In many ways crowdfunding site Kickstarter can be considered an ecosystem in and of itself, used by startups as both a pre-sales marketing platform and a way to get projects funded that might otherwise never get off the ground. But there also exists a wider ecosystem around crowdfunding, such as design and marketing companies, along with, largely, Asia-based manufacturers. Now a new venture is hoping to ride the coattails of the Kickerstarter ecosystem by offering a way to get your crowdfunding campaign in front of a community of Kickstarter power backers — for a fee.
Washington, US-based BackerClub, founded by Mark Baker and Billy Smith, is a members-only pre-launch site for Kickstarter campaigns. To become a member you need to have previously backed 50+ projects on Kickstarter — Baker says that there are 25,000 Kickstarter users who qualify, most of whom have backed “hundreds or even thousands of projects” — after which you’ll get access to BackerClub’s vetted list of upcoming or newly launched Kickstarter projects, helping to separate the wheat from the chaff. Crucially, each Kickstarter campaign listed includes extra perks for BackerClub members, which is how the site hopes to draw those power backers in.
For those who pay to have their crowdfunding project listed — $299 per submission — the problem BackerClub wants to solve is that many successful campaigns succeed in-part because of pre-launch marketing, which ensures a project launches on Kickstarter with enough momentum for other potential backers to open up their wallets. Just like traditional investors, crowdfunding backers are wont to follow.
“This year I’ve been giving advice to many crowdfunding projects in their pre-launch phase,” Baker tells me. “What I’ve come up against time and time again is that it is really hard for great projects to connect with potential backers before they launch. But, launching strong on Kickstarter makes all the difference in a project’s ultimate success.”
The broader vision, however, is to become the “premier pre-launch stop for serious campaigns,” adds Backer. “After today, we will no doubt have the highest concentration of influential and active Kickstarter backers in one place… likely thousands.”
Should BackerCub achieve that vision, the young startup is bound to get the attention of Kickstarter itself and it will be interesting to see if the crowdfunding site is willing to play ball. Many of the BackerClub launch listings also make mention of the new venture on their Kickstarter listing itself, which could potentially be a stretch too far.
More generally, however, BackerClub is competing with traditional pre-launch offerings, such as LaunchRock, Prefundia, and Erli Bird.