Hypoxic founder shares secrets to Kickstarter success

Let’s start a Kickstarter campaign! Maybe people will give us money to build the company! While many founders have tried and failed this route, there are a few that brought in the cash to take their company to the next level.
AZTB talked with local startups that have had success with crowdfunding campaigns and shared some tips and tricks. We begin part one of our series with founder Mark Kirschenbaum, Hypoxic, a company that creates innovative aerial camera products, and the Kickstarter “Turned On” project.
The “Turned On” campaign ended on June 5 with 269 backers, surpassing its goal of $30,000, by hitting $43,049, or 143 percent of its target. The product is a hard-wired status indicator that let’s the user know whether or not their camera is actually on and recording. The device is compatible with GOPRO® HERO3 and HERO3+.
Kirschenbaum offers these words of wisdom for your next campaign.
Connect with your audience. Kirschenbaum estimated that 95 percent of the backers had heard about or dealt with Hypoxic prior to pledging. “Since I’ve started HYPOXIC, we’ve worked hard on becoming an authority and fortunately gained the trust of our followers,” Kirschenbaum said. “We’ve produced videos, blogs, as well as given tons of 1-on-1 support to non-paying customers. At skydiving events, we’ve helped many-a-complete stranger, bought a lot of drinks, and given away our skydiving photos for free. As karma would put it, this paid us back 10 fold in our super strong social network and instinctive knowledge of the industry.”
Have a viable, complete prototype. “It should be noted that not Kickstarting the product until it was ready for production was also critical for our success,” Kirschenbaum said. “I feel possible backers can see through ideas that are not ready for prime time and/or a team that doesn’t know how to bring it to fruition.”
Keep up with social media and promotion. “As far as other marketing, having an existing customer mailing list was instrumental in our success,” he said. “Surprisingly, the numerous articles written about Turned On in both skydiving and regional news never converted into actual sales. Forum posts and promotions that we didn’t actively participate in before the Kickstarter did not convert. Reddit post got us a few, Instagram a few more, but mostly promoting Facebook posts and emails were our best ROI.”
Since Hypoxic’s campaign ended, Kickstarter implemented more simplified rules to their campaigns –a move that Kirschenbaum believes will greatly diminish the credibility of the site.
He’s referring to the following modified rules, which the fundraising website narrowed down to the following:

  • Projects must create something to share with others.
  • Projects must be honest and clearly presented.
  • Projects cannot fundraise for charity, offer financial incentives, or involve prohibited items.

With only these three guidelines, its platform is lighting the way for new projects, some that are completely ridiculous, that’s how Kirschenbaum feels goofy projects like the “potato salad guy” became successful and left the credibility of serious projects at risk of being diminished.
What are your tips and tricks for crowdfunding? Share your story with us at staffwriter@aztechbeat.com
Hypoxic was recently noted as an emerging startup in our USA Today Coverage with Jefferson Graham.
For previous coverage of Hypoxic, click here.