Episode 261 Featuring Alex Bond

Launching a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign with Will Ford

Launching a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign with Will Ford

Will Ford is the President and Co-Founder of LaunchBoom, an online platform that empowers creators, founders, and entrepreneurs to launch successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns without all the headaches. Since July 2015, LaunchBoom has managed more successful reward-based crowdfunding campaigns than any other agency in the world. LaunchBoom is currently a Certified Expert on Kickstarter and a Certified Expert on Indiegogo and has helped thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide make their dreams a reality.

On this episode, Will and I discuss how to prepare products for launch, what makes a worthwhile product launch, the importance of setting realistic goals, and much more.


What is LaunchBoom

Will Ford: Yeah. So I am the president and co founder here at LaunchBoom. LaunchBoom was the world's largest crowdfunding agency. I spent 10 years building it with a team of world class crowdfunding experts.

And then a little more than a year ago, we intentionally blew up our own agency to turn it into something way better than it ever could have been as an agency. So I'm excited to kind of share that story with you today. It should be fun. 

How LaunchBoom was started

Alex Bond: Yeah, please do. I mean, that is not something you hear every day. I think intentionally blowing up launch boom also sounds humorous. So what was your goal? Did you wake up in a cold sweat one night and realize this is all wrong. How did that kind of shake out? 

Will Ford: Well, yeah, so it might be easier for me to explain that by camera, taking a step back and letting everyone know why I started launch boom in the first place. Basically I started launch boom because I had been launching my own consumer products using the traditional model, you know, in my early years of entrepreneurship, you know, it was expensive.

It was really scary. And if I didn't nail my marketing strategy, I was usually stuck with a bunch of product I couldn't move and I've been there before and that was no fun. So when I learned about Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and I realized that I could take a prototype and pre sell it on their platforms to people all over the world.

Get their money up front before I had to manufacture and deliver. It just took so much pressure off. It made it way less risky. And I couldn't believe it worked in the early years, early on, when I was working on product launches on Kickstarter on Indiegogo, I was actually searching for an agency like launch boom, but they didn't exist.

There was no one out there actually supporting the entrepreneur and helping them prepare their products for kickstarter or Indiegogo and then be able to control the outcome. So you can actually raise the money you need so you can afford manufacturing and delivery. So that was like when the light first light bulb went off and I'm like, wait a minute, there's a bigger opportunity here to own that niche.

And I made a bet that kickstarter and Indiegogo back in the early years weren't just a fad. I made a bet that they were going to be here 10 years later, which they are and they're bigger and better than they were 10 years ago. When I started my company, just so everyone knows Kickstarter, Indiegogo, they're the two largest reward based crowdfunding platforms.

So that means that you can literally take any type of prototype or today you can even use just cat images, photo realistic images, and you can literally pre sell product. And then you can tap into a massive audience of tens of millions of unique visitors every month. You can pre sell that product. You then get the money off the platform.

Once you get your campaign successfully funded. And then you literally have all the time in the world to work through tooling and manufacturing and eventually delivery to those backers. I love the model. I loved seeing the growth in the early years. Indiegogo opened their doors in 2008. Kickstarter opened their doors in 2009.

And by the time I stepped into the space, it was 2014. So they'd been around for a few years. I was able to do some research and see like their phenomenal growth year in, year out, just with their backer community growing. 

And that's why I decided to start launch boom. I decided to build a marketing agency that fully supported every consumer product creator out there that wanted to go and raise hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to actually manufacture and deliver those end products to those early backers and supporters. I did that. 

So, you know, I actually officially launched launch boom in 2015. And that first year, like every startup was huge learning. You know, we worked on dozens of product launches. We figured out what didn't work, what did work and how to better prepare these deals. So when we turn them on, we would have these massive campaign outcomes. 

And then by the time we got to 2016, I actually flew out to Brooklyn, New York, and met with the Kickstarter executive team. And I still don't know how I got that meeting, but I did. I made the riskiest decision, which was sharing with them how we do the pre launch, how we build these customized communities that want to buy the products before we launch on their platforms.

And I say it was risky because they have way deeper pockets than I had. Early on and they still do and they could have easily ripped off my model back then, but they weren't interested as much and supporting the entrepreneur as they were growing their backer communities. So they loved what I was doing.

They said, well, we're going to make you a preferred partner and they started sending me huge amounts of deal flow of campaigners that weren't quite ready to launch on their platform. So that really helped me bring in way more business in 2016 versus that first year in business in 2015. So then I took the same story out to Indiegogo and I met with their executive team in their offices in San Francisco.

And they did the same thing. They were focused on building their backer community, not as focused as supporting the entrepreneur at that time. So they made us a preferred partner. And again, just more deal flow opened up. So when you look at like the first year of business, 2015, we learned a lot. 2016, we learned even more because we launched.

Almost a hundred products in 2016. And then by 2017, 2018, I would say that's when we were unquestionably the leader in the crowdfunding space. When it comes to reward based, I'm not talking about equity crowdfunding, just these pre selling platforms. And so at that point, you know, we, we had a lot of success in our belt.

We were able to kind of refine, improve our agency model so we could reduce that risk for the entrepreneur. But at the end of the day, it was still a pricier type model. So to be brutally honest, like our model really only catered to the funded startups that had some kind of budget that they could spend on marketing and advertising to maximize those campaign outcomes.

We really weren't able to support that earlier stage entrepreneur that was going to Kickstarter and Indiegogo because they weren't funded yet. They were still underfunded trying to get their products off the ground. So around 2020, when the pandemic hit, you know, we didn't know what was going to happen to the crowdfunding space. 

Kind of like everyone else, everyone was like, is my business going to be okay? Am I going to be looking for a new profession? Like a lot of uncertainty happened in 2020. And fortunately for us at LaunchBoom crowdfunding exploded in a good way. So we went through like hyper growth in 2020, you know, we started 2020 was 30 employees.

We ended with close to a hundred employees by the end of that pandemic period. And we were onboarding like hundreds of clients a year. It was super exciting. It was a lot of fun, but fortunately for us, we had created like this do it yourself model that we called Launch Boom Academy. 

And the idea was like, Hey, if you're not qualified for agency, if you're not funded, we can still support you with this do it yourself model, which was like a video step by step of our agency process to make it easier for people to do more on their own for a fraction of the cost. 

And then what was really interesting was what happened last year. So we've got this big team built out for launch boom. We're trying to control everything ourselves. We have our production studio. We have our own advertisers, our own web developers, graphic designers. It goes on and on. 

And in 2022, I had staffed up to a point where we're getting ready to continue scaling. And then the market shifted on us. And what I mean by that is first quarter last year, 2022, January, we were used to onboarding about 30 plus new clients a month. And then January, 2022, we only onboarded 20. And then by February, we were down to 15. 

By March, we only signed nine. And meanwhile, while our agency's taking a nosedive, Our do it yourself program, LaunchBoom Academy, is surging. We're onboarding more people than we ever anticipated. And that's when we had the next big idea. We're like, wow, there's something going on here with the data. 

What if we took that LaunchBoom Academy, and what if we elevated it, and turned it into what we call a do it with you model, or a coaching and consulting business, where now what we do is we provide coaching, consulting calls every day with our clients, we build our own community of entrepreneurs that can help and support each other along with have access to everyone on my team and then upgrade the technology and software.

So our clients can do more on their own for a fraction of the agency costs. And then we figured out a way to open up our backer database. So up until last year, we had launched over a thousand. Successful crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter on Indiegogo. And we had retained every backer email that supported every one of our campaigns from that first campaign we ever managed.

So, you know, today we have close to 10 million backers in our database. And so now we figured out a way where our clients, we can share. Yeah. So we can share those audiences with our clients and they can, for example, like Alex, if you're launching an e bike, you can literally like pull all the e bike backers from our database.

And you can now use that for targeting to further reduce your ad cost on, you know, doing split testing. We've also incorporated AI into our platform. So what that does is like, as soon as new clients come into our coaching consulting program, We can basically help them do their messaging, positioning, market research, price analysis, because most of our clients don't know what to price their products at.

They're like, well, we think we want to sell for a hundred dollars, but can we? So we actually created this software platform that allows them to create their own reservation funnels. They can do split AB testing. They can figure out very quickly, very efficiently and affordably how to maximize their average order value and how to set that price.

That's going to convert really, really well before we even start scaling and building their pre launch community. So what's really cool about what we do here at launch boom is we have this massive community. 

So to give you an idea of how fast we've grown from 2015 to the end of 2021, we had launched over a thousand successful product launches on Kickstarter Indiegogo from 2022 to today, a little bit more than a year.

We've already onboarded another 1200 new customers. Think about that. Within a year, like we have 1200 new customers. When you look at like seven, eight years of 2015 to 2022, we only onboarded just over a thousand, right? So our new model, it's definitely catering to like the mass demand. 

We can now support everyone, not just the funded startups, but also the underfunded startups, those people out there bootstrapping that are even using credit cards to support these early validation launches on Kickstarter IndieGoGo.

And then our software allows them to build and customize a huge audience of the most qualified potential customers to support these massive Kickstarter and Indiegogo launches. So the way we do that is we pioneered something called the reservation funnel. And what that means is once we run the Facebook or Instagram ad and you click on it, we then present a lead offer.

We'll say, hey, give us a dollar reservation and we're going to guarantee you the best deal before we go to Kickstarter or Indiegogo. That dollar transaction is the most qualified funnel you can build because people don't transact even for a dollar. Unless they're serious about committing to a deal. So that funnel will convert at 30 percent or higher.

So the idea is like, okay, let's just say we collected 1,000 reservations before Kickstarter. We know that a minimum of 300 or more of those dollar reservations are going to convert and become a backer. So if we know that 300 of the 1,000 reservations are going to convert when we launch and the average order of value is 100, We're going to set that Kickstarter or Indiegogo goal to 30 grand, right?

Because we know that with that first email that goes out the first day we launch, we're going to get at least 300 or more sales. And so this is how we control the outcome for every one of our clients. And this is also how we raise enough money to allow them to actually manufacture and deliver a great experience.

So when we turn on the Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, we have what I call is a launch boom effect. We get the entire campaign funded today, on average, within 15 minutes. And then when that happens, the platforms start to push and promote the sale on their platform. 

So the projects will get better placement, the platforms will start to promote them in their newsletters. And now we tap into that massive organic audience of tens of millions of unique visitors worldwide. So that's when that 30,000 sale very quickly becomes hundreds and sometimes millions of dollars. 

Alex Bond: Because you don't need to just put the campaign on Indiegogo, cross your fingers and hope it's successful. You already know what's going to be because of these reservations and this kind of funnel system. 

Will Ford: Exactly, Alex. I'd say the reason we were able to a pull off the pivot and kill our agency and pivot to this much better coaching consulting model that allows us to reduce the price to a fraction of the original cost as an agency is because we had super strong brand equity.

So when we made the pivot last year, 2022, we had already had the brand credibility. We already had tons of content out there that we've provided for free. We had already the established credibility that we were the leading crowdfunding agency that supports the entrepreneur. So that's why we were able to, in my opinion, to pull off that pivot.

But ever since we've pivoted away from the agency model and over towards this coaching consulting model, what's super interesting is we're not only onboarding more clients we're doing, you know, we're onboarding a hundred plus new clients per month, which is huge. But what is even more interesting is that all of those campaigns, we're launching more campaigns per week and we're having bigger campaign outcomes.

We're having bigger raises than ever before as an agency, which is awesome because now our clients. Have more profit margin left in that campaign to then reinvest back into the continued growth and scale their business, whether it's e commerce or retail or Amazon or whichever direction they head in after.

Breaking Barriers: Enabling Access to Initial and Additional Funding for a Diverse Pool of Entrepreneurs

Alex Bond: And part of what I hear Will is that there's less of that barrier for entry. You mentioned earlier that you when working as an agency, we're kind of helping probably get additional funding instead of initial funding, which it sounds like you're helping a lot more agency or companies now do a little bit of both. 

Someone can come to you and say, we need we need a little bit of help or your resources to get initial funding or additional funding. And I think it's just kind of a bit, a bigger pool of entrepreneurs since there isn't that barrier for entry. Am I hearing that correctly? 

Will Ford: Yeah. Yeah. So to simplify it, I tell entrepreneurs every day, the same thing. I want you to bootstrap as long as possible. At least until you get through your Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, because if you can afford to just validate that there's demand.

And that people will actually buy your product at the price you want them to buy it for, you're already light years ahead of any, you know, pre market business trying to raise money because you've done the hardest part.

You validated demand. So to be able to take that story and then go out there and say, Hey, I want some more capital to accelerate my growth. I always tell entrepreneurs, if you're going to value your company early, do it after the Kickstarter, do it after the Indiegogo campaign. 

Because now you've got thousands of customers, you've got real revenue, and now you can position your company at a higher valuation. So if you do want to raise investor capital and sell equity, do it after the product launch. Do it after the validation piece. 

And so really what our goal here has been at launch boom is to provide the lowest, the lowest cost solution, the best cost solution to help these entrepreneurs. Even people bootstrapping that are using credit cards to do it affordably, to do it with the lowest risk possible, but also to help them maximize their outcome. So that's what we're doing. 

Insider Insights: Key Learnings for Entrepreneurs to Optimize Kickstarter and Indiegogo Campaigns

Alex Bond: And I want to kind of fire through some of the things that you've learned and what does work and what doesn't work so that entrepreneurs who are listening, can already be looking at their to do list of like, all right, maybe I need to pivot here or fix this or that. So for example, well, do you see specific products work better or worse on Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns? 

Will Ford: Yeah, that's a great question. So Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the leading platforms in the reward based crowdfunding landscape. Now, there are certain categories that we will recommend going to Kickstarter first, versus other categories that make better sense for the community on Indiegogo.

So in general, just to kind of keep it simple. We can have a whole nother conversation just about that. Normally, like if we see like really cool tech hardware come in. We'll usually direct that to Indiegogo because they've got a massive community that love consumer tech hardware type products and there are other categories on Kickstarter that that we always direct their first, for example, like believe it or not, but tabletop gaming that is like one of their top categories.

And I know tabletop games have been around forever, but they perform extremely well on Kickstarter. They have a massive gaming community there. So we definitely see some of our bigger campaigns every year in that gaming category on Kickstarter. Kickstarter also has brought in a relatively newer CEO that's been there for about a year now.

His name's Edward Taylor, and he definitely is supporting, like, artists and creative type products. So any type of, like, artistic or creative type project whether it's a comic book or anything kind of like that, we'll also direct over to Kickstarter, because they love those projects, and they're building their community around those types of create, more creative type projects.

Again, there are dozens and dozens of categories that we've had success in over the years on Kickstarter, on IndieGoGo, and then there are some categories that Aren't that don't do as well. I would say for the most part, the majority of the audiences on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo are male dominated, usually like ages 25 to 50 years of age.

So any type of product that would appeal to that type of demographic generally is worth looking at Kickstarter or Indiegogo. In my opinion, that's where we have the most success. But yeah, I mean, tons of learning. So for example, like if you're listening to this, if you've got a consumer product, you've never launched a product before.

What I hate seeing Alex are when people come into launch boom and they're like, we just spent 50 grand making the best crowdfunding video ever. And I'm like, but you haven't done any testing. You don't know if you have the right messaging, the right positioning, or if you're even targeting the right demographic.

So the reason I say that is because we can create, like we have resources that can create. Beautiful crowdfunding videos for a fraction of that cost. You don't need to spend 50 grand to have a nice crowdfunding video. In fact, you can probably do it for five grand. So, so there's things like that. 

So for me, I always tell everyone, like if you're new to crowdfunding or if you're new to launching products, the best thing you can do is honestly talk to someone on my team as early as possible, because we can help you avoid a lot of common pitfalls and mistakes that we made as we learned a tremendous amount over the last 10 years.

And we can help you maximize those dollars because What's really interesting is today we're having success launching these crowdfunding campaigns with high quality photo realistic renders. Sometimes we don't even have the prototype and that right there can save the entrepreneur so much time and money just using that to validate demand.

At the end of the day, Alex, like what we really do here at LaunchBoom and people don't receive this well when I say it, but we help entrepreneurs fail fast and fail cheap. So anyone out there with a idea trust me everyone who calls me every day They have the most beautiful baby in the world.

Everyone's product is the best product ever right and at the end of the day. We don't know if there's demand there until we pull it through our testing and our reservation funnel process So what we crowdfunding industry is what's called the pre launch. We basically created this pre launch system that allows anyone out there with a consumer product to validate and test it before they even go to Kickstarter or Indiegogo. 

And then depending upon the data and metrics of those tests, we can now set their expectation before they launch. We can tell them, Hey, we can actually probably raise 200 grand in pre sales. And now we can tell them whether or not that's enough for them to place that manufacturing order, or maybe the metrics are incredible. 

We're like, Hey, we can probably pre sell a million dollars or more. Well, they're pumped because now they can place a larger volume order with their manufacturer and with economies of scale, get a lower price break per unit. Now they're actually beefing up their profit margins on, on the crowdfunding opportunity. 

So what's really cool about what we've built and created here over the last 10 years is. We've basically been able to significantly reduce the risk and exposure for any entrepreneur to validate demand earlier. And that's, I'd say, probably one of the most powerful things that we provide here at LaunchBoom.

And what's really interesting too, Alex, is I've got Fortune 500 clients. And they use my system specifically for that reason. They just want to pump all their new consumer products into my validation piece. And if the metrics are good, great. They crowdfund. If they're not, they put those projects on the back burner.

They focus on other products, or maybe they get some feedback from our system, from, you know, people who are interested and they figure out better ways to innovate and iterate and make those products actually. Better than what they originally were. 

So there's a lot of advantages to like focusing on pre launch focus on validation. And that's why when we get to Kickstarter and Indiegogo, that's the easy part. Because we only turn them on when we know truly how to control the outcome for the client. 

Setting Realistic Goals: Financial Considerations and Demand Creation for Successful Crowdfunding Campaigns

Alex Bond: But what I really want to talk about is the ability to set realistic goals, right? So I think a lot of people will put a product or service, you know, there are plenty of times where myself or some colleagues put a short film or some way to generate income to create a pilot for a TV show or something like that. Right? 

And oftentimes that stuff isn't developed, or it's like one person is going to buy that thing at the end of the day, or the number is so exorbitantly high that they're expecting to get half a million dollars on Indiegogo for a thing that they probably didn't. 

That's a daunting number to look at, and I feel like I'm doing less work if I am donating 20 to a campaign that needs 500,000 than 20 to a campaign that needs only 1,000. I feel like I am a high roller whale when I'm giving money to a campaign that is a larger percentage.

And I don't think that's like, I don't know, maybe that's just how I feel, but that seems logical to me. Can you kind of talk about setting realistic goals, maybe financially actually in creating that demand too?

Will Ford: Yeah, for sure. So every day, as you can imagine, everyone I talk to. It's like, well, I want a million dollar pre sale on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. Right. I'm like, so do I guys, but realistically less than 1 percent of all the campaigns on Kickstarter IndieGoGo actually breached the million dollar marker. You've got a higher, probably much higher probability of achieving.

You know, a six figure campaign versus a seven figure campaign. And I don't care how cool the product is. That's just like what those communities will support. So really the question I always kind of counter is I come back and I'm just like, well, how much do we need to actually produce that first minimum order with your manufacturer so we can actually produce and deliver to backers?

Because once I understand what that number is now, it's easier for me to better set expectations. So again, to answer your question directly, I always tell people that instead of setting your campaign goal at a million dollars, the reason you don't want to set your campaign goal at a million dollars on Kickstarter or Indiegogo is because if you pre sell 900, You will not get a dollar of those funds off the platform.

You actually have to hit your goal in order for it to be it successfully funded, and they release the funds. So what we do is we do the polar opposite. Most of our campaign goals are usually placed between 10 and 50 grand, and that's predicated on the pre launch audiences and communities that we build.

So we now have this down to a science where we know that based on a certain size audience, we can set your goal at 10 grand, up to 50 grand, we normally don't go higher than 50 grand. And then the idea is once we have an audience that supports that goal, that's when we turn on the campaign, whether it's live on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

Then what we do is we email that prelaunch community we built. And within the first 15 minutes, on average, we always get the entire project funded. And that's the most important part. That's how we drive that launch boom effect. Because once we get that campaign funded, Now the platforms are like, wow, they just turned this thing on.

It's already hit its funding goal. Let's put it in top placement on our platform to get it more exposure. That's when they start to push it to their audiences. That's when you see that organic lift. And if you do this the way we suggest doing it here at LaunchBoom. You can, on average, get about 30 percent of your gross crowdfunding pre sales just from that organic community.

And that's why we still do these launches on Kickstarter and Indiegogo because of that organic lift you get from their audiences that are already there looking for really cool deals. So the second part of the question is, as an entrepreneur. You got to think about what's going to get the backers excited to want to throw money at you.

And so that's why we focus primarily with like consumer hardware, physical, tangible products. There are some outliers like with indie films and glamping projects. And that's another conversation. But primarily we look at like physical consumer products and we look at how can we create a value proposition.

So as a backer. You're like, that's a super cool product. They look at being like, wow, I'm going to get a better deal on Kickstarter versus when it gets to retail. And I'm also want to be the first one to get that products in my hands. Once it's produced and manufactured. 

So as long as you can check those three boxes as a product launcher and make the backers feel like they're going to get access to an innovative product or discount before anyone else, you're generally going to see a much, much better conversion and you're going to be able to raise a lot more money on these platforms.

So again, there's a lot more that kind of goes into the preparation piece, but, but I'd say, you know, just to take a step back further, I'd say like probably one of the most valuable things we do at LaunchBoom is help our clients really nail down their messaging positioning so that they're targeting the right audiences. 

And then we take it a step further and we help them figure out how to set the price because a lot of people they come to us and they have no idea how to price their product. So what we'll do is we'll look at all the all the market research and we leverage AI to do a lot of that and we do that much faster now, which is great. 

But then what we're able to do is we're able to do what's called split AB testing. So once our clients build out their reservation funnels, they can test price A versus price B. And then we look at the data and we look at, okay, what's converting? Maybe price B is outperforming price A. 

So now that will become the lead offer that we use to continue building that larger reservation funnel, and eventually, eventually will become the price when we get to Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

The Power of Perks: Influence of Rewards on Kickstarter and Indiegogo Campaign Success

Alex Bond: And I'm also curious if the perks are a factor or if that's just kind of like a bonus to people. I know some people who hop on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and just search because they like the idea of being an associate producer on something or they like getting the first, you know, getting their name on the back of a comic book or something like that.

Will Ford: Well, it's like that right there. Like, let's just talk about it because I know that's what you care about. You care about. Indie films. You care about TV pilot shows. Those have done really, really well too on, on these platforms over the years. In fact, that's how IndieGoGo started. That's why it's called IndieGoGo.

They were supporting IndieGoGo films. And so I, I tell you that because it's really important how you set those reward, those perks to be able to draw in those dollars, right? So you want to make these backers feel special. Just like everyone wants to feel special, right? So you want to create a perk that's going to make them feel special.

So, you know, you already listed a couple of them, but like, yeah, you can create different tiered, you know, for bigger dollar amounts. Maybe people get more exposure, more visibility within that, that TV show or that indie film. You can do that by, you know, giving putting their name in the credits you can write as a supporter like people love that.

If they, you know put enough money in if they put a large sum in You know, maybe you know, maybe you invite them out to be on site with the cast and and participate in that shoot and let them experience that if they're passionate about it. But there's a lot of clever ways to kind of set reward perks so that you can get you know A hundred dollars from one person and potentially up to a thousand dollars from another person.

Alex Bond: No, that's great. Are there certain perks for like products in the entrepreneur space that succeed better than others? I mean, I know you and your team aggregates that demand ahead of time, but when it comes to getting that organic, those organic backers. Are there certain perks or products that they gravitate toward more?

Will Ford: Yeah. So I'd say in general, I'd say most of our clients have consumer tangible products. So for us, it's really easy to be honest, because once we take them through pre launch and we have the data we need. Well, all we're really doing is we're just pre selling the product or we might resell a bundle pack of the product, right?

So we can kind of increase that AOV for people who want to put more money in or get more product. So for us, as long as we make them feel They're going to get that product first and that they're going to get a special lower price off of what the eventual retail price will be. We generally get a really good, strong conversion there, right?

But when it comes to your world, like the indie films and TV pilots and that sort of thing, you're not necessarily selling a physical tangible product. That's where you've got to be a little bit more creative as to, okay. What, why would people give us a hundred bucks? Maybe, maybe just getting that credit and being on screen and having their name there, maybe that is enough for them to put a hundred bucks in and we can test that through our reservation prelaunch funnel system.

Maybe we want to test a higher price point. Maybe we want to say, Hey, if you put in. You know, 2,500. We're actually going to invite you on set during the shoot so you can meet the cast and meet the team, right? People love that. And maybe that's a limited number. And obviously they pay for their own airfare and accommodation and hotel accommodations, that sort of thing.

So I've seen some people like, you know, depending upon who, what actors or actresses are participating in the films or TV pilots, you know, maybe there's some like branded apparel. Or memorabilia that they personalize and sign thanking that person who might be a super fan, right? 

So there's a lot of different ways we can strategize and think through reward perks to be able to get, you know, maximum exposure, maximum, maximum excitement, and obviously maximize those conversions.

The Evolution of Indiegogo and Kickstarter: Assessing Their Growth, Popularity, and Future Trajectory

Alex Bond: I'm curious with your experience, how Indiegogo and Kickstarter have performed since their inception. You mentioned, I want to say 2006, 2007, something like that. They've been around that long and how have they evolved or devolved in that time? Are they the most popular they've ever been? Where will they be in five years? Maybe from your experts shoes, give us a little context on where they are in their life cycle a little bit. 

Will Ford: So Indiegogo opened their doors in 2008. And then kickstarter, like shortly right behind them in 2009, I'd say from that point early on in the early years, if you had a cool product, you could just literally post it without any prelaunch because they already had the community and you could generate a ton of revenue fast.

And so that caught the attention of a lot of other entrepreneurs early on. And so then there was a flood of, you know, campaigns coming in once that happened. That's when we realized you need to have a pre launch you got to prepare these deals in order to outperform all the other competitors. And that's why a big reason why we started launch boom. 

So I'd say from like early inception when they opened their doors up until about, you know, 2016, 2017, it was just surging like the growth of the backers year in, year out. I mean, they were, you know, raising billions of dollars, supporting millions of entrepreneurs worldwide. It was phenomenal. 

And that's honestly why I made my bet and put my hat in the ring and decided to start launch boom. As we got to about end of 2016, early 2017. It started to kind of plateau where like big growth we saw in these campaigns kind of kind of flattened out and then all of a sudden the pandemic hit in 2020 and crowdfund surged again because government was handing out money.

People were at home more, spending more time on social media board backing more projects, which I never would've guessed, but that's, that's what ended up happening. So crowdfunding again, surge, we saw massive, massive growth from 2020 to 2021 and then 2022. The economy was super shaky post pandemic. 

So honestly, like not only reward based crowdfunding, but I'd say like equity crowdfunding, I know a lot, like I know everyone in the crowdfunding industry. It believe it or not, it's pretty small space. And I know all the players and everyone definitely had a rocky year in 2022, but that was the opportunity for us to pivot. 

And create a better model. In essence, what we are is we're an agency killer, right? Like we're trying to democratize the process cost way down for the entrepreneur to make it more fun, less risky and to you know, honestly, like allow these entrepreneurs that we work with to avoid having to hire an expensive agency that even their margin.

And so, yeah, I would say ever since we made that pivot in July 2022 to where we are now which is August 1st today, I've seen the market bounce back tremendously. So this year, in all honesty, has been the best year I've ever experienced in the crowdfunding space. We're starting to see that growth.

And again, it's why we continue to double down and continue to direct all our launches that make sense for Kickstarter and Indiegogo to go there. Because I also get questions every day too. Hey, why can't I just launch this on my e com site? You know, I have a lot of clients that already have eCommerce businesses.

And they're looking to crowdfund the new product to tap into a new audience and bring new customers into their e com site. And they're like, why can't I just do the launch on my own e com site? And I'm like, you can, but you're going to get a much lower return on ad spend. 

And you're probably not going to raise as much, or you can take that new product into Kickstarter, Indiegogo, tap into massive communities, new communities, resell thousands of units, and then bring them back into your e com site and sell them other products.

The Future of Crowdfunding: Exploring the Impact of Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and the Shape of Launch Boom in the Next Five Years

Alex Bond: I'm curious what the shape of launch boom looks like in the next five years. I mean, is it totally dependent on the shape of Indiegogo and Kickstarters and crowdfunding and, you know, use or decline of those things? I mean, what's your game plan looking toward the future? 

Will Ford: Yeah. I mean, just to keep it simple, our game plan, our game plan. So right now, like I said, when I was an agency from 2015 up until the end of 2021, we had service to. Over a thousand clients, we delivered over a thousand successful campaigns on Kickstarter Indiegogo. It was great. We learned a tremendous amount. 

Once we made that pivot last July up until today, August 1st, literally we have brought in almost just over 1,200. New clients, because now we have a lower cost barrier. So we can work with everyone that's launching new products. The idea is to continue to support these entrepreneurs and continue to provide value.

So they stay in our community, right? Because what happens after crowdfunding? Well, they're going to want to go on and scale. And they're going to want to keep growing. So we're right now building out programs and systems to help continue to support them as they move out of crowdfunding and go into scale.

And so the idea is, you know, 3, 5 years from now we know we've got 1,200 active community members in our launch boom platform today. I see launch boom becoming unquestionably the largest crowdfunding platform that actually supports. The largest volume of entrepreneurs worldwide. 

And so, you know, three to five years from now, I'd love to see, you know, tens of thousands of community members in the launch room platform. I'd like to see them hanging out with us for years because they're continuing to get value from being in the platform. 

I want to be able to honestly see these entrepreneurs go through the crowdfunding system, stay in the community. Continue on through scale and have massive exits, right? Like to me, that's why I love what I do today still because it's so fun over the years. I've had so many clients come to me that had a good idea. 

And then we were able to have a really great Kickstarter campaign or Indiegogo campaign. And then we take them into e commerce and we help them continue scaling faster that way. For example, my favorite thing is when they quit their day jobs. And they do this full time. 

And then to see them take it to the next level and eventually get acquired for tens of millions of dollars or hundreds of millions of dollars, which has happened to some of my clients in the past. It is so cool to see that experience for someone who had the courage with a great idea to actually take a chance. 

And actually go outside their comfort zone and, and try to launch that product. So for me, that's what keeps me going here. And that's what keeps me genuinely, truly excited about the work we're doing here at LaunchBoom.

Alex Bond
Alex Bond

Meet Alex Bond—a seasoned multimedia producer with experience in television, music, podcasts, music videos, and advertising. Alex is a creative problem solver with a track record of overseeing high-quality media productions. He's a co-founder of the music production company Too Indecent, and he also hosted the podcast "Get in the Herd," which was voted "Best Local Podcast of 2020" by the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia, USA.

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