Notes on a Dublin Kickstarter Campaign

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There is a unique thing about Kickstarter campaigns: the lack of a high-level view.  Rather, you are forced into its centre, walking in it every stubborn step of the way.  It doesn’t have its own beating heart that you can sit and observe. You have to create the heart and push its beating, amidst the uncertainty. When you stop, it stops.

Hi, my name is Luke. I run a startup in Dublin called MyVolts and on May 6th, we started our second Kickstarter campaign. We have until June 5th to raise a total of €25,000.

The Backstory

We had put in much effort in preparation.  We had years of development. We had redesigned our product, renamed it, even changed how we explained it.

‘USB to DC Voltage conversion cable’ did not bring a lot of interest, but ‘Ripcord – The ‘play anywhere’ USB power cable’ – brought a smile to everyone’s face.

We did a Friday night launch. An 8-hour live music event streamed from our offices. Real musicians enjoyed our product as well as our hospitality.

We expected the Social Media output would be prodigious; #Ripcord would rock.

Except it didn’t. Or well it did, but not our #Ripcord.  Keith Urban, a crossover Country & Western star in the US, husband of Nicole Kidman, launched his new album — Ripcord.  It topped the iTunes charts.  It was #1.

When the music stops

Our Kickstarter campaign began reasonably well, with many past customers backing us up. 15 percent of the way through, we had 15 percent of the funding. And then we got stuck.

We have entered the deadly ‘plateau’ of mid-campaign.  It starts two days after launch and ends two days before it’s all over.  In this period, you have to fight for every inch of progress, shout every win from the rooftops.  You have to be the smiling cheerleader while you take the hits out on the field.  You have to rise above the plateau, ignore circumstances, not just think big, but act big.  To have any hope of crossing it, you’ll need to seek out all the attention you can get, despite the overwhelming feeling of failure.

    

Press on

I’m still trying to work out why you would run a crowdfunding campaign.  It’s not about the money.  I think it’s a more robust way of defining an idea, both in the weeks and months, spent in polishing the presentation, as well as through the validation from people along the way. The backers who keep telling you that it’s important that this product is made.  

When I was seven, I played a tree in the school play.  It wasn’t difficult, I put on my well-made tree costume and stood in my designated spot.  Everyone knew I was a tree.  It’s different with ideas.  You have to inhabit them by stepping one leg at a time into a costume that you know nobody will recognise. Until they do. But it may be too late by then.

We’ve made a product that gives simplicity and portability to powering musical equipment. Five billion small devices are produced each year. The power supply market that breathes life into them is worth $10 billion.  Ripcord is a cable, which provides a more sensible alternative to the power supply.  It could reduce the world’s electronic waste by 2-3 percent and save a lot of money.

We still believe we’re the guys with the best idea in the room. We will not give up or give into the plateau.

The knowledge we have and the relentlessness we have accumulated as a startup who has been around, are the beating heart of our campaign.

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