The art of growing a startup after crowdfunding
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The art of growing a startup after crowdfunding

At the March edition of Samsung NEXT Europe’s “Building Tech …” event in Berlin, we caught up with Heather Corcoran, Outreach Lead at Kickstarter, to chat about how startups of all stripes can turn a successful campaign into a growing business.

Be transparent during the fulfillment process
Building a scalable startup off the back of a successful crowdfunding campaign is no easy feat. After the funding goal has been reached, many entrepreneurs struggle with the complexity of manufacturing at scale and delivering rewards to backers on time. Corcoran said the best way to deal with unexpected obstacles that arise during fulfillment is to be honest about them and to keep your backers in the know.

“Sending out project updates that shed light on your manufacturing process and being open about the challenges you’re facing can actually strengthen the connection between the backer and the creator because it humanizes you in a way,” said Corcoran. Ultimately, how you handle these kinds of situations after the campaign will inevitably be a determining factor in the growth and trajectory of your startup.

Continue to build up your community
Arguably one of the biggest advantages of crowdfunding is that it comes with a large number of backers who are enthusiastic about your idea and likely want to share it with others. “One of the main reasons why you would come to Kickstarter is because you want to build a community of early adopters around your project,” Corcoran told us, “It’s a good idea to maintain the strength of your relationship with them during your campaign, fulfillment and then onwards.”

Cultivating your community long after your campaign is over means you’ll have access to a large group of ideal customers directly at your fingertips without spending heaps of money on advertising. That, of course, can be great for distribution, developing your business model beyond the campaign and for gaining feedback for potential future products or services.

Leverage your crowdfunding success to accelerate growth
While crowdfunding is a good way to help realize your idea—and to show people your concept has gained some traction—most likely you’ll have to launch another crowdfunding campaign, work with strategic partners or raise additional funding in order to scale your startup.

Corcoran told us that many projects that launched on Kickstarter went on to raise additional funding from angels and VCs. Vincross, a Chinese robot maker is a good example of this. The company raised $220,000 on Kickstarter in 2016 and recently received $10 million in Series A funding which will be used toward new product lines. So, don’t be afraid to tap into the network, community, and learnings from your first campaign to attract the attention of partners and investors that can help fuel your startup growth in the long run.

Jakob Fricke, Business Development at Samsung NEXT Europe teamed up with Berlin-based startup Mitte to host a group of experts including Heather Corcoran (Outreach Lead at Kickstarter), Karan Sarin (co-founder and CMO of Mitte), Alexis Houssou (co-founder and president of Hardware Club) and Mathieu Caudal (co-founder and Growth at Unu Motors) to discuss the ins and outs of building a hardware startup and the new distribution strategies that come with the digital age. 

A special thanks to Mitte for hosting this sold-out event.

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