Thank you to Split Rock Partners for underwriting the Entrepreneur 2 Entrepreneur Series so we can hear it from the source.
Colin Hirdman has been practicing tech entrepreneurship since 2007 when he and partners Zack Steven + Josh Becerra formed Monkey Island, LLC — named after childhood experiences growing up in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood.
They’ve spawned a lot of products over the years and hit a nerve in the market with their latest invention: FLUID is an iot water meter that raised $116k on Kickstarter last month from ~600 backers. Let’s hear more from this winner about how they did it:
Why the decision to turn to Kickstarter/crowdfunding?
We wanted to get some proof of concept and market validation and felt like crowdfunding was the way to go. Also allowed us to get funding for the first manufacturing run and we wouldn’t need to dilute our equity.
What was the campaign creation and launch process like?
We spent 3-4 months planning the Kickstarter which included building support, identifying media contacts/bloggers, creating a video and crafting our story, etc. We put quite a bit of time into the video and made that our primary sales tool for our Kickstarter. The launch process through Kickstarter was quite simple, the most difficult thing was planning out the reward levels.
Once you launched what were the first three things you did?
The first thing we did was to notify our supporters that the campaign was live. The second thing we did was to begin notifying media contacts about our campaign and to see where we were able to gain traction. The third thing was being acutely aware of people contacting us and responding quickly. Once your campaign launches be prepared to answer questions and interact with many people for many different reasons (supporters, investors, distributors, etc.).
What was your ongoing strategy to post launch to maintain awareness and keep backers coming in?
We continued to give updates to our supporters asking them to help spread the word and we reached out to many people during the campaign to let them know about FLUID and our progress hoping to get more stories written, social media mentions, etc.
What did you learn from the experience overall?
Much of your success happens before you launch. Be prepared to spend lots of time before the launch prepping your campaign so you have solid assets to help tell your story (videos, images, copy, supporters, etc.).
Most people are genuinely nice! Be honest, communicate effectively, and people will want to help your campaign succeed.
What are three pieces of advice you have for peer entrepreneurs when it comes to crowdfunding?
1. Start with an idea that is meaningful to you
2. Build a team around you of good people that complement each other
3. Start building a community around your idea sooner than later
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The world needs more creators. Take a chance, spend the time, make your idea a reality…you can do this.