By Oscar Chang(CEO)
On May 7th, I flew to Silicon Valley to join HAX, the world’ first and largest hardware accelerator, with my creation, Alchema. Alchema is a smart brewer for anyone to create unique craft cider at home. However, there is one thing about Alchema that keeps hunting me: Should I launch a Kickstarter campaign or not?
When I was in Taiwan, tons of people gave me tons of suggestions. Some of them think I don’t need to do a crowdfunding campaign. Reasons are like “Backers might not be your target customers”, “Even though you have a successful campaign, it doesn’t mean you have a successful company”. Others think it’s totally worth it to launch a campaign because “You will get lots of exposure”, “You can understand how many people love your idea”. I think both sides have their standpoints. One more thing I’m worry about is that Kickstarter is a public space. If I succeed, everybody know, likewise if I don’t.
Since I was unable to weigh each sides, I asked mentors of HAX for their opinions. They think I should have a positive attitude towards failure as well as success. Whether you have a successful campaign or not, you should keep going. You can decide to move on or go back to improve your product with the feedback you get. After having the conversation with HAX mentors, I realize I don’t have to be afraid of failure. All I have to do is learning why I fail rather than doing nothing or avoiding facing it. So I decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign. It was two months ago, the schedule was tight so I need to spend my time on a time-tested strategy.
In order to know more about how to prepare a Kickstarter campaign, I visited Lisa, the founder of Nomiku from HAX family. I was surprised at her passion to help us and share her experience with us. Startups should work together and share resources to each other, in order to grow together. She started her company with her husband without many resources. In order to promote their campaign, they shake as many hands as possible, including people in retailers or restaurants. Their hard work paid off and they got many supports and did a splendid campaign. She suggested me that I should spread my idea. And I should start doing it NOW.
With her advice, I decided to visit people in grocery stores which I think my target would visit. I started to pitch to strangers at those stores and try to collect their emails if they’re interested in what I do. Therefore, I have HAX lessons in the morning as well as preparing Kickstarter content, filming making, memorizing my lines for the Kickstarter video. At night, I pitch to as many strangers as I can.
When I’m in a new store I always walk around to check the arrangement. Then I target people who buy fruits or booze. It is hard for me to ask people to give me their email at first. You need to find a good timing to pitch. First, you have to have a good opening. Second, you have to explain what you try to build. Finally, you can ask people to leave their email addresses. Luckily, after learning why I failed at the first few shots, I was able to get the email from anyone I chose to talk to. However, when I send invitation letter to the emails I collected, NO ONE responded. I start to wonder I use wrong approach? Or maybe I shouldn’t try to launch a Kickstarter campaign? Or worse, no one likes my product?
As I was in despair, I received an email from a friend I met last year in Silicon valley. “I heard that you guys are in the bay area. Do you want to catch up?”, he said. During the meeting he told us how much he is looking forward to the launch of Alchema, and he is happy to see Alchema’s developing progress at the very beginning. Suddenly, I find out I am not alone. There is truly someone cares about Alchema. I realize, the true meaning about launching a Kickstarter campaign is not to create a buzz and be famous, but to bring an idea to life with people who love it and are willing to support it.
Thus, if you like Alchema, I want to invite you to join us and spread the word about Alchema’s launch when we go live. All you have to do is tweet or post a Facebook status about us on the 26th. You can spread the word via "Thunderclap", which is a tool that pre-loads a message for you with our Kickstarter link. All your friends who click through this LINKcan also get the deal! If you need help, please click HERE.