We see a lot of crowdfunding campaigns every week that use embeds of 3D models to show a concept, work in progress or a product sample. We wanted to ask the creators of various campaigns to share how they made their campaigns successful.
Prynt is the next generation of instant camera for iPhone and Android. The Prynt Case fits seamlessly around your smartphone and lets you print physical images taken from social media channels or your phone’s camera reel with a simple click of a button. It also features an augmented reality function which turns your images into video clips when scanned by your phone’s camera, turning them into shareable and fun clips. Prynt doesn’t need batteries since it charges with a USB, and it doesn’t require ink. The team raised more than $1.5 million thanks to the support of more than 9,000 backers for their smash hit Kickstarter campaign. Here’s Clement, their CEO, on how they did it:
David and I started working from Paris in February 2014. We really wanted to bring the experience of instant cameras to the smartphone. We created our first prototype with our designer Robin. It was a really bulky prototype, but the experience was great. People were amazed by the fact we were printing a picture from their smartphone.
We went to Shenzhen, China for three and a half months, from mid-July of 2014 until the end of October. We were iterating really quickly on the design of the product, 3D printing each one to see how people reacted to it.
“Once we got to something we agreed on as a team, I started working on CAD files (3D versions) so we could start building the actual product. This was a fascinating process, moving from the sketches to 3D models, and then using those to build the first physical prototypes. I worked very hard, creating 12 different versions, until we found one that not only felt good in your hands, was good looking, could be mass-produced, and would also encompass the necessary hardware. While we’ve done a lot of work refining that design, it was the basis for the product our backers will receive this fall.” — Robin, Industrial Designer
At the end of October 2014, David and Robin went back to Paris. We were working in an incubator, expending our tech team a little bit more on the electronics side. I arrived in San Francisco in November 2014 to build the marketing team and prepare the Kickstarter campaign. That’s about when we began to discuss with Sketchfab about adding a 3D rendering of our case to our crowdfunding campaign. We saw that Hexo, another French campaign, used Sketchfab to showcase its product. We really wanted to display our case in the best way: showing something that people can interact with, so they can understand that it’s not only a design but much more than that: it’s a fully-functional product that they will love!
We started our campaign at the end of January 2015. We were really amazed by how people reacted: we raised $200,000 the first day. At that time we had very good feedback on the look of the product. People liked that it didn’t look like a printer, but that it actually turned their smartphone into an instant camera. That was our goal.
Our campaign ended at the beginning of March 2015. We raised more than $1.5 million in 45 days. We now are the most successful French project on Kickstarter. I’m looking forward to seeing who’s gonna be the next big one!
Since then, our team has grown a lot. We are now more than 15 people. The tech team is in Paris, and the marketing and operation team is in San Francisco. The tech team will move to San Francisco in September 2015, and that’s going to be another adventure!
The key is really to prepare as much as possible before the campaign. We started working on the campaign more than 3 months before it launched.
But the first step is creating a community. You need to have a big flow of traffic in the very first days to be one of the most popular campaigns, which will drive even more people to your project. To get that spike, you need to already have interest from people, which means you need to have the community ready to back you from day one. We’d built a simple landing page where people could subscribe to our campaign updates. Before launching the campaign, we had close to 60,000 email addresses from interested people. They mostly came from an article we had in TechCrunch in November 2014. To be honest, not every article from TechCrunch drives as much traffic, but for us it was very helpful. It went really viral. Many people are creating their own communities by going to events, pushing their projects on Facebook, and doing direct outreach…It is the hardest but most important part.
The second step is preparing the communication by having the journalists ready. You can work with a PR agency if you want. That could sound expensive, but they do a really good job. They already have the relationships you would need to create if you decided to do it by yourself. We worked with an agency in London. They were contacting journalists, making sure they were ready to publish the day we were starting our campaign and not before, otherwise it would be useless. Communication includes PR, but also all the media you will need to publish during the campaign: your project page, landing page, videos, every update, every Facebook ad, every stretch goal… During the campaign you won’t have time to handle that.
And that’s it, good luck! I’d be happy to answer any questions! I can be reached on Twitter. – Clément, @perrotcl
Thank you Clement! We hope other entrepreneurs hoping to launch crowdfunding campaigns will find it helpful.