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PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG

Kickstarting a people-powered revolution

A look into the Kickstarter-based crowdfunding community in Singapore.

Anna Fernandez
Anna Fernandez

Published: 15 November 2016, 8:29 PM

Kickstarter has always been a household name but only recently brought its charm to our shores. With people from Singapore and Hong Kong collectively pledging over 300,000 times on more than 40,000 creative projects around the world, it is no surprise that the crowdfunding site decided to launch in both countries this August.

In just two months, over 170 new campaigns have been established here.

Youth.SG spoke to some local creators to find out more about the dynamic Kickstarter-based crowdfunding community in Singapore, which is still in its nascent stages.

One of the unique things about the community is that it is not confined to the online realm. In fact, there is a store in Orchard Central stuffed exclusively with Kickstarter projects which opened in September.

“For a Kickstarter campaign, you’re actually not buying a product – you’re buying into the idea, and want to be part of the journey. This store represents the power of the crowd and what people as a group can come together and do, hence the store’s name, We The People,” said Ryan Sim, 27, one of four co-founders of the store.

We The People aims to educate potential backers about the stories behind each project, which also addresses concerns of transparency, and is a much-needed physical space for creators to leverage upon.

 

RYAN SIM AND JOEL LIEW, TWO OF FOUR CO-FOUNDERS OF THE WE THE PEOPLE STORE.

 

“A great Kickstarter campaign page is important, but I think most of the backing that happens comes from each creator’s relationship with their audience outside of Kickstarter,” said Ailian Gan, 34, creator of 100 Days of Childhood Memories, a book compiling Singaporean childhood stories.

The store embodies a vital aspect of the crowdfunding community in Singapore – that of forging personal relationships, not only with potential backers and complete strangers but also with friends and fellow creators.

Face-to-face connections prove important for many entrepreneurs to get the word out about their crowdfunding endeavours.

With the site’s recently unveiled Kickstarter Live feature, which champions real time community engagement, it is evident that personal connections prove important for many entrepreneurs to get the word out about their crowdfunding endeavours.

Raymond Lay’s Really Really Fresh Coffee movement was thrust into the public sphere after he met Gan Kah Hwee, who started the Journey to Zero Waste Life in Singapore Facebook group. She was interested in having coffee at one of their events in early October and so partnered with Raymond.

This led to more people becoming aware of Raymond’s campaign, which was eventually over 200 per cent funded.

 

RAYMOND’S REALLY REALLY FRESH COFFEE CAMPAIGN ADVOCATES
ROASTING COFFEE ON DEMAND TO REDUCE WASTAGE.

 

Relationships fostered on Kickstarter itself between creators also prove critical in determining the success of a project.

One of the more widely recognised methods of getting more traction on one’s campaign is through cross-promotion, which involves letting backers know of other projects in campaign updates.

Brian Ong, 25, creator of Hydra explained: “The idea is for campaigns to mention each other in updates so they gain each other’s audience. However, this can also be seen as spam to backers, so the ideal cross-promotion would be between related campaigns.”

 

BRIAN ONG, CREATOR OF HYDRA, AN AUTOMATED INDOOR
WATERING SYSTEM FOR THE BUSY URBAN GARDENER.

 

Creators are not the only ones working together – backers have also found external sites where they can band together to get discounts on projects they want to back.

Dominic Huang, creator of Sweet Spot: The Tennis Card Game mentioned: “They [backers] usually go onto meetup.com which is a website where you arrange meetings for perfect strangers who share the same kind of interest. People post about group buys on Kickstarter because sometimes, if you buy multiple sets, you save on the shipping.”

 

AN EXAMPLE OF HOW BACKERS USE MEETUP.COM TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF GROUP-BUY DISCOUNTS FOR KICKSTARTER PRODUCTS.

 

Barely two months since it began here, Kickstarter’s DIY-nature is already revolutionalising the way ideas are brought to life. With the community growing on a daily basis, it’s exciting to see where they will be going from here.


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