November 19, 2013

3 Tips to Get Your Linux Project Funded With Kickstarter

kickstarter linuxTech businesses, including Linux-based operations and developers, have a chance to get a piece of this still-young goldmine. With the right idea, a catchy preview and some savvy marketing, your big tech idea can come to fruition in a matter of months.

Tap Your User Base

Successful Kickstarter campaigns present ideas that are appealing enough for a wide group of people to support, or for a small group of people to support well. Linux users are a devoted fanbase, eager to advance open-source technology so that best ideas will receive backing. One recent example is LinuxonAndroid, a software campaign that aimed to bring a range of Linux distros to Android devices. This UK-based campaign raised nearly $1,700, well over its goal of around $1,000. LinuxonAndroid already had a 40,000+ person user base, but it needed funding to address Ubuntu updates and add new features.

Mobile Linux is a hot topic for open-source fanatics. LinuxonAndroid found an in-demand niche and presented a clear pitch of what it would do with the money.

Offer Incentives

The idea itself is the most important part of your Kickstarter campaign, but corresponding incentives can bump up the amount of money you raise. Openshot, a video editor for Windows, Mac and Linux, offered donors perks based on the amount of money they gave. Fifty dollars got you early access to beta and final releases. Two-hundred fifty got you a place in the credits on the official website and an OpenShot T-Shirt, along with the early access. If anyone was willing to donate $10,000, OpenShot was prepared to dedicate three weeks of developer time toward any feature the donor desired.

You'll need to be creative with your incentives in order to end up with a successful campaign. T-shirts are an appealing perk, but they cut into your net gain from donations. A salary calculator can help you plan your revenue and expenses in order to get the most out of a Kickstarter project.

Follow Up

Don't rest on your laurels if you're able to successfully fund a Kickstarter project. The work is just beginning. The Oculus Rift, an open-source gaming Annie Delgadoheadset that raised more than $2.4 million, almost ten times more than its goal, is one of many projects that missed its target delivery date. found that of the top 50 most-funded projects in 2012, 84 percent missed their target delivery dates. The frequent lag time is beginning to affect Kickstarter's reputation. When companies take too long to deliver products, not only do they lose momentum from the buzz their campaigns created, they also sacrifice their chances to ask for more money down the road. When you launch your campaign, set a realistic timeline so you don't keep your donors waiting. When it's time to ask for more money, they'll be eager and willing to contribute to what's next.

Annie Delgado is an app aficionado and expert in tech crowdfunding. She lives in New York where she writes for a number of business and mobile blogs. 

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