the trust are probably the most difficult part after all that else has been done.
What are the transformations EzeeCube has undergone to become fundable?
We made lots of changes. We have to constantly update our campaign based on people’s feedback. It helps to stay on top on the rankings in the campaign trends. It also helps build the confidence with the backers, and shows your respect to them that you are listening to them.
Also, we have to make our introduction of product easily understood by the public, so that they can back it with one click. To get people who never met you to trust you and back your product on a crowdfunding platform, you have to build that trust by making the process easy for them to back the product and contribute.
How do you work out a compelling description and an awesome video?
There are various ways to do that. Many crowdfunding startup campaigns─especially the bigger ones─actually hire professionals to make the videos, which could cost anywhere between 5,000USD to 15,000USD.
For us, we made the video ourselves, which cost less than 1,000USD.
As a startup, you have to be nimble. If you don’t have funding─and even if you do─I don’t think it’s worth to just go out and spend without thinking where the money is going.
Did you generate traffic on the campaign by using social media?
Social media promotion is a must. That’s something which would give you the platform to start with, but I’m not sure if social media alone can get you fully-funded depending on your campaign goal.
Social media helps to create the buzz around the product, and it did bring initial traffic to us, but social media can wear out after a while.
If it’s your only connection, and there are only so many people you know, you then have to tell your backers to put it on their social media in order to make it go viral. That’s how you harness the energy of social media to your campaign, but still that doesn’t undermine the need to have good PR.