UPDATE: I'm flattered this post got so much traction. Please visit my personal website at www.nickhatter.com for more great posts like this!
As some of you may know, I used to be an indie developer before founding giftgaming, an in-game advertising platform, which delivers powerups and coupons from brands to players as in-game gifts. And so far, most of our funding has come from crowdfunding. To the best of my knowledge, no other in-game ads platform out there has been funded in the same way as us.
Last Friday, I put my second Seedrs crowdfunding campaign live. Even though our last campaign smashed its £10k target by 374%, I was still nervous. It's the same kind of feeling of going into a "boss battle" without a save point. Do I have everything ready? Will I die?
After clicking the go live button, my heart raced. I emailed our pre-signups list, and let our current crowdinvestors know the campaign was live. No investments came through. Did I set the valuation too high?
Then suddenly, like driplets out of a tap: £2,000. £4,000. £10,000. Over the weekend, I visited my godparents on the other side of the country. When I returned, by Monday we were on £25,000. It's now Wednesday, and we've reached over £35,000. To quote Anchorman, "well... that escalated quickly."
Our target was £30,000; a modest amount for a company in our stage of development, but the reason was that we wanted as a minimum, to be able to have a 6 month runway to give us time to close a bigger round from business angels.
But if you think about it, crowdfunding makes a lot of sense for us. Many of the investors from Seedrs who have invested probably play games, and understand the pain better. The fact that we've had 89 investors in a few days and over £35k invested, indicates to me that what we're building is what the people (and players) want.
At this stage, we want to focus on getting more game publishers and brands using giftgaming, rather than chasing investors -- which is why we're going to accept overfunding up to £150,000.
We now have "inbound sales"; game developers reaching out to us because they want to non-intrusively monetise their games, or what we're building fits nicely with their game. Three game publishers are in the process of integrating giftgaming. One game publisher network is in the process of integrating giftgaming and has access to over 120 million monthly active players. We also have affiliate networks who are working closely with us and helping us reach their brand clients, and have 50+ brands on board via affiliate programmes.
Some of the brands giftgaming has affiliate programmes with:
Of course, there are a few secrets to our campaign's success so far. One of which is we have received a lot of publicity, such as winning TechCrunch London Meetup, launching at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe and being featured in various publications such as Management Today. Our brand is beginning to have a small amount of kudos attached to it. PR and reputation is the nitrous-oxide to any crowdfunding campaign.
I believe we have the antidote for an apocalypse where players are turned into video-ad-watching-zombies by the mononlith that is incentivised video ad companies backed by venture capital firms.
If you think we do too, you can invest as little as ~£19 in giftgaming (your capital is at risk).
We've got the game publishers, we've got the brands -- now we need to scale. To do this, we need a technical sales team to help us get more game publishers. And crowdfunding will help us do just this.