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Case Studies

Crowdfunding Case Studies

In this section, we’ll take a look at four successful crowdfunding campaigns. These campaigns all achieved their goals, with innovative, stylish campaigns that sparked the interest of lots of backers.

We’ll take a look at what the project was, how they presented it, what the outcome was and why it worked.

Let’s dive straight in!

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#1 – The Innovative M3D – The First Micro 3D Printer

Campaign Basics

Platform: Kickstarter

Type of Fundraiser: Rewards-based

Initial Goal: $50,000

Amount Raised: $3,401,361 from 11,855 backers

M3D was founded in 2012 with the aim of developing new technologies to make 3D printing affordable for commercial consumers. In 2014, they ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund their Micro 3D printer – which they billed as the world’s first truly accessible 3D printer. It was a truly innovative product that caught the imagination of backers.

What They Did

M3D kicked off their campaign with a well-designed campaign page that clearly set out their progress to date and their game plan for making the Micro 3D printer available over a period of two years. They clearly laid out the risks associated with development – for example, potential risks with injection molding expenses, and potential supply chain and logistics issues. They included plans on how they would overcome these potential risks.

They offered a great series of rewards, ranging from $1 to $10,000 (note the $10,000 amount received no backers). They added regular updates – over 36 – from the beginning of the campaign all the way through to the printer becoming commercially available.

Their campaign page had a series of clear product images, and a fantastic, snappy, video.

Why it Worked

M3D’s campaign is a masterclass in how to produce a winning crowdfunding video. Within the first 20 seconds, you get a clear shot of what they are offering, as well as a compelling narrative. They used a combination of powerful word choices with a clear view of the micro printer in action.

They showed the micro printer being used in surprising ways – for example, a woman using it to create a mold for baking cookies. Then they showed a behind-the-scenes of the team at work designing. The entire campaign was focused on the ease of use of the printer, as well as the desire to make 3D printing egalitarian – reducing costs, making it portable, designing software that makes printing easy. They specifically note how the micro printer is for everyone and is designed so that anyone can use it.

This kind of branding helped to overcome any barriers would-be backers might have to donating – making the printer and team seem accessible. Including shots of a family using the printer was a brilliant way to do this – those who might have written off the printer as for techies, corporate clients or business use only suddenly got an idea how they might use one.

Crowdfunding Top Takeaway

Without a doubt, the angle M3D used in their video was one of the key factors in their success. Yes, their product was exceptionally innovative, but they made sure that their video reached those who would not normally consider backing a micro printer.

The key take away from this campaign is to consider all angles when promoting your product and how you can appeal to broad audiences by uniquely showing your product or service.

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#2 – The Niche US Service

VetPronto – Home Veterinary visits for US residents in the Los Angeles and Bay Area

Campaign Basics

Platform: WeFunder

Type of Fundraiser: Equity Crowdfunding

Initial Goal: Unknown

Amount Raised: Raised $725,436 from 1272 investors on Nov 11, 2016

Vet Pronto was founded in 2014 and was accepted into Y Incubator, a prestigious startup accelerator. The service offers home veterinarian visits to clients. Their USP is the home visits which are more flexible timing-wise than traditional vets practices. From there they began serving Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Between 2015 and 2016 they ran a successful WeFunder campaign and have now expanded into several more cities. Their success has enabled them to scale their business from their initial geographical scope.

What They Did

The WeFunder campaign pages have a format that allows businesses to add clear and concise information about their project in easy to read sections. VetPronto really took advantage of this, with great graphics and visuals, a chance to meet the team and prompt answers to potential investor questions.

Their video was short, simple and quickly explained what their service does, with no gimmicks or unnecessary information.

Why it Worked

The VetPronto crowdfunder worked because they tailored their campaign copy and explainer video incredibly well to their concept. The problem they solve is the hassle and confusing costs of taking your pet to a local vet. In their explainer video, they used animation to simply explain the concept and ensure they mentioned their transparent pricing policy.

They were extremely clear in their timeline about challenges to overcome and how they anticipated scaling the business once the campaign was over. They applied the thinking many companies have done to home healthcare for people to pets – and were able to translate this concept to vet care exceptionally well.

Overall their project was no fuss, clean, simple and very easy to understand why customers would like it and why it would be a great bet to back.

Crowdfunding Top Takeaway

The VetPronto campaign shows that a short and simple video can work wonders for your project. The explainer video comes in at just over a minute, yet easily covers the concept and why it’s a great idea. The entire campaign was explained clearly and relied on being straight to the point, without any frills. This fits with the ethos of the service.

Overall, the key takeaway is creating a campaign and media materials that jive well with the theme and style of your project.

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#3 – The Sustainable

FORMCard

Campaign Basics

Platform: Indiegogo

Type of Fundraiser: Rewards-based

Amount Raised: $260,237, 815% funded

FORMcard is a pocket-sized card of strong meltable bioplastic that can be used to make, fix and modify items around the house and outside. It becomes soft when placed in hot water. You can then mold it to the shape required. When you’ve finished with the item, you can melt it again and form a new item. The concept leans heavily on sustainability and reducing waste from plastic.

What They Did

FORMcard put together a good campaign page which clearly showed the product and explained how to use it. They did use a video which showed how the cards work and various uses they could have for fixing broken items or as a handy tool. They provided updates and responded to comments on their campaign page – but not every comment.

Why it Worked

FORMcard’s campaign worked because it is an innovative product which is useful and clearly explained. The sustainability angle was helpful, especially because the campaign was run at a time when single-use plastic and waste is becoming increasingly noticed as a problem for consumers.

The product is inexpensive and comes in a variety of colors.

Could it have been Better?

In a word, yes. While the campaign achieved its target, it could have improved on presentation and on after-care for backers. The video did explain the product neatly and showed how it was used, but the narration lacked energy, and the sustainability angle was only mentioned over a minute into the video. The sustainability of the product was only touched upon briefly in the campaign copy. Also, there appeared to be issues with logistics once the campaign had ended. The comment section is filled with complaints about late orders or never receiving the product.

Top Crowdfunding Take Away

Although FORMcard were successful in achieving their campaign goal, the campaign itself was good, but not brilliant. They may have got lucky, or the innovative and sustainable nature of their product might have been enough to push them over the finish line. However, they could possibly have achieved even more if they had nailed down their copy and used a video that built far more excitement.

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#4 – The Mindset-Changer

GoldieBlox – The Engineering Toy for Girls

Campaign Basics

Platform: Kickstarter

Type of Fundraiser: Rewards-based

Amount Raised: $285,881 from 5,519 backers

GoldieBlox was created by a female engineer from Stanford. She wanted to inspire young girls to consider engineering via creating engineering themed toys that would appeal to younger girls. Her rationale for this was that only 11% of engineers are women and girls begin to lose interest in science from the age of 8. 

What They Did

GoldieBlox put together a fantastic campaign with clear marketing materials and a fun, interesting set of product images. They stressed the importance of inspiring girls to join engineering throughout the campaign materials. The campaign video used a story-based narrative to encourage people to back the campaign, with the creator sharing her personal journey to becoming an engineer and how she decided to create the product.

 

Why it Worked

The campaign video leaned on inspirational storytelling, with the creator of GoldiBlox sharing her personal journey into engineering and also how the concept for the toy was born. It used great images of children playing with the product. The narrative also pressed on the points of encouraging young girls to explore areas that are considered traditionally male. Rather than ask for money directly, she explained how much she needed to order with manufacturers to get the product made. She then went on to suggest that backers could order the product for girls they knew as a great gift to help encourage them to think about engineering. Although the video leaned on the feminism angle, she didn’t make it too strident.

Top Crowdfunding Takeaway

GoldieBlox is an excellent example of how to use personal storytelling to create interest and engagement with a brand. The owner comes across as sympathetic as well as skilled (she highlights her Stanford education) and invites the audience to connect by sharing her journey. The video is a great balance between showing the product and how it is used, and weaving it with a personal narrative with a strong call to action at the end. 

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