Tips for Running a Successful Kickstarter Campaign: Meet Petcube
(Reading time: approximately 6 minutes)
Petcube Camera may be the first true Internet of Things gadget specifically catered to the pet industry. Petcube Camera allows pet owners to talk to, watch, play and even share their pet adventures from anywhere using their smartphone. This 1.3 pound cube keeps people connected to their pets and acts as an interactive pet monitor with real time video and even has a built-in laser pointer. Yeah, that’s right. Frickin’ lasers.
Petcube made their mark on Kickstarter and boy was it big. The product was initially funded on Kickstarter and became one of the most successful crowdfunded pet products in history. After a mere 33 hours the company had already reached half their fundraising goal. They have an extremely impressive social presence boasting over 130,000 likes on Facebook and over 16,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram combined.
Needless to say this pet brand is picking up serious steam. We chatted with Yulia, Business Development Manager at Petcube, about their journey, how important online product information is, and what Petcube has learned about running a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign.
Quick facts about Petcube’s Successful Kickstarter Campaign
- The company was seeking $100,000, and they ended up doubling their goal
- Petcube reached half their fundraising goal in a mere 33 hours
- Petcube was backed by 1758 backers
- Those backers pledged a whopping $251,225 to bring their project to life
- The company garnered a massive social following and a ton of media hits
The idea for Petcube was inspired by a tiny Chihuahua who despised being alone
I asked Yulia how was the idea for Petcube born and she said it all started with the founder Alex Neskin having a problem with his Chihuahua Rocky, who hated being alone. She mentioned that every time Alex left for work, the dog started to scratch and bark so loudly that the neighbours even threatened to call a police on the poor little pup.
Alex created an Arduino-based robot that consisted of a web camera and a remotely controlled laser pointer to play with Rocky through a web interface and distracted the puppy from barking. That’s how the first prototype of Petcube Camera was born. Soon Alex’s friends Andrey Klen and Yaroslav Azhnuyk joined him to found Petcube.
From prototype to validating product market fit on Kickstarter
Some say that Kickstarter doesn’t validate product market fit but validates your product idea. Launching a crowdfunding campaign can help you solidify your marketing messaging and see what really rings true for customer acquisition.
Ultimately a successful Kickstarter campaign has a ton of people put their money where their mouth is.
I asked Yulia about validating product market fit for Petcube on Kickstarter. She noted, “Validating our product was one of the main reasons to launch our Kickstarter campaign. It’s not about the money, but rather about measuring the need for what you do. With our $100,000 goal achieved in less than a week, we could easily see that people needed a product like Petcube.”
Looking to validate a new product? Learn how @Petcube used @Kickstarter to do just that.
It’s important to do your Kickstarter homework
Last year Kickstarter released an invaluable resource called the ‘Creator Handbook‘. The guidebook is described as a “one-stop guide to designing a solid Kickstarter project, presenting it effectively, finding backers, and delivering on your plans.”
When talking with Petcube, with their knowledge of Kickstarter, how much of their own research did they conduct for running a successful campaign and what were their key takeaways. Yulia noted, “First of all, we wanted to assess the demand for our product through crowdfunding. We did a huge research and a great homework, focusing on the quality of our photos and video materials to present our project in the best way possible. And it worked!”
Included in their Kickstarter homework was acknowledging the significance of reaching out to relevant tech bloggers and pet lovers. Petcube received loads of press in tech publications like Wired, TechCrunch, Forbes, Fast Company and many more. By doing a ton of hyper-targeted outreach to tech bloggers and reaching out with very personal messages they were able to receive high volume coverage.
Relay your product story on Kickstarter and start compiling your content early
Remember that people fund people, not just ideas. It’s important introduce the face behind the project and to communicate the people and the passion behind the idea your crowdfunding. Are you a passionate entrepreneur? Highlight your entrepreneurial spirit shine through in your photos and videos. On top of this it is helpful to thoroughly communicate your product benefits, the problem it solves and key features.
Yulia noted, “The story of Petcube Camera shows how it actually solves the real problem that has been faced by many pet parents, and it was very important for us to share it with Kickstarter community.”
When it comes to keeping their product story and brand assets organized, Petcube uses Hubba as a way to relay their product content to their retailers and ultimately to their consumers. Petcube realized the importance of maintaining a single source for their product information and Yulia noted, “As we develop and implement our sales and distribution strategy in the US, Canada and globally, we found Hubba to be the perfect, easy to use platform to store our content and share it with one click with current and potential partners. It makes a big difference when you have to update the assets only once and everyone can see an instant change.”
Staying organized with your brand assets and product story starts you off on the right foot from the get go if you are planning on launching a Kickstarter campaign. Having everything in once place means you and your team are all working off the same page and telling a consistent product story to your crowdfunders.
The best piece of advice for starting a campaign of your own
I asked Yulia, what’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone starting their own campaign? Without hesitation she said, “Do your homework! Explore as many success stories and fail stories as you can to see what would work for your campaign. Invest in great product description, high-quality, captivating photos and video. Prepare the list of media that would cover your product. Planning everything in advance is the best thing you can do.”
Planning ahead can mean up to a year in advanced. Really give yourself ample time to get your campaign looking top-notch. Remember that the Kickstarter community really cares about design and it helps you to convince them that your idea is trustworthy and fundable.
Thinking of launching a Kickstarter campaign? Step 1: Do your homework and focus on design.
Life post Kickstarter: What’s next for Petcube?
Petcube is on a mission to improve pet owners lives with technology and help them take better care of their pets. Yulia mentioned the company is now testing placements at major national retailers in the US and Canada including: Best Buy, Brookstone, Amazon, and Fry’s to name a few. Yulia noted, “We have also launched Petcube for Shelters, a special program allowing all Petcube App users to interact with pets available for adoption. Petcube Camera is our first product, and there is still a lot to be done.”
We are excited to watch this Kickstarter success story grow and continue to push the boundaries with the Internet of Things. Keep up the awesome work, Petcube!
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