Four Steps to a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

uBiome Sample Kit

uBiome raised over $165,000 from almost 1300 people in less than 2 months on Indiegogo — the most successful citizen science project in history. How did we do it?

1. Have many hooks
uBiome is a citizen science project to sequence the microbiome, bringing cutting edge technology to the public. The microbiome is the bacteria that live on and within us and has been linked an imbalance to autism, depression, and anxiety as well as many gut disorders. Combining citizen science with crowdfunding with cutting edge science gave us an edge. Because of this, there were multiple ways to relate to the story, multiple angles for press, and multiple ways to connect to our audience.

2. Product design is everything
Think very carefully about the product you are offering and make sure that it’s easy to understand, as tangible as possible, and has a “wow” factor for your audience. Sometimes it’s not the primary application of your technology or service that works best for crowdfunding. For example, we spent a lot of time and effort designing our kits so that they were easy to use, simple, and had provided the most useful information. Many people have called us for help with their campaigns, and I tell them that especially with science and technology products, it’s important to make sure that you’re not thinking about features, but about benefits — not what it does, but how it benefits the user.

3. Don’t over-promise
Don’t promise that your product will get there sooner, do more, or be less of an experiment than it actually is. Our product is a science experiment and we invite people to be a part of that process. It’s cutting-edge research. We make that clear so people won’t be disappointed.

4. Incorporate your personality
Make sure your product has some aspects that only you can do, whether based on social connections, unique product knowledge, or just your personality. Add yourself into your product and make it personable and real to your audience.

Crowdfunding has the potential to change the way we fund society’s most important contributions: science and art. We are at the beginning of a revolution in how knowledge is created and disseminated, and we want to harness the power of the crowd to change the world. Start your own project and join us! (By the way, for more information about incorporating citizen science into your projects, check out a project run by one of our founders, Science Citizen.)

The uBiome video that helped meet their fundraising goals:

uBiome from uBiome on Vimeo.

Jessica Richman - HeadshotJessica Richman started and sold her first company after high school. Returning to formal education, she attended Stanford University, where she earned degrees in Economics and interdisciplinary engineering. Along the way, she worked for Google, McKinsey, Lehman Brothers, the Grameen Bank, and top-tier Silicon Valley venture firms. Currently a doctoral student at Oxford University, her academic interests include social networks, innovation, collective intelligence, and entrepreneurship.  Jessica has been a member of FoundersCard since 2011.

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