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How an established startup can successfully crowdfund to build a new product

Comments Off on How an established startup can successfully crowdfund to build a new product October 11, 2014 |

This is a guest post on Adelina Peltea blog by Andreea Paraschiv, a passionate tech marketer who worked with startups and corporations like Intel, Microsoft, Kingston, VmWare, Maguay, CyberGhost and more.


Crowdfunding is a good way to test the demand for new products for early-stage start-ups. Based on our latest experience, we can say that crowdfunding works even better when you’re an established startup, and want to build a new product.

As Forbes put it, $95 billion – that’s the total amount crowdfunding is expected to reach this year.


With over 3.7M users, CyberGhost (the startup I am talking about, which is also profiled on – the “Privacy as a Service” company where I work, launched on 4th of September a call-to-action to its community to get their attention in building the first #NoSpyProxy. The #NoSpyproxy is a safe datacenter for Cyberghost’s users, located in the company’s headquarter in Romania, which will offer them an improved level of security and privacy.

Security is an industry where you need to be fast and continuously innovate, in order to stay ahead of spies, threats and competition. We really wanted to have our own #NoSpyProxy datacenter, in order to have 100% control over our hardware and offer our clients the very best. This was the boldest idea we’ve had so far and this is why we wanted to build it with the help of our community.

We chose to do crowdfunding, so we can test if there is actual demand and interest for such service. We needed €100,000 to build our #NoSpyProxy. And while the campaign will still run for 30 more days, we have already over achieved our target by 46%!


How we did it

As CyberGhost has 2 main important communities (English and German), we’ve split our campaign… into 2 campaigns:

A campaign for the English market aiming to raise $70,000
A campaign for the German market aiming to raise €50,000

We’ve worked 3 months on this campaign. We had a complex story to tell, and we tried to find the right balance between a technical story (for techies) and an emotional story (for security passionate people, but with no technical background).

Having a well-established community helped us because we had very positive feedback (and donations) from the very first hours of the campaign.

To sum it all up, here is what we did to spread the word:

– We’ve announced it inside our user base(we have dedicated campaign banners for all existing users)
– We’ve announced it on our website (we have a countdown measuring the time left of the campaign, so users know exactly how much time they have left)
– We’ve e-mailed all our users (and I must admit it’s quite large)
– We’ve announced it on social media
– We’ve published 3 press releases (so far)
– We’ve listed the new product on Y Combinator News, StumbleUpon, GrowthHackers and many, many more
– We kept an eye on Reddit and did our best to answer all open issues regarding our #NoSpyProxy
– We didn’t offer gadgets or T-shirts in return of their support (and I’ll tell you later on why), but we offered 1 year Premium Plus subscriptions (with early and regular access) to this datacenter.

More than 2200 backers supported the idea so far. The average donation was of €62 (our regular pricing is of €79, 1 year, Premium Plus, so they received a good deal on our service).


What you need to know

…if you’re preparing your own crowdfunding (on Indiegogo or Kickstarter) campaign:
– Know what you want very well
– Be careful with t-shirts
– Spread the word
– Organize a contest for your referrals
– Publish updates often
– Show gratitude
– Be patient


Read more about this on Adelina Peltea blog.

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