LR Startups Stone's Throw Brewing, Treatsie Attract Funding

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, May. 6, 2013 12:00 am  

In exchange for providing the portal, Kickstarter collects a 5 percent fee from the project’s funding total if the project meets its goal. In the United States, Amazon Payments process the pledges, and those processing fees range from 3 to 5 percent.

If a project doesn’t meet its funding goal, no one is charged.

“The money’s nice and definitely needed,” Beard says, “but I think the thing that we’re getting most out of it is just the buzz that it’s generating and just all these people who are now rooting for us and are on our side because they have contributed to the project as well. It’s as much a community-building activity as it is a fundraising platform.”

Treatsie — or “Treatsie: the Couture Candy of the Month Club” — is a venture put forth on Kickstarter by Keith Hoelzeman and Jamie Walden. (Hoelzeman’s wife, Amanda, is managing editor of Arkansas Business Publishing Group’s Little Rock Soiree magazine, and Walden is a former reporter for Arkansas Business.)

The pair attracted 90 backers and $7,266 compared to their $5,070 goal. A $10 pledge gets donors a handwritten thank-you note and a Treatsie sticker. The four backers who came in at $350 apiece will get a number of rewards including a one-year subscription to the sweet-treat club.

Hoelzeman and Walden chose Kickstarter because of its large customer base and the ability to perform real-time market research.

“Typically, the rewards include a beta version of your product,” Walden says. “And that was a real point of interest for us with Kickstarter because people who typically participate in Kickstarter projects tend to be early adopters, which carries a number of benefits. One, they have a higher likelihood of being vocal brand advocates. And two, they have a greater tolerance for products that still need refining.”

These backers/early customers can provide extremely valuable feedback and “prepare you for jumping the gap to mainstream customers,” Walden says.

“It really allowed us to tap into a network that we didn’t have exposure to,” he says.

Kickstarter Tips: Culled and condensed from the crowdfunding front.

Ian Beard

  • Make sure you have good rewards packages at the top and bottom pledge levels.
  • Build your social media presence beforehand and use it heavily. Post early and post often, and remember to ask people to share or retweet your posts.
  • Line up community partners as part of your campaign and rewards packages. This allows you to cross-promote each other, and gives you access to their contacts as well.
  • If you can get any press before or during the campaign, that’s a huge bonus. We had articles in the Arkansas Times and Sync in the weeks leading up to our launch, which created a lot of buzz, led to more social media followers and helped us line up some of our community partners.

Jamie Walden

  • Prepare for the inevitable mid-Kickstarter campaign lag and have a plan ready to boost momentum.
  • Don’t get so caught up in the funding aspect of a Kickstarter campaign that you forget how valuable the backer feedback is to testing and refining your product.
  • Set a goal that can cover your expenses. It sounds simple, but there are horror stories out there of people who have successful campaigns and can’t fulfill their promises to backers.
  • Have a prototype of your product. It helps to show that you’ve thought things through. It doesn’t have to be perfect.



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