Editor's Note: This is a guest blog post contributed by writer Annie Delgado on behalf of BlueFire PR.
Linux thrives on collaboration, and a new fundraising trend is raising capital for startups with that spirit in mind. The crowdfunding revolution is in full swing and Kickstarter is the leading crowdfunding platform, so far raising $862 million to fund 51,365 projects. Technology campaigns are at the forefront of this platform. According to Kickstarter, the average successful technology project raises more than $75,000 dollars, the most of any category.
Tech 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.
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.
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 headset 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. CNNmoney.com 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.