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Posted by superadmin on 07/08/2018 23:30 in 2015

Max Lobovsky was so fascinated with 3D printing that he quit his doctoral degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to take 3D printing seriously. Lobovsky founded his new company Formlabs to manufacture inexpensive 3D printers. His dream came true when he proposed the 3D Printer Form 1 Project on the famous fundraising website Kickstarter. The project proposal at the site earned 2.9 million dollars from 2,068 fund contributors within 30 days. That fundraising enabled Formlabs to walk into America’s 3D printer market the way the famous firms, such as 3D Systems and MakerBot, did.

Nowadays, crowdfunding is a new alternative for raising monetary contribution that gives dreamers a chance to realize their dreams, just like in the case of Lobovsky. Crowdfunding is raising the fund from the crowds who are interested in a specific idea and want to make that idea real. The new way of fundraising can be conducted at crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Quirky, and Indiegogo. The process is simple. All the fundraisers need to do is explain about their projects, the desired amount of money, and the date that they think they can supply the product to the project contributors. This is because the contributors would normally be rewarded with the first lot of products. Scott Thomas, a designer, mentioned about crowdfunding that “it is a great opportunity that our imagined product can be made real ourselves.”

With the model of crowdfunding, finding a fund to foster a business does not necessarily depend only on a bank or investors anymore. Brian Fargo, the producer of a famous game Westland, said “Having been proposing to game companies around the world for 20 years, we did not have an opportunity to make Westland possible as we wish. But since the first time we proposed to the crowd, our proposal got accepted. Instead of making big game firms trust us enough to fund us, we asked gamers whether they wanted to play Westland.” Moreover, crowdfunding in a way is like a product trial in the market. If the proposed project receives good feedback, it has a high potential to gain attention from general public. On the other hand, if the proposal does not attract the fund, it is a sign that the project owner should improve his work before the actual production.

“When you say you would give me money and, within 2 years, I will make something cool. That means you have created a relationship based on trust. If you do something that destroys that trust, you are nothing but a fraud.” Eric Migicovsky, the brand owner of the famous watch Pebble, raised the fund of 10 million dollars, 10 times higher than he had expected. Migicovsky said that it was a burden that he had to bear when 65,000 people ordered his watches even before they were made. He had to hire additional employees to reply over 9,000 emails that flooded the inbox, asking about the progress of the project, and to post the status of the project regularly to keep the contributors updated.

More importantly, the fund does not guarantee success. In 2012, Julianne Pepitone from CNN reported that 84 percent of the 50 most successful projects of Kickstarter were unable to supply the product to the contributors within the proposed time. Only 8 out of 50 projects were able to supply the products to the contributor in a timely manner. Lobovsky’s 3D printer form 1 was also delivered 6 months late due to production problems, resulting in many accusations from the contributor that the project owner was a hawk. This issue creates flaws to this means of fundraising that might destroy the trust of contributors in the future.

Crowdfunding turned the means of investment to a new page by opening an opportunity for manufacturers, both big and small, to weave their dreams without reliance on the traditional ways of fundraising. However, the sustainability of this fundraising relies on us who creates it, like Set Godin, a writer, once said “You don’t need to wait for a firm to determine what you want to do. You can do it. The revolution is right before you. Keep it well. Don’t let it go sour.”

Reference:

Crowdfunding offers alternative to traditional investments

Success of Crowdfunding Puts Pressure on Entrepreneurs

Why 84% of Kickstarter’s top projects shipped late

What is Kickstarter

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