Hardware Crowdfunding Platform, Dragon Innovation, Offers $100K Seed To Projects That Raise $1M

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Makers looking to squeeze a little cash from the crowd to get a project off the ground have more choice than ever before about which crowdfunding platform to position their project on. From big names like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, to a the go-it-alone route (Selfstarter) or a raft of smaller platforms with various targeted/niche approaches.

And with crowdfunding becoming increasingly, well, crowded, these platforms are having to work harder to poach promising projects off each other.

Case in point: relative newcomer to the crowdfunding platform space, Dragon Innovation, which is focused on hardware and has put in years as a manufacturing consultancy but only months as a crowdfunder platform, nabbed Internet of Things hardware catalyst project, the Wunderbar, out of the clutches of Kickstarter earlier this month.

“After first being accepted to launch on Kickstarter and planning it, we were approached by the expert team at Dragon Innovations in Boston… to launch on their crowdfunding platform,” said Wunderbar’s Jackson Bond, explaining why the switcheroo.

“They conducted a due diligence on the product and really wanted to help us launch it, with PR, marketing, and manufacturing expertise, also because their audience is Internet of Things ready.”

Dragon Innovation isn’t only doing business development via last minute pitches to promising makers. Today it’s stepped up its wooing efforts with an offer of $100,000 in seed funding to all projects that launch on its platform starting from this month and go on to pass $1 million in crowdfunding raised.

So that’s a guarantee of a little follow-on funding if your project can nab a decent chunk of crowdbacking on Dragon’s platform via this January ongoing offer.

It’s worth noting that, to-date, no projects on Dragon Innovation’s platform have passed the one million dollar mark — so clearly it’s hoping to raise its own profile by bagging some higher calibre projects here. Dragon only launched its crowdfunding platform last October, although it’s been offering various services to makers since 2009 (and name-checks MakerBot, LIFX, PerkinElmer, Scout, Romotive, Sifteo and Orbotix as being among its customers).

The most a project using Dragon Innovation’s platform has raised to-date is the $196,682 raised by Tessel: an Internet-controlled microcontroller programmable in JavaScript.

In addition to $100,000 in seed funding — which will come in the form of a convertible note (converting into equity upon predetermined thresholds) — the entrepreneurs behind qualifying projects will be offered anything from Dragon’s suite of services that might help them develop their business further, such as connections to manufacturers and to other potential investors, and consulting about scaling their operations, it said. 

“The primary motivation of this program is to help companies grow and thrive,” Dragon Innovation added — albeit, the business of developing its own crowdfunding platform, and using that platform as an on-ramp to its additive hardware consulting services, is clearly also part of that growth target here. 

“We envision Dragon Innovation as the official home for hardware, providing entrepreneurs everything they need to launch products and scale their companies,” said Scott N. Miller, CEO and co-founder, in a statement.

“By working closely with great entrepreneurs from the very beginning, Dragon can provide a full spectrum of resources and experience to help companies succeed. It makes natural sense for us to extend this commitment in the form of funding to help hardware entrepreneurs achieve success.”