MacroFuel Part II: Running a Successful Kickstarter
MacroFuel was founded at Cornell in 2015 during the Spring semester. The company has designed a healthy meal supplement for busy people looking for a quick and nutritionally complete food alternative. For more details on their founding and what it is like to start a company at Cornell, see part one of the MacroFuel story. This part of the story focuses on their Kickstart, which raised over $22,000 from 360 backers.
MacroFuel decided to run a Kickstarter for three main reasons: 1) to expose their product to a larger audience; 2) to get feedback and prepare for future iterations and products; and 3) to raise the capital necessary for the first production run. While money was a significant reason for moving forward, the customer research and concept validation sides were influential as well. The product had received positive feedback from friends and family, but the team wanted to address a larger market.
After deciding to move forward with the campaign, the real work began. Gus, MacroFuel CEO, has a background in campaign finance and had worked on the Aaron Woolf for Congress campaign. Gus and co. applied many of the same fundraising techniques to their Kickstarter. First, they built a commit list of friends and family. This process allowed them to set a realistic goal that they knew they could achieve. The successes of this strategy were validated when they realized about 80% of their backers were connected to their personal networks.
The biggest takeaways from MacroFuel’s successful Kickstarter are that this type of fundraising is not a miracle and requires lots of groundwork and organization. As Gus pointed out, cool ideas don’t get funded on Kickstarter all the time because the team does not do the proper outreach before hand. But, by building a following before your launch and having individuals commit to your product, your great idea can receive the funding it deserves.