Christian Montoya

What if the Kickstarter fails?

This entry is cross-posted from Medium.

There are 7 days left to go in the GIF Jockey Kickstarter and the project is only 10% funded so far. It’s highly unlikely, although not impossible, that the funding target will be reached in a week. This calls for some reflection and an update on what I plan to do despite the outcome.

There are a few reasons I’ve come up with for why this crowdfunding campaign has failed to attract a bigger haul:

  • The product is niche. I thought I was being conservative enough in accounting for this by only asking for $10k, which is not a lot as crowdfunding campaigns go (and coincidentally, $10k really is what I need to be able to work on this project full-time for another month, since I don’t have a buffer in my bank account any more). But what I didn’t realize is that,
  • Software campaigns don’t do well on Kickstarter. I didn’t realize this until after I had already launched my project, but browsing the software projects on Kickstarter reveals that the vast majority of them never reach their goal, while projects for physical gadgets have a better success rate. My mistake was that I projected the success rate for physical gadgets and applied that to my estimate for my software project without accounting for the disparity between success rates. But furthermore,
  • Marketing this project has been a lot more difficult than I expected. I assumed that getting a project approved by Kickstarter would automatically bring in some useful traffic and maybe even generate some press… I was wrong. I ended up scrambling to do as much PR reachout as I could without spending any money (again, because I don’t have money to spend) and managed to land a feature in The Creators Project, which I’m very proud of, but then of course press doesn’t necessarily correlate to eyeballs, so I didn’t actually see a boost in backers as a result of this (I saw the same outcome with the press I received for No More Kings).
  • I haven’t attracted enough large-amount backers. Almost all the backers have come in at the basic $9 tier for the premium version of the app and that’s it. Maybe the larger reward tiers weren’t attractive or maybe backers can’t afford to put in bigger amounts. Whatever the reason, at this amount I would need over a thousand backers to hit the goal… not likely to happen and not the way that most Kickstarter campaigns reach their goal.

Now it’s possible that by some stroke of good fortune, this campaign could get featured by Kickstarter or some influencers in the next week and get funded overnight… I’m not ruling out the possibility. But just to reassure people who have backed the project, I’d like to give a rundown of what I plan to do should it not get funded.

Rest assured that GIF Jockey will launch in June. I can’t promise that it will have all the features that I laid out in my Kickstarter description, because I can’t say how much time I’ll get to work on it between now & then, but what I will say is that the current version on Desktop has most of what I already promised for launch, so whatever time I have between now and June should be enough to wrap it up. Which brings me to my next point: I will likely have to push back the release date for the mobile version. How far, I can’t say yet. There’s a lot more tedium associated with the mobile versions (and while iOS and Android are both relying on the same framework, due to different plugin interfaces they have two separate codebases at this point), so just to ensure that I can deliver the core product without running myself ragged, it’s best for me to narrow my focus for now. Plus, my backers so far have mostly been professional & amateur VJs looking to use this on their desktop platform of choice, so I think they’ll be happy with this plan. I can’t offer any timeline for features and updates post-launch, but I do plan to keep supporting the project and eventually add key features like MIDI support and external display support (hopefully before the end of 2016).

Anyway, if you’re reading this and you’d like to back the project on Kickstarter, go right ahead! If the project fails you won’t be charged any money at all. And even then, stay tuned for an update regarding an official release date.

Thank you for reading • Published on April 26th, 2016 • Please take a moment to share this with your friends