The miniature kings of the crowd
Crowdfunding is taking off in the UK and some organisations are leading the way in getting large amounts of funding for their projects.
Over the last week I have, as part of Nesta’s ongoing research into reward-based crowdfunding in the UK, had a look at the 50 most funded Kickstarter campaigns in the UK. First and foremost the list is an interesting and inspirational read, of people getting funding for great ideas. From the world’s smallest 3D printing pen to an Independent recreation of Macbeth starring Ned Stark, Tywin Lannister and Ron Weasley.
However, when digging deeper in to the projects and organisations behind the 50 most funded projects, you get another interesting set of stats.
Firstly, it is important to note that the majority of successful campaigns raise less that £6,000. However, the top 50 UK projects collectively raised £13 million and the top ten alone have raised £6.5m. The average amount raised by the top 50 was £261k but the average within the top ten was £645k, providing further evidence that this is an industry in rapid growth, both in terms of amount of money going in to individual campaigns and the total size of the market.
Secondly, looking closer at the most funded projects it is clear that some companies have cracked how to do crowdfunding really well and have sourced significant funding for multiple projects.
In the top ten alone, two projects by Mantic Games, DeadZone and DreadBall, scooped up £1.16m of £6.5m and its third project, Dreadball Xtreme, a direct sequel of a previous project, ranked eleventh, just £30k shy of the top ten.
These projects stand out because they all specialise in miniature and table-top gaming.
In the top 50, the biggest four repeat fundraisers, including Mantic Games, are Mierce Miniatures, Prodos Games Ltd and Modiphius. Collectively they have raised £3m over 11 separate but interlinked campaigns - some being direct sequels and others as expansions of previously successfully games.
These mini-kings of crowdfunding have clearly demonstrated that they have found a market ready to fund extensions to their existing products, test new ideas and jump-start new product offerings.
Does the emergence of this institutionalised use of crowdfunding suggest that crowdfunding is undergoing an evolution from its initial position as a forum for ‘backing’ creative ideas of the little guy to a more ‘pre-order’ consumer-based platform?
The repeat crowdfunding from sequels to existing products highlights the more professionalised attitude companies can take to crowdfunding. Crowdfunding backed products are no longer simply mechanisms to launch to niche ideas but fast becoming the first stage in the products life cycle.
Crowdfunding campaigns are time and labour intensive but the barriers to success can be lowered by a more structured and professional approach by established companies.
The question now is can startups and would-be entrepreneurs learn from this repetitive fundraising?
Nesta has already developed some guidance on how to harness the power of the Crowd. If you regularly run or donate to crowdfunding projects, you can help with our new survey - the largest ever study of crowdfunding in the UK.
Figures have been converted into Pound Sterling for ease of reference.
Image Credit: Rocio Lara on Flickr CC