Indiegogo works basically as I stated in the previous blog.
What’s a Crowdfunding
A crowdfunding site is where you try to back a project’s vision with other people’s money. The projects that are backed can be almost anything, and they come from anywhere in the world. The Indiegogo site listings consist of a person or group of people who start a campaign and the backer(s) who pledge the money. This blog discusses the technology section of the Indiegogo site; however there are other areas, where you can either start a campaign or become a backer. A campaign starts with an individual or group of people going on the Indiegogo site to raise money for their project. They tell you about themselves, how the money they receive will be used, and how their vision could become a finished product. The campaign owner will setup different tiers for pledged money, with a month and year of when that tier should receive the finished product. When you pledge early in a campaign, you can be part of an early bird tier, which usually means that you will receive a perk for contributing early. The campaign owner will show a process timeline from the beginning to the end of the project. There’s a section in each campaign for questions and comments from people pledging to interact with either the campaign owners or other backers.
The person pledging money on a project is a backer for that project. A prospective backer will usually look over the information about the person or group in charge of the campaign. He/she then has to decide, if backing, which tier level he/she can afford. A backer pledging takes into consideration the month and year that the item should be received, because no one wants to back a project that they won’t see for 5 years. The projects I’ve seen, or backed, on Indiegogo usually have no longer than a year for completion. When you’ve made your pledge, then you’re officially a backer of that project, and then the waiting game begins until you receive your finished product. During this time, a good campaign owner will keep his/her backers happy with continuous updates of the project. There are many campaigns that are not produced, because backer participation is very low in funding.
Good and Bad Campaigns
My experience with Indiegogo is that very few projects actually finish within the projected timeframe that is given. What, backers or potential backers, have to remember is that most of the campaign owners are novices regarding what has to be done to bring a project to fruition. They are probably good in their field, or complement each other’s talents well as a group, but having never done anything of this magnitude there are bound to be errors. I find that most of the factory work on these projects is being done in China, and campaign owners probably have no experience dealing with the Chinese way of working.
When projects have gone over the date of delivery, the backers start to get very nervous because there is no recourse if a campaign owner decides to take their money and run. You, the backer, can make all the comments you want on Indiegogo, or even report the campaign owner to the BBB, but the bottom line is you’re out of whatever money you pledged. Indiegogo is testing allowing backers to buy insurance for projects. I have been party to a campaign scam for a router that could control every connected device in a house. This router had a completion date of December 2014, so we the backers were looking for it as a nice holiday gift. The campaign owners had setup campaigns on two crowdfunding sites, and when they were fully backed, they setup up a third product website to give all of those who hadn’t backed another chance. A campaign owner will usually setup a product website after their campaign is fully funded so that was not unusual. The only difference between backing the project on Indiegogo and backing the product off the website is you’re getting it sooner, with any promised perks. The campaign owners for this router provided no updates or any information at all when contacted. There was speculation from the backers on both crowdfunding sites on what happened to their money. I found out that the campaign owners were two brothers who went to jail for an unrelated matter. You just never know if a campaign owner is legitimate, or if he/she can actually complete the project, due to variables within.
The item you see pictured is the Scanadu Scout, a medical device that is hoping to get FCC approval. I am part of one of the biggest medical trials for data collection with a device of this kind. The campaign owner hopes that one day this device can be used by the everyday person to check his/her own blood pressure, oxygen, heart beats per minute, and temperature
The latest project I’m backing is new on Indiegogo. It’s a projection clock that I’m scheduled to receive in December 2015. This clock is supposed to show you social media notifications; weather, location, short messages, and you can customize the projection that you see. Users will control all of these features through their smartphone from anywhere. This turned out to be another scam. The campaign manager gave us very sporadic information during the campaign, and once the campaign closed we received no information. Indiegogo has other campaigns areas you can either start or back in music, health, gaming, and films.
Who Is Indiegogo?
Danae Ringelman, Slava Rubin, and Eric Schell started Indiegogo in 2008, with a headquarters located in California. Indiegogo is one of the first crowdfunding sites to let people ask for money to back projects. Indiegogo makes money by charging a 9% fee on contributions, of which 5% is returned if funding is met. Indiegogo also makes money through PayPal and credit cards
Indiegogo provides a way for new ideas in technology, as we move into the smart things era. You will be amazed at some of the projects you will find and some may be hard to resist. I know that every time I visit the Indiegogo site, I’m opening my wallet to pledge.