by Bryan Bergeron, Editor by Bryan Bergeron, Editor
Okay. You’ve invented the perfect mouse control device.
If you’re motivated, have a clear
vision for your product, and have a
good handle on production cost,
then there’s another, relatively
risk-free option: Kickstarter
Basically, it’s an eBay for DIY
funding in which you pitch your
product plan to the world. Anyone
or any company can back your
project. The cost is 5% of the
funding, but only if the project is
fully funded. Unlike a venture
capitalist or silent partner, you get to
keep all of the intellectual property.
I recently backed a Kickstarter
project that transforms a smartphone
Our new analyzer with
all-digital IF technology
redefines the product
vicariously — be part of the action.
Back to your dream. Let’s say
you need that $50,000 to produce
100 mouse control units at $500
each. As on eBay, you set up an
account so that you can get paid.
You’ve got to describe your project
(including a video or at least photos)
and set up categories of backing.
Support isn’t an all-or-nothing
Typically, the first level of
support is a thank you email for a
pledge of $1. At, say, $25, a backer
receives an official project t-shirt. At
$100, you might offer a bare-bones
PCB with full schematic and
At $250, you might offer an
unassembled kit with all the parts.
A pledge of $500 gets you the full
product (shipping extra). A pledge of
$750 gets one of 10 custom units, in
dusty blue, signed by you.
At $1,200, you offer to hand
deliver and install a unit at the
You can use Kickstart to fund
just about any reasonable project.
I’ve seen projects ranging from
$1,500 to use drones to search for
Sasquatch to $120,000 for a speaker
system, to $7,000 for a ghost
detector that plugs into an iPhone.
I’ve seen projects funded at up
to 1,500% over target. For their 5%
cut, Kickstart hosts your product
website and handles the financial
In addition to raising money to
pay for your dreams, Kickstart is a
great test marketing tool. Let’s say
that after 30 days your rodent
control device has only $3 in
pledges. That’s great marketing
feedback for a relatively small
investment in time and effort.
Perhaps you can redesign the
unit so that you can offer it at, say,