Kickstarter crowned itself as king of crowdfunding early on, giving entrepreneurs and creatives a space to raise early funds for their ventures. For certain types of businesses and projects, Kickstarter is a great place to introduce new concepts to an audience and raise the money needed to bring them to life. Hardware innovations and cause-related campaigns often do extremely well on the platform. Software and app startups, on the other hand, don’t usually share the same success. Luckily, there are several Kickstarter alternatives that can give software startups the boost they need.
In the following post, we’ll review five of the best Kickstarter alternatives for app startups and provide some examples of software products that were successfully funded through these platforms.
Indiegogo is a crowdfunding platform that has long been considered one of Kickstarter’s largest competitors. As an international platform, Indigogo allows anyone to raise money from anywhere, and for any reason.
Indiegogo includes a variety of categories that cover just about any business or cause-related venture. Specifically, these categories include:
- Tech and Innovation: This category includes sub-categories such as Audio, Camera Gear, Education, Fashion & Wearables, Food & Beverages, and more.
- Creative Works: Sub-categories include Art, Comics, Film, Movies, Tabletop Games, Video Games, and more.
- Community Projects: Sub-categories such as Culture, Environment, Human Rights, Local Businesses and Wellness.
In comparison to Kickstarter, Indiegogo features several unique features. The most notable of these is the ability to access funds even if the campaign has not been fully funded. However, all-or-nothing campaigns typically have better results than keep-it-all campaigns. In a study of 22,875 crowdfunding campaigns, each of which was trying to raise between $5,000 and $200,000, those who used a keep-it-all model only met their funding goals 17% of the time, while 34% of all-or-nothing campaigns hit their fundraising goals. Furthermore, all-or-nothing campaigns attracted 188 backers on average, while keep-it-all campaigns attracted around 73.
Another major difference between the two platforms is that Indiegogo also allows for equity-based crowdfunding, while Kickstarter only allows for rewards-based opportunities. For businesses that are seeking investors as opposed to donors, Indiegogo provides a valuable opportunity to secure funding in exchange for a small ownership percentage.
Although Indigogo is one of the largest and most well-known Kickstarter alternatives, it is extremely tough for app startups to raise money on this platform. Donors on this platform seem to prefer social causes and physical products over software and apps. With enough effort though, success is possible even for app startups.
The following app-based crowdfunding campaigns were able to successfully fund their campaigns on Indiegogo:
- Becuzz: A microfinancing platform that allows individuals to fund small goals between $10-$599. Through Indiegogo, Becuzz was able to fund 102% of its funding goal.
- Placebo Effect: A mobile app that allows you to personalize and customize your own placebo effect to help improve your joy, abundance, motivation, or any other factor that is important to you.
WeFunder is an equity crowdfunding platform that is available to individuals that are seeking to invest in startups. Unlike other equity crowdfunding platforms, WeFunder does not only open its doors to accredited investors but allows the average individual to invest as well. In 2016, the JOBS Act, which allowed non-accredited investors to invest, went into effect – and WeFunder immediately took advantage of this opportunity.
Like Kickstarter, WeFunder is an all-or-nothing platform. In other words, if the business is not able to raise the full amount of capital, funds are sent back to investors and the entrepreneur must start back over from the beginning.
WeFunder focuses solely on businesses. These businesses are spread across a variety of categories, including:
Unlike Kickstarter, WeFunder is equity-based only. Investors on this platform hope to see a return on their investment over the long term, and since this is the case, only business-based campaigns are supported.
As mentioned, WeFunder is also one of the only platforms that allow regular people to invest their funds into new startups. Non-accredited investors can invest as little as $100 and own a piece of the next generation of innovation.
Since WeFunder seeks to attract investors instead of donors, traction and potential are more attractive than rewards alone. WeFunder has several app-based businesses using the platform to raise investor funding. For the right app startup, WeFunder can be a great way to attract new investment.
Here are several startups that have successfully funded their apps through a crowdfunding campaign on WeFunder:
- Boon: On-Demand temporary dental, veterinary and medical staffing.
- Happy Tax: Convenient, on-demand CPA prepared tax preparation.
- Digitally Imported: Electronic music streaming service with a human touch.
Fundable is a business crowdfunding platform that gives companies the opportunity to raise capital from investors, customers, and peers. The platform allows businesses to run either rewards-based or equity-based crowdfunding campaigns, giving them wider flexibility than other Kickstarter alternatives.
Unlike other platforms, Fundable does not list its products in groups or categories. Instead, any startup or business seeking capital can add their business to the marketplace.
Fundable is extremely flexible, allowing startups to crowdfund under their own guidelines. Fundable gives startups the chance to raise either equity or rewards crowdfunding, choosing to secure their funds from investors or donors.
Apps have a much higher chance of succeeding on a platform like Fundable – especially when using an equity-based campaign.
Some of the most recent apps that were funded on this platform include:
- FansRule: Where fantasy teams make the rules.
- Swych: The first global digital gifting network.
- Garageio: Smartphone control for existing garage door openers.
Ulule is a crowdfunding platform that is quite similar to Kickstarter. Like Kickstarter, it is an all-or-nothing platform where you must reach your goal in order to receive the funds. Furthermore, it is open to all types of ventures – not just businesses, but cause-related, art/creative and non-profit ventures as well.
Ulele offers a variety of crowdfunding categories both in the cause-related and business sectors. These categories include:
- Film & Video
- Crafts & Food
- Publishing & Journal
- Childhood & Education
- Fashion & Design
- Charity & Citizen
- Art & Photo
Ulule focuses on “Making Good Things Happen” and they claim to have the highest success rate for project creators. Furthermore, they take a lower percentage than some other platforms, only charging 5% of the full fund plus a 3% transaction fee.
Another great feature of Ulule is that they offer support. Personalized coaching is available for each project owner, before, during, and after their campaign. As a result of this, the Company has over 28,000 successfully funded projects and a record success rate of almost 70%.
Ulule’s record high success rate also extends to app and software projects – especially those that serve a cause.
Here are a few apps that have successfully met their funding goals on Ulule:
- Go Zero Waste App: The app to get a life without plastic.
- SoundR: A new way to explore your music.
- Ocean’s Zero: Helps reduce waste to save the oceans.
For those looking to land real investors (angel and VC) for their project, PitchLions is an awesome Kickstarter alternative. On PitchLions, startups can virtually pitch their concepts live to an audience of accredited investors.
PitchLions allows startups to host detailed profiles where they can upload their business plans, pitch decks, promotional media, and more, showcasing their product/service and detailing the traction they have generated.
Then, a “Live Pitch” can be scheduled for a specific date and time. By browsing the Investor Database, startups can invite investors to view their pitches. During the pitch, investors can learn more about the business, ask questions, and mark themselves as “Interested” to schedule further discussion.
The PitchLions platform allows businesses of all types to pitch their businesses to investors. Categories range from Software Innovations to Film and everything in between, with a variety of subcategories to better organize its listings.
PitchLions is the first platform that allows startups to present their offer in a live presentation setting. While there are other Kickstarter alternatives that help startups meet investors, PitchLions is the first to create a platform where entrepreneurs can pitch their businesses in a virtual live setting and where investors can view startup pitches on their own terms.
Since PitchLions is centered around investors, it is an awesome platform for all promising startups to raise funding – including app startups. App entrepreneurs can filter the investor database by location, interests and more.
Choosing The Right Crowdfunding Platform
There are dozens of crowdfunding and investor matching platforms out there, and each of them has its own benefits and weaknesses – especially for app startups.
Before launching your campaign, consider the following questions:
- What type of crowdfunding fits your business better – equity or reards based?
- Which categories are most funded on the platform?
- Is the platform better for hardware or software businesses, or is it suitable for both?
Need help writing your business plan or creating a great crowdfunding campaign? We’d love to help. Contact us today to speak with one of our expert startup fundraising consultants.