Lessons from crowdfunding a business app

Crowdfunding is nothing new; even Apple World Today is funded mainly through the wonderful support of a group of readers who want us to succeed without advertising. What is different is using crowdfunding to fund a business app. In this case, Tapity -- developers of the Hours Time Tracking app among other products -- wanted to fund development of a web version of Hours -- Hours Cloud. Tapity CEO Jeremy Olson published a "lessons learned" article on Medium today, outlining six things the company learned from running a private crowdfunding campaign. 

I won't just repeat Olson's excellent article here on Apple World Today; but let it suffice to say that the Hours Cloud project is funded to the tune of almost $40,000 at this point. All of this was accomplished with a private campaign -- no Kickstarter or Indiegogo here, just a private site created with HTML/CSS, Bootstrap and Stripe

The team found that companies with a need for a specific service or product will definitely fund a project. The company had a number of packages at different backer levels, and actually had three backer companies account for over $12,500 of the funding goal. 

To build anticipation for the crowdfunding project, Tapity sent out tweets teasing the campaign and then sending out exclusive invitations. The team then sent a very personal-sounding email along with an opportunity for those interested to accept the invitation and find out more about Hours Cloud. The result? The small group of people who received the invitation was very curious, and 67% of them opened the email to read it. The usual open rate for emails? It's about 16%.

By avoiding Kickstarter or Indiegogo, the Hours Cloud campaign also avoided having their funds diminished by fees, and using Stripe allowed the team to have their funding almost immediately. 

I loved seeing one other bonus for backers that Apple World Today also uses; backers have their own Slack community where they can chat with each other and with the team. Olson reports that they've received so many great ideas that they started a Trello board to keep them all organized.

If you're a developer seeking a non-traditional way to get needed capital for building a project, be sure to take a look at Olson's article for some great tips.