Sponsored Content by Indiegogo

From democratizing capital to building brand communities: crowdfunding’s ever-changing impact on innovation

Changing the way products are brought to market, crowdfunding has been fueling innovation for over a decade — and it’s only getting better. Today, platforms like Indiegogo are taking crowdfunding to a new level, offering entrepreneurs options and support to grow their ideas into booming businesses.

“Crowdfunding has evolved into more than just a means to raise money,” says Natasha Raja, Vice President of Marketing at Indiegogo. “From building brand awareness to collecting consumer insights and market validation, it’s a way for entrepreneurs to tell their stories, make valuable business connections and turn clever ideas into successful products.”

Here’s how entrepreneurs and enterprises are using crowdfunding today to innovate their business.

Building a loyal brand community

Exposing their ideas to global audiences of innovation seekers, today’s entrepreneurs use crowdfunding as a way to find and target their ideal consumer market. Turning backers into brand champions, they gain more than just funds to create their project — they collect valuable product feedback, validate ideas and cultivate a loyal following.

In the crowdfunding world, a happy backer is one of the best things for your brand. Satisfied supporters will be loyal advocates for your tech and design product.

“Indiegogo’s dependable network of over 9.5 million early adopters are eager to support new innovations,” explains Raja. “In fact, our amazing backer community has raised more than $1.5 billion. In the tech and design product category alone, they have contributed more $645 million. ”

Finding the right partnerships for success
A big part of crowdfunding is the campaign, but nowadays there’s a lot more to it than that. From planning to prototype and fulfillment, it takes a lot of effort to bring an idea to life — and even more goes into turning a successful campaign into a thriving business.

To help innovators thrive in today’s crowdfunding arena, Indiegogo provides an artillery of resources including strategic partnerships with some of the world’s top companies like Arrow Electronics and Ingram Micro Commerce.

“Entrepreneurs have a tough job – they need the right support along their path to success,” explains Raja. “Whether they need help creating a pitch video or navigating the ins and outs of manufacturing, we have the experts to assist you at every step. This allows entrepreneurs to focus on their tech and design products and do what they do best — innovate.”

Growing with equity crowdfunding
Options for scaling your business with crowdfunding go beyond collecting funds and selling perks. Equity crowdfunding provides a unique way to turn your backers into investors and grow your business. In fact, dozens of companies have raised more than $12M from investors on Indiegogo’s platform.

For Republic Restoratives, the first women-owned distillery in Washington, D.C., equity crowdfunding provided a unique opportunity for business growth without sacrificing control. Their Indiegogo campaign generated more interest in their business than they could have ever imagined, reaching its goal of $300,000 from 600 investors. According to co-founder Pia Carusone, equity crowdfunding saved the them from taking on debt with bank loans or forfeiting a large stake of the company to a venture capital firm.

Innovation validation for large enterprises

Even Fortune 500 companies are tapping into the power of the crowd to de-risk and accelerate innovation. Industry leaders, such as Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and Sony, have used the platform and its network of early adopters to conduct real-time market research and validate new products.

In less than 10 days, Bose established a new market and acquired its first customers for wireless earbuds that block the sound of your partner’s snoring.  Indiegogo’s early adopters gave Bose a resounding green light for its new sleep technology by voting, not just with opinions, but with their wallets.

Reaching audiences across borders

Traditionally, companies in China have struggled to find footing in the US. Chinese entrepreneurs have often lacked the strategic partnerships and firsthand experience to overcome barriers to entry. But crowdfunding is changing all of that. Even well-established Chinese companies are using crowdfunding to take popular innovations onto the global stage.

In recent years, companies around the world have used platforms like Indiegogo to build brand awareness, generate consumer feedback, and get market validation — all of which are particularly important for a foreign company in a US market.

“Indiegogo’s China Global Fast Track program has already launched hundreds of successful campaigns, including 24 campaigns that have raised more than  $1M each,” explains Raja.

The future is bright
As crowdfunding evolves, the options — and opportunities — it provides entrepreneurs continue to grow by leaps and bounds. To date, Indiegogo has helped crowd-funders from more than 235 countries launch more than 830,000 projects. From partnerships to valuable user data and analytics, Indiegogo offers the most comprehensive, end to end support and platform for entrepreneurs looking to bring their innovative tech and design products to life.