For this episode of Art of the Kickstart, we caught up with Thomas, the co-founder and Head of Communications at Reclouder. Tune in to learn more about how the team created their smart hybrid audio recorder, why they turned to crowdfunding to grow their product, and how they applied cutting-edge strategies to their lead generation tactics leading up to their campaign.
Topics Discussed and Key Crowdfunding Takeaways
- The importance of the crowdfunding landscape for their product as it pertains to crowdsourcing feedback
- Why they chose Indiegogo over Kickstarter
- How they engaged with early, interested backers before their launch to gauge genuine interest
- How they’re using email marketing, Facebook Messenger chat and more for lead generation and incubating
- Why Reclouder chose Enventys Partners as their crowdfunding marketing agency
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!
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.
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 a hundred billion dollars 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 cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Now let’s get on with the show.
Welcome to another edition of Art Of The Kickstart. Today I am talking with Thomas, the co-founder and head of communications at Reclouder. Thomas, thank you so much for joining us today on Art Of The Kickstart.
Thomas: Thank you for having me.
Roy Morejon: So I’m really excited about this innovation and to talk to our audience about this. You and your other co-founders have created the easiest way to store, sync and share audio recordings. You have an upcoming launch that will be on Indiegogo. So I’m really excited to talk about where did this inspiration to create Reclouder started, where did you get into the music industry and create this new innovation.
Thomas: Okay, well I can explain that briefly. A Reclouder is a project that is part of the CME company and CME runs multiple projects with the motto, “Music has value,” and our goal is to develop hardware and software and trial solutions that benefit independent curators such as musicians and filmmakers and people like that, to improve their workflow and to offer them monetization solutions. So that’s basically what we do as CME. When we were working on one of the other projects and we were designing a promotion campaign, a marketing campaign, we decided to shoot a video with multiple cameras and a live band on stage. When we were running this project, we found out that setting up this recording environment for multiple sound sources, like a band, and with multiple camera angles was really complex and time consuming and also brought a lot of frustration to the team.
So at that point we found out that all audio recording solutions are centralized. This means that they need to be operated by a single person that owns all the expertise and experience to work with such recording system. So we thought, “Okay, this is quite a complex situation because we need to spend extra money to hire such an educated person.” So we ask ourselves, maybe this is the reason why there is not that much high quality live music available online. At the same time we thought live music and the live music experience is maybe the best way to experience music. So that’s why we came up with Reclouder and that is a solution that is really easy to operate by any creator so it fits the workflow of a musician and a filmmaker and how do you say it? It offers a solution to record high quality audio for any creator without any technical knowledge. So Reclouder is a recording [inaudible 00:04:23] solution that saves time, money and actually gives any creator access to the entire production process no matter the level of technical knowledge.
Roy Morejon: Beautiful. So when you guys were creating Reclouder, what did that process look like? How did you guys go about deciding what features to include, how to design it and then also a built-in companion app that goes along with it?
Thomas: Well, there were some things that are important for us. The first thing is we wanted to deliver a recording box that was focused on recording. So we didn’t want to find a substitute for the already available microphones, or for the already available cameras in the market. We wanted to create preempt books that offer the solution for high quality of recording. During the process, we wanted to find a solution for as many creators as possible.
So we created something, a smart recording solution that is that fits the workflow of both musicians as well as a filmmaker, but also any other creator that works in the audio world, like broadcasters or public speakers. So we work in pretty agile way, that’s one of our trademarks. So it’s really important for us that we come up with ideas and then immediately test and get feedback from the online community. That’s why we worked with a crowdfunding campaign because we were really interested in what people and the potential users of our products think of it. During that, we found that we needed to adjust our system a bit. What do we did is create a [inaudible 00:06:26] and expanded it, to the modern technology. So that’s why we chose to add a cloud service to it so that we can keep developing this cloud service to the needs of our customers. Yeah, that’s basically it.
Roy Morejon: Impressive. Any challenges along the way? Given that you guys have been developing products before, I’m sure you have a fairly good implementation system in place, but any challenges while designing the product or developing the app at the same time?
Thomas: Yes, of course there are challenges because developing a new product is quite expensive. We need high quality software developers, app developers, cloud developers, but also hardware developers and so it’s a large team of people. Because we are this agile team that really thrives on the feedback we get from the community, we encountered much feedback from online, from potential users that made us adjust a few things along the way because we also wanted to offer a solution to as many creatives as we could, so we wanted to keep it as open as possible. But yeah, at some point we want to keep the price as low as possible. So we cannot please everybody, so we have to make decisions to leave things out and to focus on particular points.
Roy Morejon: Absolutely. So in talking about the upcoming Indiegogo campaign one of the biggest questions that we always get from our audience and our listeners in the entrepreneurs and startups that are in this community is deciding on which platform to launch on, whether it be Kickstarter or Indiegogo. So given that you guys are launching on Indiegogo, what was the process around that in terms of deciding which platform to launch on?
Thomas: For me, this is a quite a personal idea behind the Indiegogo, there are two things that, as far as I know are different in Indiegogo compared to any other platform, is one that we can offer secret link to early backers. So as I said before, we we need the communication with our community and so to prove our concept, we provide them a way to already deposit $10 and get a discount when the crowdfunding campaign start so that we could see in the beginning, in an early stage, are people really wanting to invest, or buy, or purchase our product already, what we have now? So we needed a proof of concept in an early state and Indiegogo was one a way to do that. Another decision point was that with Indiegogo, we can expand the sales process. I’m not English, so sometimes I cannot find the right word but after the campaign ends, we still have an environment where we can sell our product.
Roy Morejon: Oh to stay in demand you mean?
Thomas: Yeah, to stay in demand. Exactly, yeah.
Roy Morejon: Got it. So let’s talk a little bit about … You had mentioned getting customers to potentially pre-purchase or put a $10 deposit down on the product before it goes live to gauge interest. What were some of the other prep work, or marketing endeavors that you guys took on leading up to the Indiegogo campaign launch next week?
Thomas: Well, as we do with our product, we want to design cutting edge technology. Also with our marketing, we do the same. We have myself and the head of marketing are really dedicated to find the newest ways to promote. So we [inaudible 00:10:30] to shift away from the traditional mailing list, newsletter construction like with lead generation, to the more a modern form, it’s a simultaneous [inaudible 00:10:44] so we offer both, of Facebook Messenger because we saw that with Facebook Messenger we can reach a lot of people, within Facebook with Facebook advertisement and we can build a list there. So in the beginning, this was quite quite interesting because the Messenger environment also gives us many opportunities to directly communicate without sending emails, with just one click. But we can ask several questions, we can offer multiple clicks and we can offer a really interesting flow to our fans, to our follower is the correct word.
So we were really happy with what Facebook offers us with the Messenger system. The only problem with Facebook is that they have this thing that they can change the rules while playing the game. So along the way, they changed the many ways to communicate with your Messenger list, so that was a bit of a challenge along the way.
Roy Morejon: Interesting. So that’s great that you’re using Messenger chat. I don’t think a lot of our audience has dove into that in terms of an additional marketing opportunity to truly have a conversation with your crowd and with your community before launch. Engaging and getting information from them, giving them information about it and potentially seeing different ways that they may be using this product before their campaign goes live.
Thomas: Exactly. That’s exactly what we done and that makes it really interesting because you are in some kind of chat environment so you can ask questions, they can leave comments, they can give feedback, which is really important to us. They can say to us, “Well I don’t think this is a good product.” Then we can ask them in a chat [inaudible 00:12:38], “Why not? Why don’t you think it will fit your workflow.” Then when we have the time to explain why we made some decisions and what we can do in the future, we even have the opportunity to people who in the first case don’t really see the solution we offer. We do have the time to change their mind-
Roy Morejon: Exactly.
Thomas: This is really good for us because the people who don’t see the solution and take the time to communicate with us, to explain that, are maybe the most interesting followers because they can give us really valuable information to what we need to change to address our solution to a wider range of people.
Roy Morejon: Yeah and I think that’s a critical point that a lot of people and startups miss, is truly having that feedback cycle or loop, to have a constant communication with the community that you’re building and the constituents that make up your user base, that you’re able to grow this product and have them become your brand evangelists because you truly did take the time to listen and have a one to one conversation with them and see how this product fits into their life and how you potentially improve it when you make the next version.
Thomas: Yeah, yeah. That is really important for us. So it gives us information which direction and which decisions and which pain points we need to discuss as a team because it’s a product for creative people, like the musicians and the filmmakers are really creative people, and every creative person has some kind of different workflow. So it’s really complex to offer a solution for all and that’s why we are really interested in, okay, but why does this fit your workflow and why doesn’t it fit your workflow and what can we do to make it better? I think half of the product and the changes we’ve made where left from feedback we got.
Roy Morejon: Yeah, no, that’s great. What tips would you have, Thomas, for someone else looking to build their company, or start their company in this category, in terms of manufacturing, marketing, or product development?
Thomas: That is a good question. What kind of tips? Well I think that my tip would be to start communicating with any person outside of your team about your product and to gather as much feedback as you can and don’t be afraid to allow people to not like your product because that’s the most important part. These people don’t see your solution, so then you can ask yourself, “Okay, what’s not good enough about my product and what do I need to improve?” I think that’s really important because otherwise you end up in a tunnel vision, you know, because-
Roy Morejon: Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. Thomas. I think there are so many people that are out there that are pitching their idea to their friends and family and their friends and family are like, “Oh, that’s the greatest idea. That’s so good. You should go invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into that thing and bring it to market,” when your friends and family aren’t usually going to be the people that are buying or purchasing that product. You’re just in this echo chamber of everybody said it was great and then when the product goes live, nobody’s there and none of your friends are backing the thing because they have no interest in the idea itself.
Thomas: No. So your friends or family are great but not to develop products.
Roy Morejon: Exactly. Solid tips there. Well Thomas, you’ve been working with us at Enventys Partners for a while now. What were some of the biggest considerations that you guys and your team went through when choosing an agency to partner with for your upcoming Indiegogo campaign?
Thomas: Well, in the first case, the company CME has done a crowdfunding campaign before and they did it all by themselves. So the results were okay but not great. So at the moment we started develop Reclouder, and we thought we need to bring this to a market or a wider audience than we can do ourselves, we started to consider that we needed experts in the field of crowdfunding. We started to search online and we came in contact with Enventys and the most important decision that we’ve made is that you are experts on Facebook marketing lead generation and you offer solutions in this way. You have done many and people know how Facebook advertisement works know it’s about the audience you have created. So you have a history of a crowdfunding backers’ audience and this is really valuable for us. Plus you have experience in creating a successful crowdfunding campaign. For instance, myself, I can do a lot of myself, but it’s always a lack of time and devotion. So are we need to focus on developing the product and sharing our story and we hired the experts in the crowdfunding to do the crowdfunding.
Roy Morejon: Absolutely.
Thomas: Similar, like I can learn how to code an app, but it will take a long time. So it’s better to hire somebody who already can do that.
Roy Morejon: Absolutely. Well Thomas, this is going to get us into our launch round, where I’m going to rapid fire a handful of questions at you. You ready to go?
Thomas: Yes, let’s go.
Roy Morejon: So what inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
Thomas: I want to be a independent and take care of myself and to be an entrepreneur means that you can do and create things yourselves and be responsible for everything you do and I just love that.
Roy Morejon: So if you could jam with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?
Thomas: I have no idea. I don’t look up to people in particular. So I don’t have anybody really for you to answer this question.
Roy Morejon: Favorite musician of all time?
Thomas: [inaudible 00:19:05].
Roy Morejon: Okay. Who did you look up to growing up?
Thomas: Well, also a good question. I think my mother, because she took care of the whole family by herself.
Roy Morejon: Absolutely. Any book you would recommend to our listeners?
Thomas: Well, I was just finishing the book and I’m looking for the title, but I think it’s called The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck.
Roy Morejon: Yes, great read, bright orange cover, right?
Thomas: Yes and there’s a new one with me on the table, which is ready to be read. I think it’s Everything Is Fucked, or something.
Roy Morejon: I’m sensing a theme here, Thomas.
Thomas: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I like the title, but I read the book and I thought, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can relate to this book. It’s a good book.
Roy Morejon: There you go. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Thomas: Well, I have my own company, I have my own marketing agency and I work in a music marketing and management and I love the world of music. So I see myself and my company growing in this particular way and I’m doing a pretty well, so I’m okay as it is. So if I can be healthy and in the same place as I am now, I’m already really happy.
Roy Morejon: Beautiful. Last question, Thomas, and I know the campaign hasn’t gone live yet, but I’ll ask it anyway. What does the future of crowdfunding look like?
Thomas: That’s a difficult question, also. I don’t have a direct answer, sorry.
Roy Morejon: That’s okay. I know we haven’t launched the campaign yet, but it will be live soon. So Thomas, this has been really enjoyable. I think our audience is going to love this. This is your opportunity to give the audience your pitch, tell people what you’re all about, where people should go and why they should check out Reclouder.
Thomas: Well, Reclouder is a hybrid recording solution. It’s an essence of a high quality field recorder and we added cloud automation to keep developing and offer an online solution which can keep adapting to the needs of our customers. We are the first company that offers a decentralized recording solution because we haven’t discussed it yet, but you can link Reclouders through Bluetooth and you can record multi-track and that suits the needs of not only live musicians on stage but also multi-camera projects.
Roy Morejon: Beautiful. Well audience, thanks again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for the notes, the transcript, links to the campaign over on Indiegogo, and everything else we talked about today. Thank you again to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors the Gadget Flow and BackerKit. Thomas, thank you so much for joining us today on Art Of The Kickstart.
Thomas: Thank you for having me.
Roy Morejon: Thanks for tuning into 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, and 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 this show and 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 eventyspartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in and we’ll see you again next week.