Engineering 101

Q+A with Kickstarter lead of European design and technology outreach

Build a prototype and test it on the target market.

Heather Corcoran, head of European design and technology outreach. Credit: Kickstarter

Heather Corcoran is the head of European design and technology outreach. She spoke with eeDesignIt about her experience so far with tech startups.

“Almost anything can be started on Kickstarter, though software is trickier as it holds a less compelling reward for backers,” Corcoran told eeDesignIt. 

Though this obviously hasn’t deterred the support of backers, as Corcoran provided the example of Fluent Forever, the most funded app ever on Kickstarter, which had 4,434 backers pledge $587,785.

Kickstarter takes a five percent fee of all the funds raised, but Corcoran said that Kickstarter always expect to over deliver on the project targets with their large community.

When asked whether there had been any projects that seemed unlikely to achieve backing, Corcoran told eeDesignIt: “I’m pretty optimistic. I get excited that people take that plunge. I have to say, that any projects that did not make their goal found the experience valuable and made a community with feedback that helps them in the long term.”

The design of the Kickstarter campaign is very important, but startups should not just focus on what the product looks like, but also what it does, the User Experience (UX) and the community it is made for.

All of the projects launched on the site are reviewed by Kickstarter and have to have working prototypes.

“Working with startups is like getting a snapshot into the future of technology — it’s an honor and a pleasure,” said Corcoran.

Top tips for a tech startup with an idea:

  • Build a prototype.
  • Now test it on your target market.

Resources available:

Kickstarter offer plenty of resources in the way of education materials online to help get your campaigns started.

Kickstarter has also launched a program called Hardware Studio, in collaboration with Avnet and Dragon Innovation, to help hardware startups and creators understand how to plan the manufacturing journey. The program offers materials such as videos, articles, live streams and also a product planner to calculate the Bill Of Materials (BOM).

Looking to the future

In terms of the immediate future for the startup landscape, Corcoran raised her concerns that Brexit could potentially have an impact on startups due to the fluctuation of the pound and for the cost of materials.

For Kickstarter, it is “laser-focused” on its mission of “bringing creative projects to life”, with everything it does being in service of this mission.

Corcoran has personally backed over 150 projects, and when asked her favorite, she enthusiastically told eeDesignIt all about Basslet, a wearable haptic device for the wrist, as if it were her own product.

Source Kickstarter

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