Making Hardware Crowdfunding Sexy For the First Time Ever

by | May 11, 2020

Posting to crowdfunding platforms have become the golden standard of getting the word out about your product. The pros are that it’s basically free to use (percentage fees vary and of course there are 3rd party billing fees), and there’s a large market of early adopters that want to be the first to have the latest device in their homes/on their bodies or support a unique organization. The con is that it’s entirely dependent upon you and your team to market yourself, let alone its overarching dilemma for hardware designers: there’s really no dedicated section to post about parts. Sure, I saw about 60 “PCB” search results on Kickstarter when I was writing this article, but it’s not technically the first place I thought of to look for what’s new in hardware. There’s clearly a degree of separation between the market of early adopters of consumer products and hardware.

Instead of trying to fit your PCB/A into the “tech & innovation” section on Indiegogo, let me turn your attention to GroupGets: a crowdfunding platform specifically for hardware parts. I would be amiss to not mention that I know the GroupGets crew personally and they operate within the same city of Reno, Nevada - so I’ll stick to the funding basics and functionality of the platform.

Since GroupGets’ major collaboration with, a hardware-community of Avnet, the duo has been able to amplify the hardware market - a market that (let’s face it) “Silicon Valley snobs” have underrated despite a “renaissance” in the United States. Thus, Hackster Launch has now joined the crowdfunding party.

Let’s start with their 5 step process of how GroupGets raises production funds:
  1. The designer will define their time limit and minimum order quantity.
  2. Once the campaign time limit expires and the target quantity is met, GroupGets will charge all of the backers.
  3. GroupGets then sends the backer funds to the designer’s choice of production house.
  4. Once the production agency ships the units back to GroupGets, they will ship them to over 60 countries.
  5. Lather, rinse, repeat as they will support the designer if they engage in a new round.
The nuances in-between this 5 step procedure are that 1.) The barrier of entry is way low, 2.) Relaunching campaigns isn’t as “V2-focused” as other platforms, and 3.) The market is much more targeted and flexible.
  1. I glanced over GroupGets’ Terms and Conditions to verify that it’s as free as you can get: the campaign is free to host and failure to reach your goal is no-risk. If the designer is able to achieve their goal, then there are service fees charged. What about shipping and labor? Though production plans are something the designer will work out with their production house, GroupGets will “pay for and acquire the goods/service on behalf of the campaign co-purchasers”, and “any additional fees or costs may apply if actual or erroneously-input shipping costs differ.”

    Basically, as long as you don’t send over schematics for a weapon or something illegal to be used for nefarious purposes, then you’re all set for your campaign.

  2. I read Indiegogo and Kickstarter’s “Relaunching a Campaign” pages to compare their process to GroupGets’. It’s basically the same song and dance that you can start a new campaign/project and updating your backers of the success and the purpose of a new campaign; however, let’s keep in-mind again that these are guidelines generally written for consumer products. The next, new hardware campaign that you can set up with GroupGets may need a reevaluation of marketing avenues, but it’s not so “V2” marketing focused as I mentioned earlier. What I mean to say is that you as a hardware designer don’t have to come up with more gimmicks and pizzaz to surround your next campaign - you can do what you know how to do.

  3. Closely related to point 2, but I’ll repeat again: you are a hardware designer for hardware and solutions companies. Your market is segmented from the typical consumer, first-adopters that visit crowdfunding sites. Within my experience of marketing, it’s always about understanding and adjusting your perceptions of your target market. Leveraging relationships and low-access resources are a huge benefit with little cost to your campaign, but making sure they’re the best-fit relationships and resources is a much better strategy than just latching onto what everyone else seems to be doing. Since has been excelling at understanding hardware distribution, supply chain management, and free marketing since 2014, it goes without mentioning that you would be in good hands.
Hardware is not sexy. It’s technical, it’s pragmatic, and can quite literally be a cog in a much larger machine. Having the right team, the right marketing campaign, and the right product will not mean anything to the wrong audience. Resources like and GroupGets have partnered together to create a channel for that right audience.
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