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How to start a crowdfunding website like Kickstarter?

Web development

How to make crowdfunding website?

We all heard about Kickstarter, Patreon, Indiegogo, and other platforms that help raise money for various ideas and projects. But few people know that these sites work for a reason: they keep 5% of the collected funds as a reward for intermediary services. It is a considerable profit. In this article, we will tell you how to create a full-fledged analog of such a platform.

What is a crowdfunding website? 

Crowdfunding is fundraising for any cause: helping affected people (charity), launching a new business project, releasing some things, materials, etc. The first time the term crowdfunding was registered was in August 2006. Crowdfunding allows you to get the financial resources necessary to launch a project in a relatively short time. The most famous crowdfunding site is Kickstarter. There are others: Indiegogo, Fundl, Planeta.ru, etc.

6 steps to build a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter

The target audience of the crowdfunding platform

It is essential to determine the niche and target audience before starting development. You can develop a crowdfunding platform to raise money for charitable projects, shooting films, real estate construction, video game development.

Kickstarter initially focused on small P2P campaigns. Anyone could go to the site, create their initiative, and ask for financial support from the site’s users even if it was some kind of nonsense, like looking for money to make potato salad. A few years later, the area began to finance large projects in which ordinary users and large companies and accredited investors can participate.

Indiegogo started in 2008 as a platform for funding projects in the film industry, which allowed it to stand out among others and get the first crowdfunding projects.

Patreon was launched in 2013 to help bloggers, youtubers, streamers, artists, and musicians accept money from fans of their work. That is, it is a platform for collecting donations.

It is worth taking a responsible approach to choosing a niche since this significantly impacts the platform’s functionality and design. It will also give you a long-term vision of how the platform should develop, where it will be advertised, and what fundraising tools need to be integrated into it.

Analyze your competitors, understand market needs, and find users' problems to offer your solution to it.

The business model of crowdfunding platform

Once you have decided on your niche, you should choose a business model for your crowdfunding platform. Conventionally, there are 5 types of business models:

  1. Donation. Funds are transferred without compensatory refunds and rewards. Previously, this was practiced only by charitable foundations and political organizations. Today the scheme is in demand by almost everyone who uses the Internet. It is enough to organize a channel for collecting donations and a system for calculating them for reporting to the project community.

  2. Rewards. In this case, assistance to the project is provided in exchange for a prize (non-financial). It can be a trivial thank you note, providing a free sample of products, or opening early access. In the case of physical products, the system remains the same as for Donation. If a digital product is being sold, then a scheme is needed similar to Patreon (extra opening content for donations).

  3. Debt. Funding is based on debt obligations: upon the project’s implementation, investors receive investment and interest. The collection can be carried out according to P2P, P2B, or B2B scheme. Accordingly, you will need functionality to calculate interest payments and remind depositors of the need to accrue them. Simultaneously, the right to recover debts must be supported by a national license (of course, obtained for a fee).

  4. Equity. Startups are supported at an early stage of their development. In this case, the investor receives a percentage of the capital (shares, a full-fledged share in the business). The difference is that the investor becomes a shareholder or co-owner of the company. It is often used when implementing blockchain projects (ICO, STO).

After choosing a crowdfunding model, you need to determine the financing conditions. Each platform has its funding conditions. We propose to decide on the following parameters:

  • Registration rules for project initiators and investors.

  • Financial goal and the size of the minimum or maximum investment.

  • The number of days of the crowdfunding campaign and the rule for early fundraising.

  • Roles of the initiator and investor: anonymity, country, legal status, investment amount, etc.

Monetization of crowdfunding platform

Based on your chosen niche and business model, you can select the right monetization model. You can choose one model or combine several.

  1. Interest collection. Most platforms that work with small or creative projects charge a percentage of the founders of the crowdfunding fees as payment for intermediary services. For example, Kickstarter takes 5% on projects that meet financial goals. IndieGoGo also takes 5% from successful campaigns and 9% from those who failed to raise the required amount.

  2. Listing fee. When investors are offered equity participation in a project (shares, profit share), the platform usually charges a price in the form of a one-time payment for listing the project. According to SEC regulations, such sites are not entitled to charge commissions on investment payments. The amount of fees depends on the specific site.

  3. Service fee. This model is commonly used by P2P lending platforms such as LendingClub, Prosper, and Landpay. They charge a commission to the organizers of crowdfunding fees, take a fraction of the loan taken, charge for each profile view, or charge a percentage of the lenders' annual margin. So, at LendingClub they charge 1% of each payment of the borrower, and at Landpay you need to pay 2-2.5% for viewing the profile and issuing a new loan and 0.5-1% from the annual margin.

  4. Subscription fee. It is rare, but some crowdfunding sites charge a membership or subscription fee. Usually, the prices, in this case, are fixed and tied to access to services. For example, you pay $100 a month, and you can start three projects, $150 - 10 projects, $300 - unlimited projects. This model is popular on music sites, photographers, and other people looking for money for small, short projects. An example of a subscription site is Fundable, to access which you need to pay $179 per month.

  5. Advertising fee and additional services. The price for the fact that the crowdfunding project is placed on the platform’s main page is at the top of the listing or is recommended for regular investors. You can also charge money for consulting services, due diligence materials, and the placement of traditional contextual advertising. This monetization model is usually used in addition to one of the above. And it assumes paid promotion of projects.

Crowdfunding site features

After going through all the preparatory steps, you already have an idea of your crowdfunding site features. The next step is the design and technical implementation of the project.

In this article, we will look at the basic functionality of a crowdfunding site like Kickstarter. We want to say right away that depending on your needs and business models. You can add or change features.

In our project Raise for All, a charitable crowdfunding platform, we implemented a cool feature that you could donate money and any necessary things. It has dramatically increased users’ engagement who are afraid of bumping into scammers but want to help others.

Registration and authorization

In the absence of public accounts, investors should register on the project to make a transfer. The registration form should be made as simple as possible, but at the same time, it complies with the KYC / AML rules. The last condition should be observed unquestioningly to not fall into the field of view of regulators, which are continually tightening supervision of platforms that conduct any financial activity.

Account management

User account and content control should be simple and straightforward. Investors should have a monitoring tool to control their activity. Accordingly, you will need a module that displays transaction history, generates reporting, and visualizes information about deposits graphically.

Project initiators need functionality to get started and control campaigns. It all depends on which monetization model is used.

Monetization and project management

Like Kickstarter, owners of a crowdfunding site need to have full control over the platform, user accounts, launched projects, content content, monetization scheme, and KYC / AML verification procedures. All this should be monitored online with the collection of statistical data and reporting.

Deposits and withdrawals features

The most popular financial platforms for connecting crowdfunding with investors are PayPal and Stripe. Profile gateways can be used - LemonWay, Reyker, GCEN. We must not forget about local financial organizations and cryptocurrency channels, provided that they can be used at the regional level.

Security system and technical support

In addition to protecting the resource itself and ensuring user data confidentiality, you need to understand how to deal with fraudulent activities (a common occurrence in the crowdfunding market). To begin with, it is necessary to organize the implementation of KYC / AML verification procedures, but this is not enough. Often we are talking about manually checking each launched campaign. Consideration should be given to ethics, trolling, applicable laws, and other limiting factors.

Design responsiveness and brand app

The success of a project depends on whether it is convenient to use or not. We are talking about adaptation for smartphones and desktops and television, gaming, or VR devices.

In addition to responsive website design, you need to provide users with an alternative in mobile software. In 80% of cases, the audience chooses exactly branded applications and not the browser.

Development and technology 

The next stage of launching a crowdfunding platform is writing the code for the site, testing it, and deploying it. Development can be started from scratch, which is long and expensive, but gives maximum control and allows you to create a truly unique website. Or you can use templates and almost ready-made solutions. We have prepared several templates for you:

  1. White label: Launcht, CrowdValley, CrowdfundHQ, Invested.In, Towema, CrowdForce

  2. Open source: Catarse, Selfstarter, CrowdtiltOpen, Spot.us

  3. WordPress theme: IgnitionDeck, FundingPress, Fundify, CrowdPress, Campaignify, Franklin

Custom development of a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter will be much more expensive than the template version.However, custom development will help you stand out from the rest, making your site more recognizable. Crowdfunding is a challenging task, so take care to select a team with expertise in this area. For example, we in Sannaсoda developed the Raise for All charity crowdfunding platform. In our work, we faced many challenges, which we talk about in our case.

Marketing

It is not about promoting a ready-made crowdfunding site, but about marketing tasks at the website development stage. We recommend that you immediately start marketing activities such as:

  1. Domain purchase. Register a domain with the desired name before your competitors do. If the title you want is already taken, you may be able to redeem it on sites such as eBay, Afternic, Flippa, and Sedo.com.

  2. Start promoting on social media. Register accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Youtube, and promote your platform there. Come up with promotions, discounts, and other bonuses for those who are the first to register on your site.

  3. Have a landing page. Just because the crowdfunding platform is still in development doesn't mean that the domain name should be empty. Use it to launch a beautiful landing page with information about your site, crowdfunding terms, and pre-registration bonuses.

  4. Get feedback. Use social media and landing pages to conduct surveys among potential users about their vision of the ideal crowdfunding platform and how well your work matches this vision.

Once your crowdfunding platform is ready, we recommend running the following marketing activities to boost your launch:

  1. Organize an event to announce the launch of your crowdfunding website as a Kickstarter. To make as many people as possible know about the event, invite journalists, investors, startups, and media personalities. The format of the event can be different depending on the goals of the platform. It could be a press conference, party, performance show, or presentation. It all depends on your imagination and budget.

  2. Before launching, find some exciting projects that are ready to use your platform for fundraising. Offer them honorable conditions and promotions using your site. Do everything so that the first initiatives raise money as soon as possible.

  3. Organize email marketing and social media campaigns in advance. You can use Constant Contact, MailChimp, Mad Mimi, Aweber, or other marketing tools to do this.

  4. At the start of the project, you can make significant discounts for the first users or give bonuses.

In the end

To create a space where an organization can maintain relationships with the Internet community, it is necessary to develop a dedicated platform, spending a sufficient amount of money and time. Our company offers services for creating crowdfunding platforms that allow you to draw attention to your project and collect the necessary funds. Thanks to the extensive crowdfunding opportunities, more people can learn about your project and take part in it. We offer solutions for opening new portals and adding crowdfunding functionality to an existing site.

To launch a crowdfunding website like Kickstarter, you need to go through the following steps: 

  1. Choosing a niche and target audience 

  2. Building a business model 

  3. Selection of a monetization model 

  4. Choice of basic features 

  5. Crowdfunding platform development 

  6. Marketing

Fill out the form on the website and get an individual calculation of your crowdfunding platform’s cost.

 

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