Hack Chat Transcript, Part 1

A event log for Kickstarter Hack Chat

Beau Ambur and Clarissa Redwine

lutetiumLutetium 08/07/2019 at 20:030 Comments

Dhrupal R Shah11:56 AM
Hi @Clarissa Redwine We had made a prototyping platform evive. The first version was launched in 2017 on a crowdfunding platform. Now we have upgraded it with better functionalities and now we have our own supporting software (PictoBlox, scratch based programming for kids and makers ) and App (Dabble - virtual IO shield for project making).

Boian Mitov11:57 AM
And EVIVE can even be programmed in Visuino ;-)

Gonçalo Nespral joined  the room.11:59 AM

Greetings, everyone! We'll get started now. Let's welcome Beau and Clarissa from Kickstarter to the Hack Chat today!

Perhaps we should start with quick introductions from Clarissa and Beau.

Clarissa Redwine12:00 PM
@Dhrupal R Shah & @Boian Mitov EVIVE sounds great! Have you started to share the new version with your community? I'm so curious to hear what functionalities your existing community was asking for. :D

Clarissa Redwine12:00 PM
Thanks Dan! Hi all! Clarissa here. I'm Kickstarter's Design & Technology Outreach Lead for the east coast. In a nutshell, I travel up and down the coast in search of innovators, creators, and makers who can leverage the powerful community and storytelling tool of Kickstarter to bring creative projects to life. Before joining Kickstarter, I cofounded a nonprofit with the core mission of fostering the North Texas startup community and worked with 10 promising robotics startups as the Program Manager of the Qualcomm Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Beau12:01 PM
Hi everyone, great to chat, I work with Kickstarter focusing on supporting Design & Technology projects, in a role similar to Clarissa, with a focus on projects along the West Coast, I'm an avid embedded developer hacker and big fan of MicroPython as well.

Clarissa Redwine12:03 PM
@Gonçalo Nespral welcome! :)

Gonçalo Nespral12:03 PM

benw joined  the room.12:03 PM

benw12:04 PM
Hello :D

Clarissa Redwine12:04 PM
@benw welcome!

mosaicmerc12:04 PM
Hello Team...outside of the USA...Was part of the Orgnisation of American States, Americas Competitiveness Exchange in P.Rico as the ONLY inventor from the Eastern Caribbean. Ancel Bhagwandeen.

mosaicmerc12:04 PM
A US Dept of Commerce funded thrust

Dhrupal R Shah12:05 PM
(Sorry, I was on phone and mistakenly sent a message before time. It's midnight here in India) We wanted to launch the new upgrade evive with new IoT kit for kids. Are there some restrictions in Kickstarter, which restricts re-launch of upgrades? The new version is in testing phase. The body looks same, but the internal stuff is upgraded, Book is added for kids, overall kit content is for kids (who wanna be makers 😁) .

Daniel.Langenberg joined  the room.12:06 PM

Can you tell us a little about what trends you see developing in crowdfunded projects? Are they moving in any particular direction?

Kelly Heaton12:08 PM
@Clarissa Redwine @Beau Hello and thanks so much for being here. It seems that the most successful Kickstarter projects have highly professional, charismatic videos (wherein the inventor stars)... and presumably, said charismatic inventor is talented at recruiting a fan base on social media. Can you please suggest some successful strategies for those of us inventors who are less extroverted?

vishwasnavada joined  the room.12:09 PM

benw12:09 PM
I think that would be very helpful for myself to know as well

Shawn Hymel12:09 PM
@Clarissa Redwine and @Beau - Any tips for us looking to Kickstart a hardware project? It seems like software has a much better chance of success due to the ease of "manufacturing" and distribution. I've seen a number of hardware projects fail (i.e. they meet Kickstarter goals but can't deliver or go under shortly after).

Beau12:09 PM
I'd say we see a wide variety of projects across all the categories at Kickstarter, with our focus on Design & Tech there do tend to be some trends over the years, I wouldn't say I see anything in particular trending at the moment. I'm also a big fan of #Badgelife and looking forward to seeing a lot of new hardware at defcon this week.

Kelly Heaton12:10 PM
@Shawn Hymel no offense meant to Kickstarter folks - but you might be better suited with Crowd Supply because they are hardware focused.

Clarissa Redwine12:10 PM
@Dhrupal R Shah absolutely, happy to share how you'd go about launching a project that is essentially an upgrade. The good news is that campaigns that have this frame do quite well on Kickstarter. The community likes to see what the platform looks like and the vision you have for the next step. Here's a good example that's STEM related:

Beau12:12 PM
@Shawn Hymel hardware projects are certainly challenging, on Kickstarter I think the hardware side is a bit easier to get attention and promote in a lot of cases vs software. With the hardware it's much more important to have a solid plan in place and ideally a good relationship with a manufacturing partner.

Shawn Hymel12:12 PM
@Kelly Heaton Good point--although Crowd Supply seems to be catering to the professional and hobbyist crowd (e.g. bare PCBs). I'm curious about using crowdfunding to manufacture a consumer electronics product (UL, FCC certs, fully enclosed, etc.). It still seems like Kickstarter is the place for that.

Beau12:13 PM
@Shawn Hymel I really encourage creators to think about an iterative strategy and release a developer focused version if possible first, to help work out the manufacturing and distribution challenges before going out to a much larger audience

benw12:13 PM
@Clarissa Redwine and @Beau I've been working on a hardware project for myself for just over an year now and it's getting to the point where I really need some support to get my prototype really for kickstarter do you recommend any sites or services where I can find people who wish to help me development my project into something that is well received to the hacker community .

Shawn Hymel12:13 PM
@Beau Makes sense. Any tips for forming relationships with manufacturers? All the success stories I've heard come from people who live in (or frequent) China.

R. Scott Coppersmith joined  the room.12:13 PM

Boian Mitov12:14 PM
@Clarissa Redwine and @Beau in your experience is Kickstarter good for software development projects?

Shawn Hymel12:14 PM
@Beau Good advice on the dev-focused version--I've seen it work and fail in the past, but when it works, it seems to go really well (as the creators can incorporate feedback).

Kelly Heaton12:14 PM
@beau How do you sell the iterations to potential funders? Often, first iterations are failures (problem in PCB, etc) because that's the nature of working out kinks in a complex hardware project. What do you give to low-level funders if this is the case?

Beau12:14 PM
@Shawn Hymel building better relationships with manufactures is something that we are definitely focused on supporting, we have an initiative called Hardware Studio that started with Dragon Innovation and Avnet to provide better support in building those relationships with Creators

Clarissa Redwine12:15 PM
@Kelly Heaton Hey hey! I'm actually pretty shy myself and think about this a lot! One good example project that put the project in the spotlight without slick production or a super extroverted founder interview is OG gem: .

Clarissa Redwine12:15 PM
@Kelly Heaton You can also ask other folks who have followings in your community to help spread the word. Referral campaigns can be a good tool to get your community to share the campaign.

Matt Ruffner12:15 PM
@Clarissa Redwine When you mentioned what your job at kickstarter entailed, traveling up and down the east coast. Does this mean there are community events and/or scheduled venues where you appear?

Shawn Hymel12:15 PM
@Beau Ah, that helps a lot. So we can bring our Kickstarter hardware idea to the Hardware Studio for help on building that relationship? Is that open to new people now?

benw12:16 PM
I think that could be very useful for myself as well

Clarissa Redwine12:16 PM
@Matt Ruffner Absolutely! Feel free to follow my twitter to see when I have events coming up. Is there a city you'd like Kickstarter to visit? Road trip!! ;)

Beau12:17 PM
@Kelly Heaton it all depends on the project, we often find backers are interested in supporting the project earlier on because they believe in the idea as well and want to support it. Often projects include the thing itself like a piece of hardware, however we also have folks that choose the "No Reward" option to throw a few dollars in and offer support.

Kelly Heaton12:17 PM
@Clarissa Redwine please visit the Northern Virginia area

mosaicmerc12:17 PM
Well Team...I have a first stage PoC product ready for launch. It is the World's first electronic steel drum stick for the Tenor drum. I need to finance the other instrument sticks . There are about 6 types of steel drums. Visualize a sound triggered LED concert illuminated drum stick for the steel drum.

Target market is professional steel orchestras and Carnivals globally as well as School age children to encourage playing the instrument.

Clarissa Redwine12:18 PM
@Kelly Heaton I'll put that on my list!

mosaicmerc12:18 PM
So it is a combination of tech & Creative /music.

Beau12:18 PM
@Shawn Hymel for Hardware Studio there is a website here and you can sign up to get notifications on upcoming features, you can also reach out to Clarissa and myself and will be happy to make some connections

Shawn Hymel12:19 PM
@Beau Awesome, thanks!

Matt Ruffner12:19 PM
@Clarissa Redwine Awesome, will do! And Lexington, KY has a lot of startups and incubators that host startup workshops. The University of Kentucky (I am a PhD student here) is also there and host at least one hackathon per year, would be great to see Kickstarter as sponsor, or involved somehow. Awesome Inc. is a company to check out that would be a great venue if you came to town.

Chris Sullivan12:19 PM
Whats the youtube link?

benw12:20 PM
Is there any kickstarter sponsor events in the UK?

Beau12:20 PM
@mosaicmerc we are big fans of Music Tech projects and think there is a great overlap there, here's an example of a previous drum project

Kelly Heaton12:21 PM
@Clarissa Redwine @Beau do either of you have experience with electronic art projects?

Asher Gomez12:22 PM
Has it started yet?

Clarissa Redwine12:22 PM
@Matt Ruffner fill up my calendar!! ;) Lexington, KY- got it! I'll let you know when I'm heading that way!

Beau12:22 PM
@benw Kickstarter does support some events in the UK, our colleague Heather Corcoran represents some of our International projects and is actually based out of the UK.

@asher - Yep, we're in the thick of it now

mosaicmerc12:23 PM
@Beau Great, I also have a great story....I am from Trinidad in the Caribbean . The home of the original Steel Drum invention in the 1930's. My family moved to Trinidad in the 1800's and I train young technicians how to manufacture to improve their lives in the Caribbean. The invention of the electronic stick is to be part of the National Heritage of Trinidad & Tobago as it is the first invention/innovation for the stick in this century.

benw12:23 PM
@Beau I would certainly love to talk to them about my project

Clarissa Redwine12:24 PM
@Kelly Heaton for sure!! That's one of our favorite project types! Here are two of my favs: .

Clarissa Redwine12:24 PM
@benw Go for it!! :D

Kelly Heaton12:25 PM
@Clarissa Redwine I'm ready to launch an electronic art project in a week or so. How do I start? Direct through the Kickstarter website, or contact you first?

Matt Ruffner12:25 PM
@Clarissa Redwine right on!!

Bob Swinkels12:25 PM
@Clarissa Redwine, @Beau, I'm currently working working on a hardware idea with an amazing team and we're thinking about forming a company and starting a kickstarter not too far in the future. What are your thoughts about the right moment to launch, because the prototype will take a lot of work before it's ready.

So do you suggest to wait till the prototype is finished? What gives us the greatest chance for succes?

benw12:26 PM
@Clarissa Redwine what would be the best method to contact Heather Corcoran

Asher Gomez12:27 PM
@Clarissa Redwine, @Beau, When developing a product at what stage would crowdfunding com into play?

Clarissa Redwine12:27 PM
@Kelly Heaton Fun!! You can totally give us a peek by filling out this form! We can reach out directly after that :)

Nicolas Schurando12:27 PM
@Clarissa Redwine Putting a request to add Paris, France to the list. Although that's outside of your area. Do you have any colleague in charge of Europe?

Beau12:28 PM
@Bob Swinkels it's always best to launch when you are ready, and clearly present your idea and have created a solid prototype. A great prototype is a big part of a project, however it's also key to start building your community and identifying an audience that is really excited about what you are doing as well.

mosaicmerc12:28 PM
@Clarissa Redwine ,@Beau, Are there mentors who have run successful kickstarter campaigns willing to advise and assist directly, even if it is for a % of the returns?

Kelly Heaton12:28 PM
@Clarissa Redwine thank you!

Clarissa Redwine12:28 PM
@benw Feel free to share your project (even if it's a tad early) via this form and Heather can take a look :)

benw12:29 PM
@Clarissa Redwine Thank you I'll have a look :D

alireza safdari12:29 PM
@Clarissa Redwine @Beau based on your experience and information is it better to officially register a company in the US before crowdfunding or using personal account for crowdfunding?

Beau12:29 PM
@mosaicmerc a lot of past creators are open to sharing their experience and advice, it's definitely worth while reaching out to campaigns that inspire you, either by following their campaign on Kickstarter or connecting thru social media.

Clarissa Redwine12:30 PM
@Asher Gomez there are 3 essential things you need before launch: 1) a compelling project that you know folks will want to help bring to life, 2) know the cost to produce and ship all the rewards, and 3) have a community that you've built up outside Kickstarter that can help you reach about 70% of your funding goal. Hope this helps!

Shawn Hymel12:30 PM
@alireza safdari I definitely recommend putting together an LLC before trying to sell any product or service in the US. There's always a chance someone will try to sue you, and it's better to have some kind of protection in the form of a company :-/

Beau12:31 PM
@alireza safdari I'd say it mostly depends on the scale of the project, if it is something that you can manage individually then there is no need to make it more complicated. If you plan to make it an ongoing business, and building out a team then having an organization to support that is a great resource.

Clarissa Redwine12:31 PM
Love'n this chat!! Great thoughts!

benw12:31 PM
@Clarissa Redwine What would be the best site to build a community around a project before hitting kickstarter

Orlando Hoilett12:31 PM
@Clarissa Redwine why 70% and not 100? Lol

Asher Gomez12:32 PM
@Clarissa Redwine Thanks!

@benw -, of course ;-)

Orlando Hoilett12:32 PM
is the 30% just random people who go on Kickstarter and support things they find cool?

Bob Swinkels12:32 PM
@Beau, Thank you! What are your thoughts about the best ways to build this audience. Do you have any succes stories?

Shawn Hymel12:32 PM
@Dan Maloney You beat me to it :D I will say it depends on your audience, though.

Matt Ruffner12:32 PM
@Clarissa Redwine the google form link you shared, is this like preliminary exposure to kickstarter representatives, without actually starting an official page? If a project is sufficiently interesting and worthy, is there a chance that kickstarter would help with the development of the page and promotion of the project by submitting to this form?

Clarissa Redwine12:33 PM
@Orlando Hoilett haha- you can always aim higher than 70%! ;) But on average creators see about 30% of funding come from Kickstarter channels. This is folks discovering the project through our curated features, like a newsletter or tweet.

mosaicmerc12:34 PM
@Beau , I hope to leverage local schools and churches that use the Steel drum or teach the music to create a network of about 200 interested parties/players with their own networks b4 I do a crowdfunding for the second generation of instrument sticks.

Orlando Hoilett12:34 PM