Inside the BreadBro Kickstarter Campaign


The BreadBro Kickstarter Campaign has concluded! 149 Backers pledged over $11,000 to help us bring BreadBro to life! THANK YOU BACKERS!

We wanted to share a behind-the-scenes perspective of our Kickstarter Campaign to help other Open Hardware enthusiasts with their own crowdfunding endeavors.

After the initial BreadBro prototypes were completed and we had shipped out our first Beta test units, we had a well-developed Bill of Materials (BOM), and a good idea of what it would cost us to build BreadBro.

Almost every component in BreadBro is subject to a volume discount from our supplier. For example, the ATMEGA328 microcontroller at the heart of a BreadBro (or any other Arduino Uno compatible device) costs $3.57 each - or $2.61 each at quantities over 100. This price break was what we needed to achieve, and why we turned to crowdfunding.

We developed our crowdfunding campaign with a few values in mind:

  1. A focus on the product. For example, we decided to skip the "Talking Heads" shots common in Kickstarter campaign videos and focus on the product's features. Although it may not be causative, our video play-through rate increased by 7% over a previous unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign.
  2. A Focus on financial needs, not on wants. For example, we knew that we needed about $3,000 to build our first run. We only asked for $1,000 because, if necessary, we could bootstrap the remaining funds ourselves. Additionally, by building a lean campaign, we increased our probability of success and got valuable insights into the size and disposition of our market.
  3. Open Communication. We were lucky - our only tech debt issue was resolved a week into our campaign, and our design is ready for production. However, we maintained routine updates for and responses to our backers throughout the campaign. If and when things go wrong, it's important to be open about it with backers.

Before we launched, we tried to build up as much of an audience as we could. We focused on Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook, ultimately building a following of about 400 before launch. We found that Twitter and Reddit were ultimately our best channels for reaching Open Hardware enthusiasts.

In the early days of the campaign, we spent money on ads on Reddit, Google Ads, Facebook, and Twitter. While these ads did generate backers, and enough pledges to justify their expense, they were not particularly successful. We decided to focus on directly engaging with our community.

Roughly midway through the Kickstarter campaign, we were lucky enough to be selected as a "Project We Love" by Kickstarter! This had a huge benefit for us in terms of exposure - for at least a day, we were the Featured Technology Project on the Kickstarter homepage!

The Funding Progress of the BreadBro Kickstarter Campaign

The Funding Progress of the BreadBro Kickstarter Campaign

As crowdfunding continued, we observed a pattern common in many successful Kickstarter campaigns: and early rise, followed by a reduction in the pace of pledges. This pattern held true for us as well, except during our time as a featured project. The Kickstarter community is great, and we were overwhelmed by the response.

Ultimately, what we learned is that engaging with the community is worth much more than ads, and that the best way to engage the community is to have a great product and be totally open about it.

Over the next few weeks we'll be updating you as we go from Crowdfunding to Production! Stay Tuned!

Mark & Steven