I’m Leaving Kickstarter (Part 2)

Khierstyn Ross
5 min readAug 8, 2022

As we approach Q4, we are about to get into the busiest time of year, leading many brands to look for opportunities to launch their product. I saw this as a really good opportunity to follow up with my previous blog, I’m Leaving Kickstarter.

In this blog, we’re going to see how the market has changed and really answer the question, is Kickstarter a good opportunity for you today?

Is Kickstarter a Good Opportunity?

The first thing I want to look at is the opportunity of Kickstarter. As a summary of I’m Leaving Kickstarter, part one, I looked at how Kickstarter over the last 13–14 years has really gone from the number one product launch engine online to being oversaturated, very expensive, and just not a good opportunity for most brands.

How did this happen? How does this open up a new opportunity, and how can you determine if and when Kickstarter will be a good move for your e-Commerce brand?

Early Adopters in the Market

The first thing we’re going to look at is the concept that marketers ruin most platforms. I got this from a mentor of mine, Rachel Pederson. In her upcoming book, Unfiltered, she talks about this concept of zig when everyone else zags.

Most of the time when new startup tech comes in, you get this group called early adopters that are really the first to jump on a new idea. When Kickstarter first launched, back in 2008, you had a bunch of newer brands jump in.

What happens with the early adopters, is that they come in before the platform really becomes popular. And what you’re going to see happen when a platform starts to catch on in popularity as a funding vehicle, is this inflection curve.

This inflection point, or the right time to get in on a platform, is when it’s not mature. It’s still really developing and evolving. So the time to do a Kickstarter campaign was before marketers came in and ruined it.

The Golden Era

About eight years at its peak, Kickstarter was starting to become the go-to funding platform for brands. That’s when it was really affordable to grow your waitlist and/or do a launch.

Because the market around 2016–2017 understood how great of an opportunity Kickstarter was, this caused a lot of brands to come on and start using the platform to launch e-commerce products.

At this point, we’re prior to 2016. So in 2008–2009, when Kickstarter was really just getting started, that was the golden era. We start to see this taper off in 2016.

This is the point where Kickstarter became oversaturated. What that means is that if there’s too much competition on a website to launch a product, it’s harder and more expensive to stand out.

The whole reason brands and new startups would go to Kickstarter was for startup funding that they desperately needed. But now, if you need 20k for a successful Kickstarter launch, it’s not a good value proposition like it was before.

Is Kickstarter Dead?

After that inflection point, what happens when things taper off?

Does this mean Kickstarter is dead as a platform? Actually, no. Let’s talk about the 1% that start to see success in things that have become oversaturated.

At this point between 2006 and today, we have this critical tipping point of the company, where now, people start to talk about Kickstarter not being the right avenue for them.

What that means for you is there is now an opportunity being created within the next 12 to 18 months of actually going the other direction.

It’s very similar to what Warren Buffett did to get rich. When the market freaked out and sold everything, he saw that as an opportunity to buy everything and sit on it until market conditions changed.

So there is something to be said about actually going against herd mentality and paying attention to where the conversation is in the market.

Is Kickstarter Right for Your Brand

If the market says Kickstarter is too saturated, guess what you should do — reconsider it.

Now there’s going to be a really good opportunity created on their platform because there are fewer products starting to launch on Kickstarter. And that means there’s a really good opportunity for certain brands to come in and capitalize on that.

Who Should Use Kickstarter

People who should do Kickstarter are going to be existing brands. An existing brand is a company that has already successfully launched a couple of products, has a nurtured audience, and an established social media presence and community. Not only are you going to have a better sense of what the market wants, but you will launch better products and spend less money.

Who Shouldn’t Use Kickstarter

People who should not do Kickstarter are beginners startups that are literally risking their inventory money on building marketing campaigns. If you don’t have any backup funding plans, this isn’t a good option for you.

Product Research

The last thing to do is look at how similar products performed when launched on Kickstarter. To do this, go to Kickstarter.com/Discover and search by category.

Then go through and see if there have been any similar products to yours that were successfully funded. You can also use Google.

If you’re launching yoga pants, you search for “yoga pants: Kickstarter”. Kickstarter keeps a public record of all campaigns ever launched on its platform.

-Khierstyn Ross, Founder of LaunchandScale.co


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