Early last week, we had an inside look at Looksery.com – an upcoming app that provides real-time facial transformation for social video. Victor Shaburov, CEO of Looksery (founder of Handster which went on to become Opera Mobile Store) called me on Skype to let me know he launched a crowdfunding project for Looksery on Kickstarter.
Looksery app brings face tracking and transformation technology for video chat, video selfies and photos to mobile devices.
You will be able to download Looksery from Opera Mobile Store when it is released (anticipating late July, 2014). We will be the first to carry it – at least 24 hours before it becomes available on Google Play.
By contributing to Looksery’s campaign on Kickstarter, you will be able to get it earlier along with a variety of other cool prizes including free storage, premium filters, hoodies and more – relative to your contribution level.
This lends to a perfect opportunity to help promote his new project while at the same time elaborating further on crowdfunding campaigns as a funding option for mobile app developers. You get to see the real thing – in progress, now!
Non-equity Crowdfunding Projects enable anyone with an idea to approach people to help them launch it. In its most simple context, crowdfunding is a pre-order marketing mechanism. Most of the projects launched on a crowdfunding site like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Rockethub, etc., are in the early to mid development stages. Crowdfunding is an option to running up high interest credit card bills and an option to traditional funding sources (i.e. banks and small business loans).
Equity crowdfunding is a different ballgame altogether, more tightly regulated, more formal and correlates to contributors receiving some kind of “share” or equity in your endeavor.
Not so with non-equity projects – where the incentive to the customer is a “prize” – of some sort. Typically, the “prize” is the product that you are developing, often with other marketing components.
Looksery Crowdfunding Prizes
With Looksery, the prizes are well-defined and perfectly proportional to the funding level to which they are associated. The prize packages run from $5 to $1500, though anyone can make a $1.00 contribution, too.
The majority of the prizes are directly associated with the Looksery app. The accessories are all in the purview of useful marketing tools, the kinds of things you want to have on hand for a product launch. In short, Looksery provides a good example of the kinds of prizes you would want to look at for your crowdfunding project.
Getting the Word Out
Anyone going into a Crowdfunding Project, especially an All or Nothing style Kickstarter Project, needs to go all-out – just like you would and should do when formally launching your app. What applies to crowdfunding applies to product launches and vice versa.
Crowdfunding is an excellent approach to ramp up pre-launch buzz by getting more people interested and vested in your project. Your crowdfunding backers are all potential evangelists for your product.
Media – Since my last post, Looksery has been featured on Tech Crunch, Business Insider, C-net, Kickstarter, Marketwatch, among others. It is clear that the Looksery team has focused heavily on getting exceptional media exposure. That is very important. You want to do your best to get the same kind of coverage when launching your app. Don’t be disappointed if you are not quite as successful as Victor is a high-profile tech personality with some very successful start-ups backing him.
End-Users – Media’s not everything though – it is a building block. The more you can get, the better. Ultimately, you need to reach end-users. That will rely much more upon e-mail campaigns. Most crowdfunding projects realize the majority of contributions from people who know the project owner or people who are on the project’s crowdfunding team.
Crowdfunding is not easy. Most people do not go to Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platforms to do window shopping for products that are not available “now”. They go there because they know someone who encouraged them to take a look at something they might have an interest — or to support someone they want to succeed. That is a large part of the crowdfunding paradigm. Really good products with mass appeal can and do go viral.
Email marketing is a huge component of any successful crowdfunding campaign.
For now though, I will wrap this up as I find the more I talk about crowdfunding, the more there is to talk about. We will continue to follow the Looksery Project.