Kickstarter Wants To Help Crowdfunders Keep Their Promises

Kickstarter Wants To Help Crowdfunders Keep Their Promises

The platform partnered with Dragon Innovation and Avnet to develop a program that will help campaigners get their products developed and delivered on time

Anna Johansson
  • 1 june 2017

An upcoming Kickstarter project wants to help inexperienced product developers to make good on their promises. The purpose of Hardware Studio, projected to launch this September, is to help product creators get their products developed and sent out on time.

You probably see a dozen Kickstarter requests a week from startup companies seeking monetary contributions to help make their product. In return for money pledged, you’re promised a free product or other rewards depending on the contribution level.

Some products don’t seem worth an investment, but others seem useful and inspire your support. So, you donate money, and they say your free product will arrive a couple of months after the close of the campaign.

But the estimated arrival date comes and goes and you receive an email saying that manufacturing has run into some delays—three months, then six months and so on. Sometimes, delays can’t be helped. More often, however, they are the result of poor planning and inexperience on the part of the product makers.

Kickstarter recognized this problem and came up with Hardware Studio’s consulting services to target it. The program involves partnerships with Dragon Innovation, experts in hardware manufacturing, and Avnet, a global technology distributor. Together, they will teach teams how to plan timelines and budgets in order to bring products to the market on time.

The brains behind this innovation have extensive experience working on Kickstarter campaigns, and some have done Kickstarter campaigns for their own products. For example, Scott Miller, the CEO of Dragon Innovation—a key component to the Hardware Studio initiative—was involved in the creation of the Roomba vacuum.

“The whole trick is doing all of this work up front,” Miller told Fast Company in an interview. “Once the campaign launches, it’s an incredibly busy time, and once it closes you have a commitment to doing what you said you’re going to do.”

Julio Terra, the director of design and technology at Kickstarter, is also aiding with the initiative.

“We’re really providing [creators] support before they launch,” Terra said. “So, when they click ‘Start,’ their rewards are properly priced, and they have a really clear understanding of all the steps required to bring projects to fruition and the schedules associated with that.”

The program is composed of two tiers. Users will have access to the Hardware Studio Toolkit, which is made up of webinars, tutorials and other informational resources that will prepare beginner Kickstarters for their campaign. Some of these resources will be made in-house, while others are a product of Dragon, Avnet and Kickstarter veterans’ experience.

The second component is called Hardware Studio Connection. It’s kind of like a service line where campaigners can call in for advice and ideas regarding their budgets, planning and other questions. Those taking advantage of this service can also download an online tool called Product Planner, which guides users on budgeting money and time appropriately. They can call the service line for guidance on using this digital product as well.

Through the curriculum, tools and advisors made available, campaigners can learn how to make tough decisions, identify necessary components for product creation, budget their resources more efficiently, find good manufacturers and more.

While this new service is bound to help a lot of people get their products going, it’s not designed for everyone. Only projects that have gone beyond the conceptual stage will be considered for it. They will also need a decent amount of financial backing before entering the program.

“It needs to be a project that is complex enough electronically,” Terra said. “Beyond complexity, they need to have a certain level of ambition.”

For Hardware Studio to succeed, its resources can’t be wasted on projects that won’t get past the beginning stages. It can do a lot of good, but will only work for the right products.

Hardware Studio could lead to a reputation boost for Kickstarter as well as much better product development for the individual entrepreneurs receiving its invaluable advice for their new startups.

Hardware Studio

Lead Image: Group of people discussing business plans via Shutterstock

An upcoming Kickstarter project wants to help inexperienced product developers to make good on their promises. The purpose of Hardware Studio, projected to launch this September, is to help product creators get their products developed and sent out on time.

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