This year at Backerkit has been one of transformation, experimentation, and growth. We started a new crowdfunding platform — Crowdfunding by BackerKit! In doing so, we, along with everyone who has launched or backed a project with us in 2022, are taking the first steps toward building the future of crowdfunding, and it couldn’t be more exciting. We’re also celebrating BackerKit’s 10th anniversary. That’s 10 years of working with the crowdfunding community and helping creators of all types bring amazing ideas into the world. Over the years, the BackerKit team has worked with over 14,000 projects, helping creators raise over $650 million, while our expert Support team has directly helped 376,115 backers, resolving issues and requests.
Major developments and milestones like these beg you to ask how you’ve gotten to this point. The answer is all of you. It’s you – the creators, backers, friends, and partners that have made this possible. Your passion motivates us to discover new ways to support the work you’re doing. So, as we take a look back at 2022, we also want to thank you for all that you do.
Introducing Crowdfunding by BackerKit
This year, we took on our most ambitious endeavor yet: the beta release of Crowdfunding by BackerKit. While the platform launched in June, this new chapter actually began years ago.
Since 2012, we’ve had a chance to work with so many of you, witnessing the techniques you’ve invented to engage your backers and build your audiences. We’ve listened to your challenges, we’ve learned from your successes, and we’ve been inspired by the way that the crowdfunding community has been able to innovate in this space throughout the years.
We believe that you all deserve a crowdfunding platform that evolves to meet your changing needs and embraces the spirit of innovation and experimentation that have pushed crowdfunding forward. Since launching in June, we’ve teamed up with the creators of 42 projects to begin building that platform. We’re working hand-in-hand with these creators, listening to their feedback, figuring out ways to support their explorations, and developing tools that will make it easier for more creators to adopt the most effective crowdfunding techniques.
Because we’ve been working closely with these creators, we’ve had a front-row seat to so many amazing moments. We’ve seen creators like CMYK and XYZ Game Labs have their most successful campaigns ever, and we’ve seen others like Baby Bestiary and Greater Than Games hit backer count milestones. While there are great stories that have come from each project that launched with us this year, here are just a few that were especially exciting.
Moments we loved
Return to Dark Tower reaches $2 million: We were thrilled to work with the talented team at Restoration Games, launching the 2nd printing of Return to Dark Tower and the Covenant Expansion on our platform in July. From start to finish, we were impressed with the amount of hard work and thought that was put into this project, as well as the team’s willingness to experiment with things like email communications using BackerKit Launch and how pledge add-ons function. One of the most exciting moments of the year was watching all of that hard work pay off in a major way as the project raised $2 million.
An interactive campaign: In October, creators Alchemy Art, blushsprout, and Chocolate Raisin Fury teamed up to launch Purrtagonists: Fabled Felines — a cat and Dungeons and Dragons-themed enamel pin project. The trio came to us hoping to do an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure-style campaign, and we were eager to help them get the results they were after. Using the platform’s poll feature, backers were able to influence the direction of the project and which pin designs would be unlocked. You can read more about their experience with BackerKit here.
Creator collaboration: Bird Ita Bags & Accessories by Corviforms and Pizza Pinz by BackerKit’s own Jason Furie were two of the first projects to launch on BackerKit. Both creators dove into the experience with an incredible amount of enthusiasm and quickly coordinated a cross-collaboration while their projects were live. Both offered a free, specially designed pigeon pin for people who backed both projects. Together they exemplified the spirit of collaboration and community that you love to see in crowdfunding.
StarKid Returns: Demonstrating just how powerful a strong community (and strong coffee) can be, Team StarKid held a marathon 18-hour Finale Livestream where they hung out with their fans and drove pledges. By the end of the livestream, they’d unlocked all of their stretch goals and surpassed their funding goal by more than $100,000.
We want to thank all of the creators who’ve put their trust in us and have offered their candid feedback. We also want to congratulate them for the work they’ve done this year. We look forward to teaming up with more of you in the new year!
Supporting the crowdfunding community
While Crowdfunding by BackerKit was a major focus this year, we remain committed to supporting all creators at every stage of their crowdfunding journey. This year, a few ways that we were able to continue this work were by producing all new resources, highlighting projects by creators from underrepresented communities, and learning more about the crowdfunding community’s needs from many of you in person at conventions.
In 2022, we hosted seven livestreams, covering everything from game design and manufacturing to landing page do’s and don’ts. Studio Midhall — creators of the tabletop game Beast — joined us, sharing tips on how to get funded on your first try. And by popular demand, we continued our campaign page daft reviews, where we analyzed campaign pages submitted by the BackerKit Community and offered tips on how to design a great-looking page that drives pledges.
Livestreams are a fun way for us to connect with all of you. We also like to provide the community with an opportunity to ask questions at the end of each presentation. So if you haven’t attended a livestream in the past and are thinking of launching a crowdfunding campaign in the new year, we hope you’ll join us during our upcoming presentations. We already have an exciting lineup planned for 2023, so make sure to follow us on Crowdcast to be the first to know about what’s coming next.
One thing that we firmly believe in here at BackerKit is the power of an email list. When you’ve taken the time to build a high-quality list of people who’ve shown interest in your project before you launch, getting funded early is easier. However, the process of building that list can be challenging. In fact, whenever we’ve asked the BackerKit Community about their top crowdfunding challenges, building an email list and organic marketing are always mentioned.
This year, we created several resources to help creators tackle email list growth. We hosted Start Building Your Email List — our first crowdfunding mini-course.
Throughout the six-week course, the 160 creators who enrolled learned:
- How to get their first subscribers and find their target audience
- How to optimize a landing page
- Which tools to use to assess list-building progress and refine their strategy
In addition to the course, we also published new pieces on list building and community engagement. You can check them out below:
Events and conventions
Conventions and in-person events were back in full swing in 2023, and we were so happy to be able to participate and meet so many of you. This year, our team attended Gen Con, Essen Spiel, and PAX Unplugged.
Conventions have always been a big deal at BackerKit. Because of the pandemic, it’s been more than two years since we’ve been able to attend in-person events. We loved being back there on the convention floor, letting people know about the latest developments at BackerKit, chatting with creators, and passing out resources and swag. A few of the highlights from this year include:
- Reconnecting with our tabletop games family at Gen Con and sponsoring the First Exposure Playtest Hall where we ran game playtests all day long four days in a row!
- Traveling to Germany and getting priceless facetime with our international friends at Essen Spiel.
- Attending the reveal event at PAX Unplugged for the Gloomhaven Role Playing Game. Immediately followed by an epic party we co-hosted alongside Cephalofair Games filled with food, fun, and…axe throwing!
We will be at CES January 5-8, 2023, and hope to see you there! You can find BackerKit in Eureka Park at Booth # 60516.
The Creative Fund and Black Creators Newsletter
In July 2018, BackerKit launched The Creative Fund — our commitment to make space for independent creators, spread the crowdfunding wealth, and encourage creators to bring their passions to life. To date, we’ve pledged $190,727.37 to creators. As part of this initiative, we donate $1 to every project that launches on Kickstarter. Last year, we decided to refocus the Creative Fund to combat the lack of diversity we noticed in the community. While we still donate $1 to every Kickstarter project, we now also make a more substantial pledge to Black-led campaigns every month.
We also send out a bi-monthly Black Creators Newsletter, featuring Black-led projects. This year we’ve sent out 24 of these newsletters. Check out our Creative Fund success stories to learn more about a few of the projects that we’ve recently featured.
We have so many exciting things in store for our customers and the crowdfunding community at large. We’re kicking off 2023 with Pintopia — a series of small-scale enamel pin projects from a diverse group of creators collectively launching on Crowdfunding by BackerKit. One of our goals with this event is to lift up more projects and bring attention to the entire group in a fun, creative way.
We also plan to launch even more projects on our platform in the new year and are currently accepting applications. As always, we’ll continue to find new ways to support the community that we’re so proud to be a part of.