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Life After Kickstarter

When the goal is met and the campaign is over

January 8, 2014 By Danielle Beurteaux
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HIDDEN, the makers of HiddenRadio radio and wireless speaker, had a choice to make: Was it better to keep up production with their first model, or concentrate their resources on the new-and-improved version? They went with the latter, which is why, heading into the fourth quarter all the units on their website were sold out.

“With hardware, every time you do a production run, it’s a lot of money so we had to decide if we wanted to put that into sales or did we want to put that into production, and we just decided to bet it all on the new product,” says John Van Den Nieuwenhuizen, who founded San Francisco-based HIDDEN along with partner Vitor Santa Maria, who are both industrial designers.

 

HiddenRadio raised almost $940,000 during its first Kickstarter campaign (751% funded), but to keep their product current and incorporate design improvements, they launched a second campaign in December for HiddenRadio2. Like many new, small companies that have used Kickstarter campaigns to launch products, they’ve had to grapple with the realities of having a viable product and building a company for the long-term. As a powerful, high-traffic site that attracts backers, Kickstarter can be great to get start-ups started, but what happens after the campaign ends?

 

Preparing for Product Life Post-Kickstarter

Once a Kickstarter campaign is over and its goal met, that’s the end of one project, but it’s the beginning of the rest of a product’s life. Even for products helmed by leaders with consumer electronics experience, issues can arise, like production problems.

That’s what happened with People People’s Transparent Speaker, which raised $170,000 during a campaign that ended in January 2013. Even though the company lined up their production ahead of time, their manufacturer’s quality was below par, which delayed the project by several months. “They overpromised that they could deliver on our design intent and their sound wasn’t that good so we had to change pretty late in the game,” said Martin Willers, co-founder and head of new business at the Stockholm, Sweden-based design firm. “But we’re looking at it long-term and we don’t want to stress and risk getting a product we’re not super proud of.”

 

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