Many creatives who decide to go the crowdfunding route in order to jumpstart their project underestimate one thing more than anything else: crowdfunding management. What does it entail? It’s the things that go on behind the scenes or should happen in every campaign that enable products to be created in a quality and timely fashion, fulfilled without problems and shipped without a hitch. Most creatives don’t know anything about organizing those kinds of details, which is why CrowdOx was created. This conversation features Chandler Copenhaver, a key player on the CrowdOx team who walks us through what the CrowdOx system does to help creatives get a handle on their crowdfunding management and successfully complete successful campaigns.

Fulfilling orders from your crowdfunding campaign is an overwhelming experience for many creators

Okay, you have successfully funded your first crowdfunding campaign. Now the real work begins. How are you going to organize all of the backer information, compute the unique shipping costs on each order, organize and distribute the rewards and ensure that nobody falls through the cracks? It takes a lot more than an Excel spreadsheet to make that happen. The team at CrowdOx has created a software solution that integrates seamlessly with both Kickstarter and Indiegogo so that you can pull together all your data and easily see the status on every pledge and fulfillment issue. Chandler Copenhaver is my guest on this episode of Art of the Kickstart, and explains how CrowdOx can help you create an incredible experience for the wonderful people who back your crowdfunding campaign.

If you have a successful campaign, you’re going to need help with your crowdfunding management in order to keep your backers happy

One of the complaints often heard about crowdfunding campaigns is that sometimes backers never receive what they expected. Other times they receive it, but much later than was promised. The reason for these kinds of glitches is simple: dealing with the details of fulfilling thousands of orders is not an easy task, especially if the person in charge of the crowdfunding campaign is not naturally an administratively-oriented person. CrowdOx is a supplement to any crowdfunding campaign that takes the confusion and frustration out of the crowdfunding management process. Find out how you can keep your backers happy by fulfilling every order on time, on this episode of Art of the Kickstart.

What if you could easily offer your campaign backers add-on products or upsells? CrowdOx handles it seamlessly

One of the coolest things Chandler Copenhaver described during this conversation was CrowdOx’s ability to offer supplementary products to backers during the product fulfillment process. Oftentimes, greater profit margins can be realized through add-on products than is possible through the primary product that backers supported. But it’s not just about the profit, those backers receive a bonus that enables them to use the product more effectively, with greater ease or in ways they didn’t think possible. Find out how CrowdOx can help you offer your campaign backers add-on products or upsells by listening to this episode.

No creator wants to spend time figuring out the specifics of crowdfunding management, like shipping costs. That’s why CrowdOx was created

Shipping costs can be one of the most confusing aspects of managing any crowdfunding campaign simply because the variables are almost limitless. Imagine the different things you have to consider when shipping a product to South Africa as compared to shipping it to Dallas, Texas and you’ll get a feel for what I’m talking about. The CrowdOx system integrates with Indiegogo and Kickstarter to enable you to take the pain and hassle out of those kinds of shipping issues. You can get accurate estimated cost of shipping and fulfill your orders without a problem simply by using the tools they offer. You don’t want to miss hearing the details about this incredible software.

Key Takeaways

  • [1:09] How CrowdOx was developed from a point of need of its creators
  • [3:42] When is the best time to reach out to CrowdOx for support?
  • [8:30] Why CrowdOx is a wonderful solution for larger crowdfunding campaigns
  • [11:10] CrowdOx can be used on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo to integrate all orders
  • [13:45] The complicated costs of shipping and how CrowdOx can help
  • [15:53] Advice Chandler gives to those who want to do a crowdfunding project
  • [20:40] Chandler’s view of the future of crowdfunding

Links

Connect With Chandler Copenhaver of CrowdOx

  • www.CrowdOx.com – Overcoming the challenge of managing crowdfunding orders
  • Chandler(at)CrowdOx.com

Sponsors

Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by The Gadget Flow, a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. The Gadget Flow is the ultimate buyer’s guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Click here to learn more and list your product – use coupon code ATOKK16 for 20% off!

backerkit

Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, raise additional funds with add-ons and manage orders for fulfillment, saving creators hundreds of hours. To learn more and get started, click here.

Transcript

View this episode's transcript

Roy Morejon:
Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host Roy Morejon, president of Enventys Partners, the top full-service turnkey product development and crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped startups raise over $100 million for our clients since 2010. Each week I’ll interview a crowdfunding success story, an inspirational entrepreneur or a business expert, in order to help you take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding.

Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit and The Gadget Flow. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data and manage orders for fulfillment by automating your operations and helping you print and ship faster. The Gadget Flow is a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save and buy awesome products. It is the ultimate buyer’s guide for luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Now let’s get on with the show.

Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today I’m joined with Chandler Copenhaver, the director of business development at CrowdOx. Chandler, thanks so much for being on the show today.

Chandler:
Hey, thanks for having us.

Roy Morejon:
So Chandler, you’ve been working in the industry on the crowdfunding side for a few years, working with campaign owners, working with CrowdOx now. Give our audience a brief description about what CrowdOx is and why they need it in their lives.

Chandler:
Absolutely. You know, as many campaign creators know, running a campaigns tend to be more work than they anticipate. A lot people come into it not really knowing how much work it takes to do the video production and creating the page and going through that process of actually marketing the campaign. Which I know you guys are heavily involved with. But interestingly enough, I would also consider, and speaking with a lot of creators, I would consider that portion of the campaign to actually be almost easier. Especially because there are such great partners actually helping with that process. But when it comes to helping with manufacturing and actually fulfilling the product, there’s a lot of headache that is involved with the little steps in between.

So we created CrowdOx actually out of necessity for ourselves. We had campaigns that we had created and fell into this, I wouldn’t call it a trap, but just unexpectedly fell into the headache and the challenge of managing all of these orders. The more successful a campaign gets the more there is a demand and a need to really simplify that process. Especially when you consider that it’s not something you do frequently, especially if you’re a typical campaign creator. Most creators don’t create more than maybe three, four campaigns in a year at the very most. So finding solutions to solve some of those headaches when you’re only doing it irregularly is really important, and so we developed CrowdOx.

Our two co-founders both are developers and have a lot of talent in that area. I thought, “Hey, let’s build it ourselves.” We were able to continue to develop that product over the last about three years, kind of under the radar almost. A lot of campaign creators probably weren’t very aware of us until about nine, 10 months ago. That’s when we really started putting the pedal to the metal and trying to scale our awareness a bit so people can utilize our services.

Roy Morejon:
Let’s talk a little bit about how CrowdOx can help the crowdfunding project creators. You guys take over … when’s the best time for someone potentially to reach out to you guys for support?

Chandler:
The service or the software that we’ve developed and what we do to help creators, helps them at the end of the campaign. Once their campaign is completed, they then receive funds from Kickstarter. They also receive the backer information, all the emails and contact info for some of these backers that they have. They then have the challenge of managing them. When we were at CES just a couple weeks ago we had a chance to talk to some of the Kickstarter and Indiegogo teams and had a discussion about the service we facilitate. Which is, many people call it a pledge management software or a backer support.

What we’re helping with is all these orders, all these backers that have now supported this campaign, now they’re kind of waiting around and hoping to now receive their product. Of course it’s a challenge to do it on time and there’s a lot of work to be done to build the product and to actually send it. We’re helping facilitate that gap and bringing in all of these orders into one easy to manage platform that allows them to then survey and send out basically a confirmation of the order that a backer made on Kickstarter. It bridges the gap. Kickstarter is not designed to be like a website or a web store. It is unique in that way. So what CrowdOx, what we designed to do is to give a bit more of that intuitive feel that most backers are familiar with when they are completing an order. They have the ability to add color or sizes or some of the specifications of their product.

You mentioned, when is a good time for us to get in contact. Because of the nature of what we do helps at the end of the campaign, there’s a lot of value in us communicating with the creator before they launch. Because if we can talk to a creator and we can give feedback and go back and forth on their plans, it will help us disseminate the information. Basically at pledge level, if we look at any Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, a pledge level or perk is basically a paragraph. We have to take that paragraph and turn it into actual products that a person would like to send as a reward or as a kickback for that person helping pledge to the campaign. So if we can navigate some of the ways that things are presented and make it fit really well into the system, it makes it a lot smoother for that creator.

Roy Morejon:
I’d be interested to hear what your conversations with Indiegogo and Kickstarter were, because obviously there’s a gap, which is why sites like yours and BackerKit and PledgeManager exist. Do you think that they’re going to potentially close that gap and have a better customer experience post-crowdfunding campaign completion?

Chandler:
My conversation with [Julio 00:06:56], which is one of their team members, Kickstarter’s executive team members. The comments that he had, he basically said that he was incredibly grateful for that we do, facilitating this gap. Because it’s not something that Kickstarter has focused on, nor will they focus very much on. We are actually endorsed, and I use the word endorsed lightly. It’s, Kickstarter has some different places on their page where they redirect attention to some partners that might help a campaign creator. Of course they have their own survey software that you can send out, but it is designed for a small project.

As you and I both know, what Kickstarter originally catered towards, and even to this day what Kickstarter focuses on, is the campaigns that are highly creative and tend to be rather small. When a campaign has 200 backers or so, somewhere in that smaller range, that’s kind of what they survey software was designed for. It was to facilitate help with these smaller campaigns. Having that said though, we don’t compete with that software. We don’t compete with Kickstarter or Indiegogo in terms of what they’re offering with their current survey. Both companies, both Indiegogo and Kickstarter alike are very much aligned and very grateful for what we can help with, because there are a number of things that we do their software simply can’t.

Roy Morejon:
This is true. I know CrowdOx has worked with a handful of our clients. You know, recently we just had Inirv on Shark Tank. You guys have done some of our million dollar campaigns, like Polygons and GOkey. What’s the experience like for some of these larger campaigns using your software and the ability to manage tens of thousands in some cases backers?

Chandler:
Absolutely. That’s where it really becomes almost imperative that they utilize a solution like ours. When you have that many orders it’s just something you can’t manage through an Excel spreadsheet efficiently. That is where we really get excited because there’s a lot of opportunity for us to help these creators navigate what could be a massive headache, and what ends up sometimes actually resulting in a lot of very upset backers, and of course that makes the creator very upset as well. You bring up Polygons, which is a great example. In fact, we were just reviewing some of the information from that campaign not too long ago. It went very smoothly, very successful campaign that you guys participated with. As we work with those creators with a large amount of backers, there’s a number of ways that we can help engage those backers.

Number one is of course sending out our survey, which allows them to complete their order, confirm any of the selections that they had, whether that be colors or different variants of the product, different SKUs as well. It then allows them to also add-on additional product. They can upsell essentially their creators … I’m sorry, the backers, and make available add-ons.

That’s incredibly important because where Kickstarter and Indiegogo don’t necessarily have a very smooth and easy way for someone to basically pick and choose, this allows a creator to offer additional items. In many cases these additional items that are offered have higher margins than their core product.

You mentioned Inirv for example. Inirv had a very high tech product, the ovens. But what’s great about that product is that it’s somewhat, somebody that wanted, they have maybe multiple homes or something like that, even though they only purchased one unit, utilizing CrowdOx after the campaign in the survey they’d be able to add-on a couple more units or some additional items that were available. Maybe extra chargers, extra battery packs, whatever it might be.

That provides great value to the backer, but it also provides a lot of value to the creator because it helps them balance and maintain some of that margin by adding on these products that typically have better margins than their core product.

Roy Morejon:
Let’s talk about campaigns. Let’s say the majority of campaigns these days are funding on Kickstarter and then migrating over to Indiegogo InDemand’s option. How can CrowdOx handle both?

Chandler:
Absolutely. CrowdOx, we actually work with both Indiegogo and Kickstarter. There’s a high percentage of projects that will run a Kickstarter campaign successfully, they’ll then transition onto Indiegogo InDemand, which we are all for that. In fact that’s part of what I had a conversation with the InDemand team, specifically Natasha over at Indiegogo.

We’re really excited to work together because at the end of the day, Indiegogo provides things that CrowdOx can’t, and vice versa. So in many cases people that run a campaign and utilize multiple platforms, we have a way for them to bring together all the orders.

To give an example of a really successful project, we worked with a campaign recently called Seventh Continent. It’s a very large Kickstarter board game project. They did $7 million. Had just shy of … Well, they had 43,000 backers on their Kickstarter campaign. In their case, they didn’t actually use Indiegogo. It’s not as common for that category to move on to Indiegogo InDemand. But instead they utilized our presale page.

So, in the event that somebody moves on to InDemand, that’s great. We’ll pull in any of the orders directly from Indiegogo’s API, just like we do with Kickstarter, and brought right into the dashboard for the creator. They’ll be able to manage the orders for both platforms. Albeit, sometimes it might be different. On an Indiegogo campaign they might charge 10% to 20% more than they did on Kickstarter, since it’s not the earliest adopters anymore.

It really is up to the creator, and today creators have many variants of strategies. But like I mentioned with, for example Polygons, I know Polygons took that approach. They brought in additional pledges, additional backers through both platforms. Whereas another campaign like Seventh Continent did not, and in that case they used our late backer page, or presale page. They’re the same thing but with different names, many people use different names for it. It allows backers that miss the project to jump onboard even still.

What was great for Seventh Continent, they ended up, even though they had 43,000 in total, they actually ended their campaign with us. We’re closing out their surveys this week. They ended up with just shy of 50,000 orders. It was really a great experience for them to be able to do that.

Roy Morejon:
Definitely a solid milestone there. So in terms of handling shipping costs, obviously this can very complicated for a first time entrepreneur running a crowdfunding campaign. Obviously contacting you guys early on to help navigate those waters, but what other tip would you give to a crowdfunding creator in terms of handling or pricing out shipping costs?

Chandler:
When it comes to shipping costs it can be very, very challenging. Part of the reason is because depending on the region that you’re shipping a product, for example Kickstarter we all know, I mean it’s build out in such a way that I can say, “Australia I’m going to charge this, and Africa, South Africa I’ll charge that.” The challenge is that there are so many different variables that are included when you’re trying to ship. It has to do with which company you’re using. It has to do with where the products are coming from, the fulfillment centers that you might have, where it’s manufactured. So because there are so many factors, it really can be kind of daunting to a creator. We do help with some of those aspects, but we also are creating and establishing partnerships.

This is actually a new exciting thing that CrowdOx is really delving into. We have some exciting news that we can’t quite announce yet, but we’re really close to have announced here soon that even more added integration and support when it comes to these kind of challenges. It will be really exciting to see how that continues to add more value to creators. But as it stands today, we do work with a number of these really great companies, and these companies can help to give feedback on and quotes of what it would cost and kind of give us some basic numbers. Of course, like your mentioning and I know that you guys go through this all the time in preparing with creators early stage, there’s the question of, “How much do I charge? How much do I charge based on the cost? How much do I charge based on having enough margin to cover fees? And then, how much do I charge for shipping on top of all of that?” These are some things that we can help with and give some advice and consultation for.

Roy Morejon:
Solid. What would be your number one piece of advice for someone thinking of launching a crowdfunding campaign project?

Chandler:
I could go on forever on the types of advice we could talk about. But I think one of the main things that I would say is number one, definitely take those extra steps, take that extra time to prepare. Whether that’s preparation of your audiences beforehand, but also the preparation like we’re talking about now, about shipping costs, about what your plan is once your campaign is concluding and successful. Obviously you want to have in hand what you’re thinking of doing in terms of your manufacturer, or at least have some ideas. I’m working with a creator right now for a successful project called BoxThrone.

They’re about to launch their survey in the next few days. They’ve taken their time. They’ve taken their time. The campaign raised $910,000 I think, somewhere in that range. Very successful board game storage product and kind of a shelving unit that’s modular. It’s pretty exciting, they’ll have a lot of great opportunities to offer add-ons and these kinds of things once the campaign is over. But they’re being really … They’re taking their time. They’re being intentional on making sure that they have the right manufacturers lined up, that they have the right shipping lined up. In my opinion you can’t over prepare. The one thing I would say though, in the preparation process you do have to be a little strategic.

A piece of advice I give a lot of creators is, it’s very common in certain categories to do stretch goals and it’s very common for people to offer these add-ons, even sometimes during the campaign. It’s important to be strategic with them. I say that because a campaign doesn’t how their going to do until they launch. BoxThrone to give an example, no one knew that it was going to raise that kind of money. It was a very successful project but very modest expectations originally, maybe 100,000 max kind of thing. In his case, there were some mistakes made just in the preparation of those pledge levels. I’m sorry, not pledge levels, the stretch goals. I believe he knocked out three stretch goals in the first three hours of the campaign. It’s because he reached funding goals so much quicker than he expected. The reason why you would want to spread those out is it gives you content to engage your community, to get people excited about the cool new offerings that you have.

If you knock through most of them within the first couple days or weeks of your campaign, it tends to dry up a little bit at the end of your campaign. So I encourage creators, when they’re preparing and they have stretch goals or they have things that they would want to provide to their backers, definitely maybe show off one stretch goal at a time and don’t over show. Don’t show all your cards at once. It’s a strategic thing, it’s not deceptive, and it allows the creator a lot more control.

Roy Morejon:
Solid advice there Chandler. This gets us into our launch round, where I’m going to rapid-fire a handful of questions at you. You good to go?

Chandler:
I’m ready.

Roy Morejon:
What inspired you to work with entrepreneurs?

Chandler:
It’s something I absolutely love. I would say the main inspiration was I love innovation. I backed the Pebble watch back in 2012, that’s where I got started with crowdfunding. Ever since that I’ve been hooked.

Roy Morejon:
Good campaign to start out with. What’s your favorite crowdfunding project of all time?

Chandler:
Favorite of all time, dang that’s a hard one. You know, let’s say the Pebble. I think the Pebble has been a cool case study for crowdfunding and has changed the game.

Roy Morejon:
Do you still wear your Pebble watch?

Chandler:
I don’t wear my original. I have it kind of in a case. But I do wear the Pebble Time still.

Roy Morejon:
There you go. If you could have a beer with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Chandler:
You know, it would probably have to be Henry Ford or maybe Marcus Lemonis, it’s somebody that’s alive.

Roy Morejon:
Nice. Marcus is a solid dude. If you had a chance to go and hang out with Marcus, what would you ask him first?

Chandler:
I would just love to understand a bit of what gets him most excited about a particular company. I know that he has lots of reasons but I’m sure there are certain things … I don’t think it’s just all profit, right? Even though that’s the name of his show.

Roy Morejon:
Yeah, it’s definitely not all about the profit. He’s definitely a solid dude. I spoke with him last year at the Crowd Invest Summit, so definitely a standup guy.

Chandler:
[inaudible 00:20:27]

Roy Morejon:
What book would you recommend to our audience?

Chandler:
The most recent book would be Linchpin by Seth Godin. It’s a phenomenal book. I actually hated it for the first quarter of the book, which is a sign of a good book because it challenged my way of thinking. So definitely recommend that one.

Roy Morejon:
Yeah. Alright last question Chandler, what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Chandler:
The future of crowdfunding is exciting. Nobody knows exactly where it’s going to go. However, there’s not going to be any shortage of innovation and people will continue to come up with awesome new things. We haven’t maxed that out yet. I don’t think we ever will max out creation and innovation, so I’m excited for it.

Roy Morejon:
I agree. Chandler this has been great. Please give our audience your pitch. Tell them what you’re all about, where they should go and why they need to go check out CrowdOx.

Chandler:
Absolutely. CrowdOx, what makes us unique is we can help your campaign once it’s over, to really smooth out all the headaches that are there. We do so in a very cost-effective way. We’re a very lean business, just like you’re trying to create your business to be, and it allows us to pass those savings onto you. It’s going to be much more affordable than some of our competitors and allow you to have the opportunity to not make that a big headache. We want you to be focused on the after. We want you to be focused on selling your product once you get to stores. Let us help you smooth out that process and lift those burdens. The best way to get ahold of us about your campaign, you can visit our website at crowdox.com. That’s crowd O-X, like the animal, kind of that lifting burden analogy, crowdox.com. You can also reach me directly, chandler@crowdox.com or sales@crowdox.com

Roy Morejon:
Awesome. Chandler, thank you so much for being on the show. Audience, thanks again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for all the notes, the transcript and links to everything we talked about today. Of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, The Gadget Flow and BackerKit. Chandler, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Chandler:
I appreciate it. Thanks.

Roy Morejon:
Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a business, world and life with crowdfunding. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, awesome. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com and tell us all about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes, our Kickstarter guide to crushing it. Of course if you loved this episode a lot, leave us a review at artofthekickstart.com/itunes. It helps more inventors, entrepreneurs and startups find the show. It helps us get better guests to help you build a better business. If you need more hands-on crowdfunding strategy advice, please feel free to request a quote on enventyspartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in. We’ll see you again next week.