posted Apr 7, 2013, 3:31 PM by Sallar Khorram
updated Apr 11, 2013, 11:55 AM
The Elevation Dock was one of Kickstarter's first million-dollar projects and is now one of the first products on new crowdfunding marketplace Outgrow.me. Y Combinator, the premier startup launchpad, held its latest demo day this week, with crowdfunding as one of the big themes with this batch of startups. New sites were launched for specific verticals: Microryza is crowdfunding scientific research grants, Teespring is creating a Threadless alternative, and Watsi is bringing thecrowdfunding model to the developing world. Other demoing startups had no desire to compete with Kickstarter, but rather, complement it. BackerKit is trying to make the experience of running a project easier, while Swishmakes searching for projects more fun. Kickstarter has recently announced some new tools to help make projects easier to manage, but a market is developing around them.Kickstarter is still the biggest thing in crowdfunding, but crowdfunding is much bigger than Kickstarter. These 12 tools will help your campaign succeed, and maybe even make big bucks.Above:What it Does: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for Kickstarter Founded by one of the founders of Diaspora, Kickstarter's breakout project, BackerKit aims to reduce stress and pad the pocketbooks of project creators. Using the service which starts at $99/month, creators can track the rewards owed to backers, perform some higher-level customer management like tracking domestic and international backers, but the service's killer app is the ability to help collect more money after the campaign is over. Imagine you wanted to back a project at a higher level and get a better reward. With Kickstarter, once the counter reaches zero, you're be out of luck, but with BackerKit, you could pay additional money and claim extra rewards, without having to cut Kickstarter or Amazon in on the transaction. It's a brilliant, if slightly shady, feature that could significantly increase the amount of money project creators can raise. Top photo: Elevation Lab; Lower image: BackerKit
What it Does: Bridges the gap between Kickstarter and Amazon
Kickstarter has famously stated that it is not a store, but unfortunately, many users would like it to be — and find the current interface underwhelming. At first, the Swish team tried to create a Kickstarter competitor focused on hardware, but pivoted their focus to create a friendlier front end for many popular crowdfunding sites that allows shoppers to search and filter projects based on cost, delivery date, and other store-like attributes.
What it Does: Screenprints and ships t-shirts for backers
T-shirts are a great way to pump up a crowdfunding campaign and give backers a concrete way to promote your project, but it can be a frustrating, costly experience for people who have never dealt with printing before. Teelaunch takes the uncertainty away, along with the ink-stained fingers, by making prices transparent and handling shipping for a fee. Project creators can even get a discount if they promote Teelaunch on their Kickstarter page.
What it Does: Provides A real time project dashboard
This is the only browser plug-in on the list, but the no-nonsense interface gives project creators a real time peek on their project. After setting up their campaign, the Kickstarter Status Board tracks all the vital stats from the campaign, like the number of funders and amount raised, but also breaks out what sites are driving traffic, captures the buzz on Twitter and Facebook, and creates a list of notable press mentions.
Image: Chrome Web Store
What it Does: Provides a lifeline for struggling projects
Kicksaver makes it easy to search for projects that are close to funding, but are running out of time. The user sets a dollar value they're willing to pay to help a project and are presented with a range of worthy options. Unlike other services designed to make Kickstarter more store-like, this one is focused on facilitating random acts of kindness.
What it Does: Google Analytics for Kickstarter
Kickstarter's new tools give backers a better view into how their project is performing, but Kicktraq is still the go-to source for funding data, projections, and an up-to-date list of which projects are lighting up the charts. Kicktraq's simple interface, along with a well-curated news section, makes it easy to track the ups and downs of competitive or complimentary campaigns.
What it Does: Lets creators learn from the failures of others
It's easy to find examples of Kickstarter projects that have succeeded, especially ones that did so at outrageous levels of funding, but the failures or projects that just barely crossed the finish line are much harder to track. The Kickback Machine makes it easy to search projects by keyword, category, and funding target. With that kind of specific targeting, potential creators can figure out what the common elements of the winning and losing projects are and prevent history from repeating.
Image: The Kickback Machine
What it Does: Brings fun to back to game night
Gaming is the second-most lucrative category on Kickstarter with over $110 million dollars raised so far. Video games are popular, but a surprisingly large portion of that haul goes to table top games. Board games are fun to design, but manufacturing and shipping them to customers is more of a slog than a marathon Monopoly game. GameSalute is a service that handles the manufacturing, assembly, and distribution of games so their creators can focus on developing the next great use for a D20.
What it Does: Provides unadulterated access to high level metrics
Kickstarter provides macro level information about what categories are doing the best currently and which have been most successful historically. It also gives people the ability to monitor the health of the ecosystem by tracking the rate at which projects succeed or fail.
What it Does: Provides historical funding graphs for nearly 30,000 projects
This site scrapes Kickstarter to gather data on all active projects and produces a graph that provides a quick analysis on the every campaign's prospects. By toggling on linear regression, curious visitors can see if a given project is likely to reach its goal or suffer a sad defeat. The search functionality on the site isn't very robust, but its creator instructs the curious to replace "http://kickstarter.com/" with "http://canhekick.it/" on any Kickstarter URL to get to a Zoltar-like view of the future.
Image: Can He Kick It
What it Does: A marketplace for crowdfunded projects
Kickstarter campaigns can be exciting and lucrative, but are short-lived by design. Once the timer on a project runs out, creators are cut off from dollars until they set up a website or list their product for sale on Amazon. Even then, the inventor needs to do a lot of work, but Outgrow.me aims to simplify the process by offering customer service and order fulfillment for those that want to focus on their nextcrowdfunding campaign.
What it Does: A(nother) marketplace for crowdfunded projects.
like Swish and Outgrow.me, TinyLightbulbs is a marketplace that gives crowdfunded inventors a place to sell their wares well after the wave of hype recedes. Like the other marketplaces, visitors can search TinyLightbulbs, but the team is also creating video reviews of projects to help separate the marketing hype from the final product.