Lessons Learned - Campaigns

Posted: Tue, 05 August 2014 by Cara

If you’re ithinking about crowdfunding, chances are you already know about this campaign but if not, the Ubuntu smartphone project is the most ambitious target to date... at a whopping £32 million. Previously, the most successful crowdfunding project was the Pebble watch project, which raised more than £10 million and made crowdfunding history. If you’re really up to date, you’ll know that the Ubuntu campaign has now surpassed the Pebble Watch project in terms of money pledged, but unfortunately it looks like another £20 million in 5 days is going to be too much of an ask. As the project owners have a fixed funding project, this means that they won’t get anything unless they hit their target, which seems unlikely.

We wanted to highlight this story for two reasons – one, it proves the huge potential of crowdfunding, and two, there are lessons to be learned from this campaign. We’ve discussed some of the reasons why this campaign has been so successful, and also why it is likely to fail.

Reasons for success

There are several points which make this project very appealing.

1. This campaign is ambitious in every sense – attempting to triple the previous crowdfunding record, as well as breaking into the competitive smartphone market. Backers have clearly responded to this ambition and feel excited at the prospect of being involved in something which could potentially be massive. Are we looking at the next Samsung or Apple?

2. The project itself is very slick, displaying gorgeous graphics and a real sense of credibility. There has been a lot of time and effort spent creating this project, which helps to validate the company as it projects a professional image.

3. The rewards are great in the sense that backers can have access to the (potentially) coolest smartphone in the market, before the rest of the world jumps on the bandwagon and buys it too. I mean, come on, how awesome would it be to have the latest Samsung or iPhone before it was even released?

Reasons for failure

Unfortunately, the reasons for the campaign’s success could also be their downfall…

1. This project is too ambitious in too many ways, especially for a fixed funding model where they need to hit target or they’ll get nothing. Many backers probably see the target as greedy, and as money that could be much better spend addressing world poverty or global warming. £32 million cannot be justified as a minimum essential spend – we think the project owners should have split their goal up into smaller targets to build awareness, hook the market and then come back for more. Slow and steady wins the race!

2. Great graphics do not a smartphone make. Whilst the project compares the Ubuntu handset with various leading competitors, there is no real evidence or validation of the concept. The technology is perhaps too new and unknown to garner enough support.

3. The rewards are great, but they are priced far too high, especially for a crowdfunding campaign which should offer exclusive rewards. There also isn’t enough variety – what if you love the concept, but can’t afford the new handset? Well, you’re not really getting a good deal, and that’s cutting off a whole section of the potential crowd.

So that’s our take on the Ubuntu campaign, but we’d love to hear your thoughts so do tweet us, or comment on Facebook!

Are you/would you be a backer and why?