The Crowd Supply Guide: What, When, and How to Launch on Crowd Supply

When deciding to launch a project on our platform, creators typically have three main questions:

This Guide article answers those questions.

What can I launch on Crowd Supply?

Crowd Supply is the best place for designers, developers, and engineers to launch open source electronics hardware and related products. Crowd Supply backers are generally designers, developers, engineers, educators, makers, and hobbyists who share a passion for open source and cutting-edge technologies. Suitable Crowd Supply projects embody the principles of our Proclamation of User Rights and our mission of bringing original, useful, and respectful hardware to life.

Basically, if your project is a physical product which will be distributed directly to backers via your campaign, it can launch on Crowd Supply.

What can’t I launch on Crowd Supply?

The following are examples of projects or development stages that are probably not suitable for funding via Crowd Supply:

When should I launch on Crowd Supply?

Before your project launches, we almost always require a working prototype, preferably an EVT prototype. This is because part of launching a campaign is determining funding goals, and determining funding goals depends on knowing how much it costs to build your project. You can’t really know that until you have a functioning prototype.

Launching with a prototype will help you solicit feedback from your backers about the project and help you iterate and improve as you work towards a manufacturing-ready final design.

How do I launch my project on Crowd Supply?

Once your prototype is up and running and you feel ready to launch your campaign, head over to the Apply page on our website and click the "Submit Your Project Application" button. This will take you to a form where we’ll ask you some questions about your project.

Please fill out the form as completely and honestly as possible. If there’s something you haven’t yet done or don’t know, indicate that rather than leaving an entry blank. A Crowd Supply campaign manager will use your responses to determine any follow-up questions and, once they have all the info they need, they will make a determination of whether or not your project is a good fit for us. It can take us a couple of weeks to evaluate your application, so please be patient.

If we determine your project is a good fit, the next step will be to get a signed Statement of Work (SoW) in place. The SoW puts into writing the rights and responsibilities of Crowd Supply and the project creator. Typically, this takes a little bit of back and forth as you figure out which of our services you will require. Once the agreement is in place and signed, we’re ready to get to work building your campaign with you.

Should I run a campaign on another platform simultaneously?

The short answer is "no." You might be tempted to run multiple campaigns in order to increase exposure and revenue, but that won’t happen. Here’s why. The issue isn’t so much that Crowd Supply is competitive with other platforms, it’s that your campaign(s) and backers will suffer and, ultimately, you’ll make less money if you run two or more simultaneous campaigns. The reason for this is journalists and backers will be confused and lose confidence in the product if they see it being launched in multiple places. At best, your campaigns will lose momentum and the confusion will limit the amount of coverage you receive.

Lastly, once it comes time to deliver the product, which orders will you fill first? Even if you know exactly when all purchases were placed and fill them in that order, backers will still be angry because instead of being 78th in line on Crowd Supply, they might be 102nd in line due to purchases in other campaigns being made before theirs. These are just a couple of examples of why running multiple simultaneous campaigns is a bad idea.

Of course, if you first launch on Crowd Supply and ship product to all your backers, you can then sell wherever you’d like, including by launching again on other platforms. The reason we require you to fill all your orders first is to avoid the public relations disaster (for you and for us) of Crowd Supply backers thinking you are shipping orders to people who bought the product after they did.

Question not answered here? Contact us to see how we can help.

The Crowd Supply Guide: Table of Contents

For Everyone

For Backers

For Creators

Getting Started

Before Your Campaign Launches

During Your Campaign

After Your Campaign Concludes

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