It was not that long ago when AirDog was announced as the most crowdfunded Latvian startup on Kickstarter ever. The news about them did spread fast anyway. Yet, their tech factor, leading to a winning strike, was still a bit mysterious, and we at TechHub Riga were eager to fill the gap. We invited AirDog�s team to our August meetup so they could reveal their story. What�s the lesson that stuck in mind and showcased their tech factor? You make your own success.
Possibly, at some point AirDog seemed to be everywhere. Media talked about them, including TechCrunch, BBC, Arctic Startup, and euronews. Community encouraged and supported. The campaign on Kickstarter of the self-branded world�s first auto-follow drone for GoPro camera AirDog really kicked-off the start. The pledged goal of $200,000 was soon reached, likewise the following stretch goals. Finally, the campaign generated $1.4 million to make AirDog the most crowdfunded Latvian startup on Kickstarter ever, and it also turned out to be the most crowdfunded drone campaign on Kickstarter as well.
Simple truth, however, as explained by CEO Edgars Rozentals and COO Agris Kipurs, is � there is no magic behind Kickstarter. You (and your team) are the foremost who will or will not make things work. You make your own success! Thus, what worked for AirDog?
- Timing. You have to know the right moment when to begin to sell a product. Market for a flying drone with camera was already there, and it was important to be the first comer to fit in it. Although many similar products now build the competition, AirDog managed to create the first hype winning a portion of potential customers.
- Pre-launch. It is a myth that everything starts with Kickstarter. AirDog did an advance job, evoking curiosity about the product in the audience before launching the campaign itself. So don�t get busy with coming up with names of your pledges too soon and be ready for a preparatory work to actually make your campaign successful.
- PR. It�s no joke that media are the fourth realm, hence use it right. Kickstarter will not make media knock at your door, nor it will be bothered how much traffic you get to your campaign. It�s your sole effort to find the connections, create stories, make media love you and follow you and treasure this relationship both at the beginning of your campaign and afterwards.
- US presence. To learn your market by heart and produce content for it are a must. While the AirDog team was in the US, they had a chance to talk to customers, present their product in action, chat with media and constantly update informative bubble about the drone. Doing that remotely from Latvia would just be impossible.
- Taking risks. Campaigns, just like anything else, are not still. You need to be flexible, quick to adapt and make changes.
- Product readiness. With prototype/ no prototype is a highly vulnerable question, and there�s not a single answer. Just in case � AirDog had a working prototype to show before the campaign was launched.
Message to understand? Success demands lots of work! Meanwhile, Kickstarter works as an instrument to measure all activities mentioned above. In addition, Edgars Rozentals and Agris Kipurs suggest that there�s not only technology you have to think about, but also about what�s behind it. AirDog therefore is hardly just a flying drone for extreme sports fans � it enables these fans to produce content that�s original and unique. That�s another added value to consider when you decide to conquer the wide meadows of Kickstarter.
By the way, AirDog is hiring. They�re looking for some skilled hands and minds that will help them keep the promise and construct an even better flying dog. Want to jump in a journey that creates new culture? You can make the first steps by checking out for more information right here.
If you want to join TechHub Riga meetups, you�re more than welcome to do so! Meetups happen on every second Thursday of each month, and they are free of charge and open to everyone who�s interested. Meetups are supported by Latvian Guarantee Agency and taking place at The Mill.