Crowdfunding Diaries: A Look Back at Runaway Success, Run!

There are crowdfunding stories where people have reached out for individuals at the call of other individuals. Dana fighting for Mila is one such heart-warming story. Seven years old Dana had gone for speech therapy to cure her stutter. There she met another girl, Mila. Dana gradually got cured. But Mila’s condition worsened.

Mila was diagnosed with Batten Disease. Batten disease is the common name for a broad class of rare, fatal, disorders of the nervous system also known as NLCs, which occur in childhood. In these diseases, a genetic defect triggers a cascade of problems. Over time, affected children may suffer from worsening seizures and progressive loss of language, speech, intellectual abilities (dementia), and motor skills.

Eventually, children with Batten disease become blind, wheelchair bound, bedridden, unable to communicate, and lose all cognitive functions. Very recently, a treatment has been permitted in the US for certain classes of these NCLs. Mila’s parents attempted to raise money for their daughter, for the treatment is costly – requiring $700 thousand to start with. They went to a Crowdfunding platform, GoFundMe.

When Dana heard of this, she wanted to pitch in. Aware of the fact, that she could not give money herself, she and her mother started baking cookies and selling them. Her first goal was to raise $1000. She called the project Cookies4Mila and campaigned among her neighbours, taking the cookies in her Brother Carson’s toy wagon.

 As people heard about her efforts, she even shipped cookies to distant parts of the country. On getting to that figure, she decided to generate more funds. So, she also turned to GoFundMe. She has been able to raise $4000 through her efforts.

Kickstarter of course has many, and big runaway success stories. The M3D Micro campaign for a 3D printer was a massive success. The campaign collected nearly $3.5 million, based on a good looking, sturdy 3D printer with many features and a fairly low price ($449).  M3D cofounder David Jones explained in an interview that they did not just want to create a good 3D printer, but a great one that would be both easy to produce and easy to sell.

Just as much of that time was spent on designing quality 3D printing technology as it was spent on finding a way to assemble it quickly without sacrificing durability. The final design of the M3D Micro only has one screw, and the rest of the parts can be snapped together in under five minutes.

They also went for parts that would enable them to speed up production numerically whenever demanded. As a result, even though they found that the $3.4 million plus had come with 11,000 pieces already ordered, they remained unfazed.

Two very different stories. Two successes. They show that runaway success can be achieved. What success calls for is first, a clear strategy for money raising; and secondly, having a clear plan of who and how to approach, and how to push for funding.

The cookies were not simply being sold. They also acted as some form of reward for the crowdfunding. The M3D experience shows that one cannot kickstart, get crowdfunding, and then go for production. Even with the production process planned, as with the M3D Micro, the rapid order of 11,000 units could have overwhelmed the concern. They were ready, because they had already developed production.