Source: Bitspiraion News.
Though Poland is a rather populous country, the concept of crowdfunding is still very much a niche area. However, if last year’s numbers are indicative of a change, that may soon not be the case. In 2012, we had one successful project that managed to raise $90,925 (despite a goal of only $50,000) from 3,270 bakers. In 2013 we had four successful projects totaling $733,478 (more than double their $336,500 goals) and 4,244 bakers. If this trend continues, 2014 may be a big year for crowdfunding in Poland.
Kickstarter is the largest and best-know crowdfunding platform, with thousands of successful projects and millions of dollars earned for the best ones. According to Kickstarter regulations only creators from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are allowed to start their campaigns on the platform, but there have been several Polish companies and startups who have found a way to get their projects on Kickstarter, and today we will examine five of them.
Sleeping in phases
The first Kickstarter project we’ll mention is actually one that just finished. NeuroOn is the world’s first sleep mask for polyphasic sleep, and as of this writing its campaign has about 40 hours left to go. Behind NeuroOn is Polish company Intelclinic, whose CEO, Kamil Adamczyk, is just 23 years old.
When they launched their Kickstarter campaign in December, they posted a goal of $100,000, which ended up being met four times over, as they finished on January 12th at $438,573 with nearly 2,000 backers.
Their project is a “sleep mask that allows you to switch from monophasic to polyphasic sleep. That means you can sleep less and more efficiently.” Even if you have never heard of polyphasic sleep, you have probably heard of some of its most vocal proponents, including Leonardo Da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Winston Churchill and even Napoleon.
Kickstarter has not been their only triumph. NeuroON were the winners of the 2013 LeWeb startup competition, so hitting $500,000 on Kickstarter is definitely within the realm of possibilities. NeuroON is the biggest Polish success on Kickstarter so far.
It all began in 2010
Poles began their adventure with Kickstarter in 2010. Before the tech world got into it, the first proponents of the crowdfunding platform were artists. The projects Life in the Shadow of Auschwitz, Wisia’s Story, and Filming the Replication of a 17th Century Wooden Synagogue paved the way for later technological projects.
It was towards the end of 2012 that the first successful video games were funded, including M.O.R.E., old school turn-based 4X strategy game based in outer space. It was created by a group of passionate programmers and 2D/3D graphic artists from Katowice, who are fans of cult classics such as Master of Orion and Sins of Solar Empires. Their goal was to raise $50,000, and they nearly doubled that at $90,925 from 3,270 backers.
In May 2013 another video game campaign ended in success: Worlds of Magic, a new classic 4X fantasy game. Its designers, Wastelands Interactive, hail from Łódź. Worlds of Magic is one of their many projects, but the only one they decided to put on Kickstarter UK, and they more than met their goal of £30,000 goal, collecting £45,593 from 2,001 backers. The finished version of their game is scheduled for release at the start of 2014, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Kickstarter moves beyond the video games industry
In the middle of 2013 we had two successful hardware projects funded from Poland:Zortrax and B the flying car. Zortrax is an amazing 3D printer made by professionals from Olsztyn, Poland (which you can read more about here). You might know their story from the Bitspiration or e-nnovation conferences or TechCrunch interview as well. They got $179,471 from the $100,000 they were hoping for.
As for ‘B’ the flying car – well, it’s not quite the flying car we had all thought we would be driving by the year 2000, but it is an amazing drone that can go over land and then lift up into the air. Just watch this video to see what this machine can do. Witold Mielniczek, who designed the flying car, holds the patent for his project. As you can imagine, his Kickstarter campaign was very successful. Witold strived for £86,500 and collected £122,366 from 427 bakers. What’s more, the flying car is only one of Witold’s designs. He is also involved in another project: the design of a flying drone for the U.S. Defense Department.
It’s not always a success but… we keep trying
There are always winners and losers in the world of crowdfunding. What’s important is that more and more companies are getting out there and trying to hit a goal. There are many examples of Kickstarter campaigns that could not convince enough backers to donate to their cause. One of these is the RapCraft team from Poznań, who took their chances on Kickstarter three times. Unfortunately, all of them were unsuccessful.
They tried with their 3D printer three times. The first time, they collected only $13,371 of their $50,000 goal. The second time, they asked for a more modest $12,400 but only received $906. RapCraft tried also with their TutorialBay app project but they collected less than $300 from the $5,000 they wanted to get. Unfortunately, projects on Kickstarter that don’t reach their goals collect no money at all. However, in the end the team learned quite a lot in the process and managed to find a local investor for their 3D printer.
One of the most important lessons the RapCraft team learned (and anyone thinking of using crowdfunding should learn from their story) is that you should always be well prepared for a Kickstarter campaign from the start. You can try once or twice, but by the third time it is really hard to convince people to support you. Every year there have been more and more Kickstarter projects from Poland, and as the market develops future startups can learn from past successes (and failures) as crowdfunding becomes more widespread.