There are crowdfunding platforms for all variety of causes.
Musicians, educational projects, non-profits, faith-based organizations, arts, medical expenses, political causes, film productions and plenty more areas of interest each have their own crowdfunding platforms.
And yet each of these incorporates one major problem or another.
There is massive proliferation of crowdfunding sites.
There over 450 crowdfunding platforms worldwide
More than 160,000 crowdfunding campaigns are launched annually
Over half of those campaigns fail
The failure rate is due to a confluence of realities. Among them: bad ideas, bad implementation, bad campaigns.
But some of the failures are directly attributable to the structural faults in the existing crowdfunding mega-sites. Those faults are to a large measure a result of the velocity with which the sector is expanding.
We can think back to the earlier years of the World Wide Web and the plethora of then-revolutionary but now-forgotten programs and applications, like Altavista, WordPerfect and Friendster. The massive successes of today emerged from the ferment of a maturing internet culture.
A similar transformation could be upon us, with the biggest names in crowdfunding today may be destined for an ignominious obscurity in a decade or so.
In some respects, one crowdfunding mega-site is much like the other, yet each has its unique, often arbitrary and usually arcane rules, regulations, limitations and characteristics. Finding the site that is appropriate for a particular campaign can involve a daunting learning curve – even before the demands of the campaign itself begin.
The universe of crowdfunding sites is increasingly crowded and confusing. There are equity and non-equity, debt and reward-based crowdfunding sites targeted to pretty much everything an entrepreneur can imagine.
Yet each of the crowdfunding mega-sites has its own particular, often daunting and usually arbitrary rules and disadvantages.
What they all share in common is a take-it-or-leave-it, one-size-fits-all approach. This is just weird for a market segment that is aimed squarely at the most innovative, entrepreneurial people on earth. It is not a good fit at all.
Innovators are going to demand flexibility. As long as all crowdfunding platforms offer similar cookie-cutter options, consumers will take what they can get. But when someone builds a better mousetrap, the world will abandon the crowdfunding mega-sites that now control this huge and growing sector.
A common rule in crowdfunding is to put a time limit on campaigns — usually a few weeks.
There is no logic to this rule except for the sense of urgency it allegedly stimulates. Yet this is a primary reason why the majority of campaigns fail.
Almost all crowdfunding campaigns are launched by people with no prior experience, so the process involves, by definition, a steep learning curve.
Time-limited crowdfunding platforms undermine their very purpose by cutting off campaigns at precisely the time when initiators are gaining their footing, learning the basics of user-acquisition, conventional and social media relations, customer service, retention and vertical cultivation. Time-limiting rules are among the crowdfunding mega-sites’ most detrimental features.
What is so infuriating is that they are simply arbitrary. It’s as though an all-powerful gym teacher is standing with a stop-watch telling grown entrepreneurs when they can go and when they have to stop. It’s degrading, self-defeating and entirely unnecessary.
Time limits are one of the major reasons why well more than half of all crowdfunding campaigns end in failure. Yet crowdfunding mega-sites insist time limits are necessary and good.
How long are consumers (that is, campaigns) going to put up with being told how to run their affairs?
Until something better comes along and no longer.
Continue reading our series on the crowdfunding crisis to find out more about the future of this massive phenomenon.
Most of the major crowdfunding sites have an “all or nothing” policy.
Either you raise the entire goal amount in the limited time period or the campaign receives nothing. Crowdfunding campaigns that allow you to keep the funds despite an unmet funding goal charge higher commission rates (some as high as 9%).
The only logic to this arbitrary rule is the sense of urgency and threat of loss. Yet, with well more than half of all crowdfunding campaigns failing, it’s clear that urgency and threats aren’t working.
Aside from the obvious arbitrariness of this rule, it ignores the reality faced by entrepreneurs, start-ups and non-profits.
Savvy fundraisers these days do not seek only one funding source. Lack of success on a crowdfunding platform does not mean failure in the long-term, as many start-ups will be concurrently pursuing angel, equity, debt and other revenue opportunities.
The idea that the failure of a crowdfunding campaign dooms the larger project to obscurity is plain dumb. Campaigns that fail at crowdfunding may succeed elsewhere – by getting equity, debt or angel funding, or by succeeding on a different crowdfunding platform. A campaign that meets, say, half its crowdfunding goal but succeeds through other funding routes is still a success. But not if the crowdfunding site withholds the money the campaign raised.
All or nothing is a major problem. It is art of a looming crisis in crowdfunding.
There are plenty of reasons for this. Some initiators do not do the legwork to succeed.
Yet there are systemic reasons for this insanely high failure rate.
But get this: Not only do the crowdfunding mega-sites make it hard to succeed, many of them even maintain a sort of showcase of failure, a display or disappointments. For thousands of unsuccessful campaigns, the evidence of their failed campaigns remains on the crowdfunding site, publicly available for anyone to see in perpetuity.
Despite the fact that a project may have succeeded in raising funds on another crowdfunding platform, or through debt, equity or angel funding and moved on to wild success, it will still be immortalized as a failure on many of the crowdfunding mega-sites.
Nobody needs to remind the world of our past failures. Yet many of today’s crowdfunding sites seem determined to rub our faces in past disappointments.
Crowdfunding is still a newish concept. The time is coming when users will start demanding real customer service, better conditions and crowdfunding platforms that have the best interests of the campaigns in mind.
Keep watching this space for more about the problems with contemporary crowdfunding (and a revolutionary solution)!
So many crowdfunding mega-sites have a narrow-interest focus that you can find a platform for almost any project you can imagine from a short documentary film to breast augmentation.
Yet even if you wade through the hundreds of crowdfunding platforms to find the one that suits your project, there is no guarantee they are going to let you join.
On many, if not most, crowdfunding platforms, projects require approval from the site before listing. The acceptance process differs for every site, but what they all share in common is a lack of transparency and openness – both in terms of how decisions are made and what sort of projects are welcome. This draconian policy subverts the basic philosophy of crowdfunding, which was invented to realize open, accessible, less restrictive funding for start-up ventures.
Trying to launch a crowdfunding campaign these days takes a lot of research. You first need to find the one that suits you … then it turns into a kind of random crapshoot to find out whether the site will accept your project. It’s like standing outside an exclusive nightclub hoping to get picked by a judgey doorman.
This is not consumer-friendly. This is not customer service.
People are not going to put up with this sort of nonsense. Onerous acceptance barriers are among the major faults in the contemporary crowdfunding landscape.
There are solutions in the works, though, to make crowdfunding what it was meant to be: open, accessible, flexible and user-friendly. Watch this space.
If crowdfunding platforms were serious about helping campaigns succeed, you’d think they would provide the tools for success.
More than half of all crowdfunding campaigns fail. So something is seriously wrong in the system.
One of the big challenges is the one-size-fits-all approach of the crowdfunding mega-sites.
Don’t like the limited options a crowdfunding site offers? Too bad?
Want to brand your crowdfunding campaign to match your online and offline presence? Sorry.
Need more than one way to raise funds? Forget it.
Want to combine crowdfunding with ecommerce? Don’t be crazy.
Crowdfunding as we know has its challenges. It can be cumbersome, user-unfriendly, weighted against the little guy and built for failure.
Serious entrepreneurs, start-ups and non-profits need flexibility, brandability and choices.
Crowdfunding mega-sites, where almost all crowdfunding currently takes place, have so little flexibility that campaigns are straight-jacketed. Solutions for serious businesses and non-profits need to reflect the changing and diverse needs of the causes they are supposed to be serving. But the mega-sites haven’t got the memo.
History shows that consumers demand flexibility. When a better choice comes along – for crowdfunding or anything else – they will jump as it.
So, as huge as crowdfunding has become in so short a time, the future holds a lot of change. In a few years, the kinds of crowdfunding sites we know now are going to be dinosaurs. What will replace them?
Birds fly south for the winter. So do people in some cases. But crowdfunding, as we now know it, tends not to encourage migration.
Here’s what we mean: Successful crowdfunding campaigns build networks, usually by engaging the family and friends of initiators, followed by concentric circles outward as word spreads.
When the campaign succeeds, the community that has been built around it tends to disappear.
BidOkee is building a (do-it-yourself) DIY crowdfunding platform that will allow anyone to create their own crowdfunding site, with features and components that exceed anything existing crowdfunding sites offer, including e-commerce and gamified capabilities and other revenue-generation steams.
Central to our vision is independence and freedom. We are liberating crowdfunding – and that means the campaigns have control over the communities they create. Think of it as a cooperative model.
When a campaign completes successfully (or even if it doesn’t) those networks can be encouraged to migrate to another campaign initiated by the same owners, or to stretch goals for the original campaign or … well, anywhere the initiators want their networks to migrate.
In crowdfunding, there is nothing more important than the crowd. When BidOkee launches, crowdfunders will finally be in control of the communities they have built.
That’s freedom. And it is a new way of doing crowdfunding.
BidOkee’s gamified DIY crowdfunding platform is launching a revolution.
Crowdfunding is still remarkably new and it is changing radically day by day. A lot of crowdfunding campaigns are learning on the job, finding out what works (and, too often, what doesn’t) by trial and error.
It would be ideal if successful campaigns could give a leg up to newbies. And it would be especially valuable if campaigns could support each other through cross-pollination.
BidOkee is making that possible.
We are building a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform that will let anyone build their own crowdfunding site with features and components that exceed anything in the industry today – including multiple revenue streams.
Among the ways BidOkee will help is letting campaigns work together to build cross pollination of their products. For example, because BidOkee incorporates a loyalty rewards system that lets backers earn points to use in contests and live online auctions, there are diverse opportunities to feature products that have been previously successfully crowdfunded. Therefore, a new up-and-coming campaign will offer loyalty rewards points to its backers who will then bid on auctions populated with products from other start-up campaigns. Rather than the auctions offering only familiar consumer products, the goal is to have thousands of backers from thousands of campaigns spending loyalty points purchasing innovative products from start-up campaigns on the BidOkee auction platform. This provides enormous exposure and sales for the new start-ups.
This kind of mutual support is just one of the ways BidOkee is revolutionizing crowdfunding.
Our do-it-yourself gamified crowdfunding platform is going to change the way the world crowdfunds.
The idea of crowdfunding has been around since early human community and collaboration, but the mainstream uses are in constant motion. ArtistShare, said to be the world’s first crowdfunding platform emerged in 2003 as a way for creative artists to publicly fund projects; Indiegogo launched in 2008 during the Sundance Film Festival with a focus on independent films and ‘democratizing fundraising’; Kickstarter joined the scene in 2009 as the go-to place for indie hardware innovations.
What were formerly geared towards artists and modest ‘indie’ inventors, crowdfunding platforms now host major hardware launches where bullet-proof campaigns — backed by millions of investor dollars — are executed with scientific precision. Has the original idea of crowdfunding to gain independence, project control, and to circumvent traditional investment channels been lost somewhere along the way? Does crowdfunding need to be synonymous with Kickstarter’s cookie-cutter formatting and flow?
Like any song, micro-banged hairstyle, or business process that goes mainstream, the original ‘magic’ or use-case can become lost. However, this loss often coincides with the emergence of ‘the next generation’ — a reinvention that propels that song, hairstyle, or business process forward. This reinvention is brought about by thought-leaders or ‘rebels’ in a particular space — those who make the former way of doing things look as dated as 80’s hair bands.
In 2012, Lockitron became that rebel, and offered a window into what ‘next generation crowdfunding’ is shaping up to look like.
Lockitron: Crowdfunding Rebel
It was September 2012. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift was number one on the radio, Kickstarter had just published their ‘We’re Not a Store’ blog, and Lockitron’s debut keyless entry lock was rejected by the number one crowdfunding platform in the world. Lockitron’s co-founder, Cameron Robertson reminisces, “We got caught up in the new ‘not a store’ requirements…And when we talked to people at the time, they were like ‘you can’t get on Kickstarter? That sucks. You’re screwed.’”
Instead of anchoring themselves to the very-sinkable ‘we’re screwed’ ship, co-founders Cameron Robertson and Paul Gerhardt got to work. Within a few days they had built their own crowdfunding web app, and opted to run their own pre-order campaign — a bold first in the heat of Kickstarter’s hardware market dominance.
“You Don’t Need to Be on Kickstarter to Kickstart Anything Anymore”
After their campaign, team Lockitron affirmed themselves as the ‘Robin Hood’ of crowdfunding by releasing Selfstarter, their crowdfunding API, to the public. Selfstarter, is an “open source starting point for building your own ad-hoc crowdfunding site”, and although its framework is basic, the code has been copied over 1500 times by developers.
It was a done-deal. By 2012, Lockitron and Selfstarter had begun paving the DIY crowdfunding path.
Today, Robertsons explains, “You don’t need to be on Kickstarter to kickstart anything anymore. Hundreds of products have done this in the last two years.”
To illustrate, highly anticipated hardware innovations like Coin, Tile, August, Plastc, Navdy, and Vessyl each wrapped-up million-dollar crowdfunds independently. Interestingly, innovations perfectly aligned with Kickstarter’s hardware hold, are strategically opting out and choosing to run pre-orders on their own websites.
Speaking toward the independent crowdfunding shift, of the 25 innovations highlighted in world-class hardware incubator, Highway1’s portfolio, one third have chosen to run crowdfunding campaigns on their own sites.
Why Crowdfund on Your Own Website
1. Create Your Brand Identity
If the product you’re launching isn’t a one-off, it’s important to establish your brand, and build out an all-compassing company identity. For entrepreneurs that aim to build product collections, or have previously launched products, it doesn’t make sense to fall under the ‘Kickstarter’ or XYZ brand umbrella.
Notably, the templated format of Kickstarter makes all innovation look like ‘Kickstarter’. Essentially, your product is being plugged into the colours, layout, and design of another highly-recognizable brand. Adam Lee, co-founder of Bohemian Guitars, suggests “At the end of the day, all Kickstarter campaigns look the same. You can’t make the page your own or reflect the brand you’re trying to build with that product.”
We recently spoke with The Coolest Cooler team, who holds the top spot for their $13M crowdfunding campaign. When asked about what The Coolest was working to solve today, they replied with a question about branding: “How do we want to set up this company to really represent the heart and soul of Coolest?”
2. Keep Your Traffic
Instead of driving traffic to the platform, crowdfunding on your own website means keeping it all to yourself (insert evil laugh). This will prove quite fruitful when SEO sets in, and you can reap the rewards of an awesome pagerank, a more established website, and a higher rank on Google.
Adam Lee admits, “When someone searches Bohemian Guitars, the Kickstarter link is one of the first hits. Nearly two years later, I’d rather that wasn’t the case.” Bohemian guitars isn’t alone with this one. For several months (even years), company websites rank after their 30–45 day Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign pages on Google. You can see this firsthand when googling Bohemian Guitars, The Coolest, Exploding Kittens, and dozens of other top campaigns.
3. Fewer Fees
When all fees are accounted for, Kickstarter and Indiegogo charge between 8–10% and 7–10% respectively of total backer funding.
Comparatively, Celery’s platform which manages both pre-orders and DIY crowdfunding, charges 2%, plus the transaction fee. When paired with Stripe, this equates to total fees of 4.9% +.30 per transaction (2% Celery +2.9% Stripe +.30).
For instance, with Lockitron’s $2.27M crowdfund in 2012, they would have had to pay Kickstarter and their payment processor anywhere between $181K-$227K in total fees. In opposition, crowdfunding through Celery’s platform paired with Stripe, would have meant a max ending total of $115K, with end-to-end order management.
4. Optimize Flow
With a customized crowdfund on your own website, you’re entirely responsible for the look and feel of your backer’s checkout experience. If something, anything’s, not entirely optimized for your buyers, you can adjust it to improve the flow. You also have full access to any of your metrics and data. This allows you to really own your company analytics right from the get-go.
Will You Crowdfund Differently?
As Robertson of Lockitron argues, “The amount that Kickstarter helps you in terms of traffic and additional sales is nowhere near the cut that they take.” For the Lockitron team and entrepreneurs like them, going it alone may present additional challenges, but the short and long-term payoffs are huge.
Recently, Lockitron began crowdfunding pre-orders on their latest keyless entry lock, Bolt. They’ve poetically referred to the Bolt as the “Next Generation” connected lock; a title that not only brings this article around full-circle, but perfectly underscores Lockitron’s larger brand identity as the forward-thinking, crowdfunding rebels of today.
In today’s world, especially because of Millennials who are behind many of the one million start-ups each year, customer and user empowerment is shaping entire industries. The technology revolution is about empowering the individual to take control of their environment.
Mobile technology provides instantaneous freedom that empowers the individual – such as our smartphones and tablets, which are replacing desktops and laptops and which may one day themselves be replaced by wearable gadgets.
The advent of social media has transformed media altogether, providing an immediate outlet to millions of people to create success stories overnight or, on the other hand, ravaging people and companies just as quickly. The power of instantaneous communities is shaping politics and creating revolutions.
And this has created a do-it-yourself (DIY) culture that is expected and demanded by a generation that is liberated by technology. DIY is now mainstream and has turned the table on big corporations. Rather than being spoon-fed by advertisers telling us what we should think, this generation of savvy technology users is telling corporations what they want and expect. Corporations are getting their marching orders from the masses via social media and app connectivity. The DIY culture expects equity, fair play, transparency and control over their circumstances. They want to know that information collected on them will benefit them, not just the company. They want to know that the social currency they provide a company will benefit them too.
Part of the DIY culture is the sharing of things, especially as the world becomes smaller via social media. As a result, a collaborative environment – or cooperative model – is emerging on the internet where people are empowered individually and as a result are sharing collectively. The more empowered people feel, the more they wish to share and help others.
And as the DIY culture continues to emerge, individuals are looking for more customization that will meet their personal goals, yet still allow them to participate collectively. That means they want to be self-empowered, with the ability to control (and monetize) their own information or to use it to benefit others.
There is a collision imminent between these expectations and the way crowdfunding is operating today.
It may seem obvious, but your crowdfunding site and the community you build on it should stay in your hands.
And yet, in almost every case, the crowdfunding mega-sites maintain ownership over your site and the information about the people who come to it. This goes against the emerging DIY collective culture that is driving people to build their own websites, fix things around the house with help from the local building centre and the overall do-it-yourself attitude.
BidOkee has a different way of doing things.
BidOkee is building a gamified DIY crowdfunding platform that will allow anyone to build — and own — their own crowdfunding site.
The content is yours. The web address is yours. The branding is yours. It’s all yours.
It’s a wonder nobody thought of it before.
When you own your own crowdfunding site, you can mobilize your network for stretch goals or subsequent campaigns. When you have successfully reached your goals, you can mobilize your networks again in support of other campaigns you love. Owning your own crowdfunding campaign site just makes sense.
When your crowdfunding campaign succeeds, it will be because of the network of concentric circles you built around your friends and family, stretching out to people who may not know you but who are inspired by your idea.
When your campaign ends, your community doesn’t have to.
At the beginning of crowdfunding, when there were far fewer campaigns, there was a possibility of being “discovered.” Even then, having existing social capital – networks that can be mobilized through online sharing – was crucial to success. Now it is one of the only avenues through which campaigns can succeed (unless it is one of the rare campaigns to receive national media attention). As “discoverability” has ceased to be something the mega-sites can offer, their only value now is as a medium, as a platform, even with all their associated faults.
Today, social networks are considered tangible valuable assets, and these assets are denied by mega-sites to the majority of crowdfunding campaigns.
The BidOkee DIY model leaves this network asset information in the hands of proponents, allowing successive rounds of fundraising, stretch goals and on-going revenue. This model permits and encourages the nurturing of the crowd – the networks built and sustained by the campaign initiators – as an on-going asset and community. This is the least that should be expected in a customer service-driven culture. Yet it is fundamental to the crowdfunding mega-sites that this crucial data be withheld from the campaigns and exploited by the mega-sites. This is not sustainable and proponents will soon be demanding fairness on this front.
BidOkee’s DIY model is tailored to precisely address this pain point and help campaigns build concentric circles of community networks. Our model is social@thecore, tangibly rewarding backers for sharing with their networks through a four-generation referral system and building communities that can later be mobilized for campaigns initiated by backers themselves. It is a sort of open-source crowdfunding with a pay-it-forward mentality of crowdfunders helping other crowdfunders.
The pay-it-forward philosophy of BidOkee is about a collective community assisting each other with resources to advance each campaign so that the over 60% of failed campaigns within the industry can become a majority of successful campaigns.
We all know that the crowdfunding industry is growing, with over a million projects launched annually. And now the big consumer and retail companies are getting in the game. Therefore, it is becoming more remote for a grassroots crowdfunding campaign to succeed – unless a new model of cooperation is created that allows successful campaigns to help new campaigns launch.
We know that getting a crowdfunding campaign off the ground can be hard work. Nobody knows that better than people who have successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign. So, when your campaign ends, BidOkee lets you pay it forward by mobilizing your network of supporters to move to another campaign you love.
It could be your campaign. It could be a friend’s campaign. It could just be a campaign for a product you think is cool. It’s totally up to you.
That’s revolutionary. On crowdfunding mega-sites, when you’re campaign ends, your network of supporters disappears. Not on BidOkee.
BidOkee is a building cooperative model of crowdfunding. We are building a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform that lets anyone build and run a successful crowdfunding campaign with built in mechanisms for successful sharing, collaboration and cooperative use of resources. And that is why BidOkee is set up to hare over $100 million in revenue with our crowdfunding clients annually.
Our cooperative model lets you share your success with others by paying it forward.
BidOkee is crowdfunding for crowdfunding. We have built the platform and are now raising capital to turn this revolutionary tool into a do-it-yourself crowdfunding site that lets anyone build and launch a successful crowdfunding campaign.
The future of crowdfunding will be powered by a cooperative DIY SaaS system model that resolves numerous pain points in the crowdfunding industry.
BidOkee provides the freedom to develop stand-alone, branded, customizable DIY crowdfunding sites that integrate seamlessly with ecommerce and etail platforms, and incorporate loyalty programs, gamified features and a revenue sharing model.
Vancouver-based Quilageo Inc. has launched a prototype version of the world’s first gamified crowdfunding platform called BidOkee.
Scott Steinberg, author of The Crowdfunding Bible, featured BidOkee on NewsWatch TV. As Scott declares, “this could change crowdfunding as we know it.”
“There is massive proliferation of crowdfunding sites,” says Eyal Lichtmann, CEO of Quilageo. “There are over 450 crowdfunding platforms worldwide and hundreds of thousands of campaigns launched annually.”
Crowdfunding is growing massively, 1,000% in the last five years. Of this growth, donation-based crowdfunding comprises the majority of giving, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 444% compared to equity crowdfunding, which is growing at a rate of 168 percent. By 2020, crowdfunding is expected to reach $500 billion in funding per year generating $3.2 trillion in economic value.
“However, a majority of crowdfunding campaigns fail,” says Lichtmann. “An astonishing 81% of unsuccessful projects fail to reach 20% of their funding goal. And nearly 60% of all crowdfunding projects are unsuccessful. There is a systemic problem in crowdfunding if a majority of campaigns are continuously failing. Therefore, there is a need for a new model in crowdfunding – one that provides a greater chance of success and changes the paradigm to a more cooperative model.”
BidOkee’s objective is to crowdfund for crowdfunding. They are raising funds through their prototype site to build an easy-to-use, do-it-yourself, “DIY” crowdfunding SaaS model platform with additional features and none of the limitations, barriers or commissions that define existing crowdfunding mega-sites. It’s the user’s brand, their site, their design, their campaign, and their network. The features don’t just stop there.
“The platform we are in the process of building includes gamification, which drives loyalty and engagement” says Lichtmann. “Campaign backers can enter contests and bid on real, valuable products in live online auctions.”
BidOkee intends to provide opportunities for campaigns to promote and sell their products in the auctions, in contests or through direct purchase opportunities where thousands of backers from thousands of campaigns will utilize their loyalty points to further the success of start-up ventures.
BidOkee will also be providing start-up campaigns access to shared revenue beyond donations. The model looks to share revenue generated from general product sales, advertising, sponsorships, virtual revenue and market lead revenue streams. This will equate to millions of dollar’s worth of shared revenue with campaigners annually and can grow significantly, contingent on the number of active campaigns and users of the site.To ensure a greater chance of success, BidOkee looks to provide a pay-it-forward philosophy so campaigners can assist each other with the ability to share best practices and cross-pollinate users between campaigns.
As Darryl Burma, CEO of Crowdmapped.com says, “BidOkee will definitely disrupt the industry. It is doing something we have not seen before and is a game-changer.”
“The more we share our story, the more excited people get” says Lichtmann. “All we need now is for the start-up community to support our ideas so that we can finalize building the BidOkee DIY crowdfunding platform for their use.”
We are building a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform to let anyone create their own, stand-alone, customized crowdfunding site.
And we’re building in gamification, e-commerce and multiple revenue streams beyond direct pledges to share with each campaign. Our goal is to be sharing $100 million annually with our campaigners. It is sort of like a cooperative model.
One of the ways we are fomenting revolution is through the building of network value and social currency.
In traditional crowdfunding, backers are only as good as their wallets. BidOkee wants to open crowdfunding up to everyone. To do this, we have created a “give or get” DIY crowdfunding model. Backers can pledge their own money or get friends to do so.
If backers have thousands of followers on Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, Twitter or YouTube, they are influencers and provide a network value – and should be rewarded for it.
In today’s world, a user’s network is a valuable asset. But is rarely treated as such by crowdfunding platforms. Traditional crowdfunding campaigns do not reward users for their influence or network value.
BidOkee builds social currency through rewards and social functionality components that benefit and reward each user, which in turn benefits each DIY campaign. As BidOkee’s social currency increases, so does the status and influence of its users (similar to why people do not delete their Facebook accounts). This will provide significance to what users place on their BidOkee accounts and allow for high retention, acquisition and redemption rates on the BidOkee platform.
BidOkee is ready to make big waves in the DIY crowdfunding ocean.
It’s been a wild ride so far. Here is the story of how we got here.
When we went looking for a crowdfunding platform for our revolutionary project, we were brutally disappointed. We ran into one brick wall after another trying to find the right combination of tools without too many restrictive rules.
In the end, to find exactly what we needed, we had to build it ourselves. In the process, we had an epiphany. If we had to build our own crowdfunding platform in order to get what we need, there must be plenty of others in the same boat.
The vast majority of crowdfunding campaigns fail to reach their goals. We believe part of the problem is systemic. Any craftsperson knows that to get the right results you need the right tools.
As we progressed through the sometimes-daunting process of building the crowdfunding platform to meet our specific needs, we slowly came to understand that what we were building had unlimited potential.
To make a long story short, we are now building a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform so that no one will ever have to go through the challenges we have overcome.
The beta version of our platform is now live at www.BidOkee.com. You can try it out, see how it works and pledge to help us turn this unprecedented gamified crowdfunding platform into a do-it-yourself (DIY) tool for anyone to build their own easy-to-use, drag-and-drop, technologically sophisticated crowdfunding tool that anyone can use to build exactly the campaign they need to succeed. Fully customizable, brandable, flexible, with plenty of optional features to tailor the site to deliver success. Our platform will be an affordable, flat-rate subscription model so you don’t have to share a percentage of your raise.
In addition to ease-of-use and flexibility, our DIY crowdfunding platform will provide a multitude of revenue-generation points so that campaigns can raise funds the traditional crowdfunding way or through a whole range of alternative revenue streams.
More than this, the platform will offer components and features previously unknown on any crowdfunding site. Our gamification aspects reward backers with points they can use to buy real stuff or bid on valuable prizes in a live online auction. The rewards are an important part of our platform’s stickiness and virality.
Some of the greatest inventions and discoveries in human history have come when people were looking for something else.
BidOkee is proud to join this illustrious club. We hope you’ll join us.
Crowdfunding is growing massively, 1,000% in the last five years. Between 2009 and 2012, crowdfunding expanded at a compound annual growth rate of 63%. As of 2014, the crowdfunding market was estimated at $16.6 billion in funding per year. Of this growth, donation-based crowdfunding comprises the majority of giving, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 444 percent compared to equity crowdfunding, which is growing at a rate of 168 percent. By 2020, crowdfunding is expected to reach $500 billion in funding per year generating $3.2 trillion in economic value.
“However, a majority of crowdfunding campaigns fail,” says Eyal Lichtmann, CEO of Quilageo, the company behind BidOkee.”81% of unsuccessful projects fail to reach 20% of their funding goal. And nearly 60% of all crowdfunding projects are unsuccessful. There is a systemic problem in crowdfunding if a majority of campaigns are continuously failing. Therefore we need a new model in crowdfunding that provides greater chance of success and which changes the paradigm to a more cooperative model.”
Entrpreneur.com reports how difficult it is for start-ups to get funding despite the proliferation of crowdfunding worldwide. Currently 90% of the world’s online population has access to crowdfunding and $1,400 is raised in donations every minute. Still, only 3% of all start-up funding comes from crowdfunding.
And E-commerce Times reports that Fortune 500 firms are actively experimenting with crowdfunding as a product launch and testing platform, potentially pushing out the small players. UC Berkeley is actually looking into providing courses for corporate executives wanting to launch crowdfunding campaigns. In addition, many charities, NGOs and scientific and health research projects are also looking to crowdfund their projects.
“As a result, traditional crowdfunding platforms, and the industry as a whole, are becoming very crowded,” Lichtmann says. “With more and more competition, including consultants and corporate campaigns, the bar is getting higher for small businesses. The cost and effort to successfully execute large campaigns is becoming prohibitive for many small firms and entrepreneurs. As crowdfunding platforms get bigger, start-ups are getting pushed out.
“Breaking through the barriers is an uphill battle,” Lichtmann continues, “especially now, as small start-ups are being eclipsed by hundreds or thousands of campaigns launched by deep-pocketed Fortune 500 companies and established organizations. The biggest advertising and marketing firms, scientists and crowdfunding consultants are taking over. The bigger the crowdfunding site, the less a small start-up can compete.”
Corporations have enormous resources to launch and build support for their crowdfunding campaigns and that is driving the cost of crowdfunding services higher for the little guy. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Dodge and DC Comics are using crowdfunding for marketing purposes, with the deleterious effect of marginalizing smaller players seeking to raise funds on the same platforms while at the same time driving up marketing, PR, consultancy and production costs within the industry.
“Crowdfunding was intended to enhance the start-up experience and bypass the onerous process of finding traditional investors to launch an idea or product,” says Lichtmann. “It was not intended as a marketing platform for established or already successful companies.”
An example, he says, is the Pebble watch, which already had sufficient cash on hand for their project but wanted the additional exposure Kickstarter offered.
“And now the biggest consumer companies in the world are moving into crowdfunding as a platform to market test and pay for their product launches,” says Lichtmann. “This is counter to the whole notion of crowdfunding, which was supposed to assist start-ups penetrating the vast expanse of the marketplace.”
Some activist-commentators are calling out the commandeering of crowdfunding by multinational behemoths, though not everyone agrees, and a healthy debate is beginning.
“The survival of crowdfunding requires a true cooperative model that has the best interest of the small player in mind,” he says.
Lichtmann’s company, BidOkee, has launched a beta version of what will be a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform based on a cooperative model.
“The DIY model we are building allows people the freedom to share, cooperate, assist, collaborate and utilize more human resources through cross-pollination of projects and ideas to yield infinitely more unique possibilities,” he says.
Combining DIY with a cooperative model may sound contradictory, Lichtmann acknowledges.
“But a do-it-yourself model is about being wholly independent,” he says. “And the cooperative model is about relying on the goodwill and assistance of others. And that is the exact formula BidOkee is looking to propagate.”
BidOkee is establishing a cooperative model through which networks, resources, wisdom, advice, connections and best practices are shared between campaigns.
“If we reach our goals, we hope to share over $100 million annually back with campaigns,” he says. “But that number can grow higher. In addition, we are looking at cross-pollination opportunities that allow one successful start-up crowdfunding campaign to assist another start-up campaign with backers, users and other resources.
Also, with the integration of loyalty rewards through a gamified system, campaigns can have access to tens of thousands of additional leads for their campaigns. We want to change 60% failure rates to 80% success rates. That is what we are striving for.”
As Darryl Burma, CEO of Crowdmapped.com says, “BidOkee will definitely disrupt the industry. It is doing something we have not seen before and is a game-changer.”
BidOkee is currently developing the beta platform into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, which will give anyone the opportunity to launch their own independent, self-directed crowdfunding campaign with tools and features no other platform offers.
“We are now crowdfunding for crowdfunding and hope people will support our campaign to get this model to market” says Lichtmann. “We think this is the future – a future that realizes crowdfunding’s original potential.”