Crowdfund Failures that Led to Success


In a perfect world, every legitimate idea that has a crowdfunding campaign created for it would be funded. Unfortunately this isn’t a perfect world and a majority of campaigns don’t reach their goals. On Kickstarter, this means the total amount of money distributed is exactly $0. Huge successes like Pebble or the Coolest Cooler dominate crowdfunding advice articles and rightly so in some ways, but we cannot ignore the successes that people have on smaller campaigns after a failure either.

Start Over Again

Take the Campfire in a Can campaign. When it first launched in 2014, it raised just $38k of an $84k goal. Leo Knight, who created the product, decided to cancel the campaign 72 hours before it finished. He came back 6 months later with a new campaign, flashier marketing, and new pricing tiers to compliment better descriptive content. Instead of the $48k he hoped to raise, he wound up bringing in $125k instead.

Then there’s the story of the BeActive Brace. An idea that came about in 2003 and was released as a prototype in 2008 had great success relieving back pain. By 2013, Akiva Shmidman was ready to go live on Indiegogo. He wound up raising just $1,170 out of a $50,000 goal.

Shmidman decided to go the traditional route and pitched his product at a show in Philadelphia. One of the judges of the show yelled out “I have back pain!” as Shmidman presented his product. The judge put on the brace, declared instant relief, and this led to a licensing agreement with Top Dog Direct. The BeActive Brace is now found in Walmart, Walgreens, and other top retailers. It became the #1 “As Seen on TV” product. Over 1 million units have been sold – not bad for a $1,170 crowdfunding campaign.

The point of these stories is this: it is easy to make a mistake when crowdfunding for the first time. Those mistakes can cause a campaign to fail. Instead of giving up, take a different approach. Do something different. Often it isn’t the product that is the failure, but the perception of the product that fails. With better marketing, a solid prototype, and content that relates to a targeted demographic, there really is a chance for every idea to taste crowdfunding success.