Kickstarter

Get Excited! ‘Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls’ Is Back For Volume Two

The team that brought kids beautifully illustrated stories of empowering women is back to spotlight 100 more game changers. In a matter of hours, the Kickstarter campaign for Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 has successfully reached its goal of $100,000.

Courtesy of Timbuktu Labs
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 features 100 new stories of empowering women like Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

The new book includes stories about singer and activist Beyoncé and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, along with Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson, the mathematicians portrayed in the Oscar-nominated film “Hidden Figures.”

Elena Favilli, one of the creators of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, told HuffPost how volume two will stand out from the first release. For the new book, the team included women suggested by…

Crowdfunding is in trouble — and the game industry can save it

Crowdfunding isn’t fatigued — it’s growing up. For years platforms like Kickstarter have made it possible for projects to be funded directly by friends, fans, and other communities. In return those backers often received rewards, a token that symbolizes their generosity and belief in the project. The backers of crowdfunded projects also assume a lot of risk, sometimes losing all their money in exchange for nothing if a successful crowdfunding campaign project is later cancelled. But even as some crowdfunded projects have gone on to become hugely successful products, would-be future backers are starting to realize that their early contributions could be investments.

Imagine if you could pool all the potential money that could be raised through crowdfunding. It’s more or less a finite resource because, understandably, most folks will only ever give so much of their own money away. So as the number of crowdfunded projects pile on, this pool slowly begins to drain. The problem with crowdfunding is a sustainability problem.

Emerging from the decline of crowdfunding is the prospect of “crowdpublishing.” Loosely defined, it’s where fans of projects also get the option to become investors, choosing the projects they want to support, much like traditional publishers, and then sharing in the revenues from market performance. And while the risk is still there if a project were to later be cancelled, the reward potential far outweighs the token promises of a typical crowdfunded campaign. This process also allows for new funds to be reintroduced into the crowdfunding pool.

The video game industry is ahead of the curve

There’s no denying the stomach-churning drop in the amount of money pledged on Kickstarter for video game projects in 2016. Last year’s haul of $16.2 million was down 61 percent from the year before, a five-year low for the video games category. An analysis from Thomas Bidaux of ICO Partners attributed the decline to the absence of large video game projects on the platform.

So what is going on here?

Two examples of current Kickstarter projects that may prove to be the proverbial canaries in the coal mine for the impending industry wide change are Apocalypse Now and Banner Saga 3. Both of these titles have a lot going for them: each has a highly experienced development team, proven franchises, gorgeous artwork and seriously fan-approved gameplay.

With Apocalypse Now, the campaign had the added benefit of being featured on the front page of Kickstarter, along with full endorsement from the movie’s legendary director, Francis Ford Coppola. Three weeks into the anemic campaign, developers pulled the plug on Feb. 14, opting instead to appeal directly to investors.

And the campaign for Banner Saga 3, while successfully completed, raised a little under $417,000—about 42 percent less than what its developer, Stoic, raised five years ago for the original Banner Saga.

The steep decline of funding on Kickstarter, along with the recent struggles of these two top tier titles, underscores the change in the relationship between fans and the titles. While previously it was enough for fans to receive a token of appreciation from the game developers – like early access, a copy of the game, or in-game perks – now that this model of fundraising has proved successful, fans want in on the real rewards: revenue.

The Jumpstart Our Business Act, or JOBS Act, changed everything

Until recently, this option wasn’t open to average game fans. You had to be a relatively wealthy…

The IP Of The Infinite Build Volume 3D Printer

Last week, the Blackbelt 3D printer launched on Kickstarter. What makes the Blackbelt 3D printer different than any other 3D printer on Kickstarter? This printer has an infinite build volume. It’s built for continuous production. As long as you have a large enough spool of filament, this printer will keep producing plastic parts with no downtime in between. The Blackbelt is a truly remarkable and innovative machine. Yes, it’s a bit expensive, but it’s designed for production and manufacturing, not some guy tinkering in his garage.

However, the Blackbelt 3D website includes two words that have sent the 3D printer community into an uproar. ‘Patent Pending’ is something no one in the community wants to see given the history of the industry and a few poor decisions from the first movers during the great 3D printer awakening of 2010. The idea of an infinite build volume printer that allows for continuous production is not new; we saw one last March at the Midwest RepRap Festival. The question, therefore, is what is covered by the upcoming Blackbelt patents, what is the prior art, and is it still possible to build an Open Source printer that uses these innovative techniques?

MakerBot’s Automated Build Plate. Once available as Open Source Hardware, the Automated Build Plate has been expunged from MakerBot literature, patented, and apparently forgotten. [Makerbot CC-BY]

Lessons of the Automated Build Platform

Questions about the Blackbelt printer arose shortly after its soft launch last month. It was, simply, the second printer demonstrated in a few months that uses a tilted print plane and a conveyor to allow continuous production in an infinite build volume.

The first such public implementation of this design was at Rapid 2016 and at the Midwest RepRap Festival in March, a product of [Bill Steele]. [Steele] wasn’t releasing a product, this was just the culmination of an idea that began as a mechatronic middle finger to MakerBot and their Automated Build Platform (ABP).

The ABP was quite clever when it was released and was used in production by MakerBot in their salad days to manufacture parts for the Thing-O-Matic. Unfortunately, the APB was…

Richard Garriott’s Portalarium to raise equity crowdfunding for Shroud of the Avatar

Richard Garriott’s Portalarium has raised $9.4 million over the past four years for its fantasy role-playing game Shroud of the Avatar. But the company is going back to fundraising via equity crowdfunding, something that wasn’t available when it started its original Kickstarter campaign.

The latest fundraising plan requires Portalarium to disclose more financial details than usual, and it gives a window into the company’s financial picture as it seeks to finalize the game it promised.

Portalarium raised a total of $11.6 million in Kickstarter funds and other crowdfunding from about 200,000 fans. But now it is seeking at least $500,000 and as much as $2 million for about 8 percent of the company on SeedInvest. That would give the company a valuation of about $6.25 million to $25 million, depending on how much is raised. As of May 17, the company had $528,000 in cash, and the monthly burn rate is about $230,000.

Portalarium said it would use the money to fund marketing and monthly development updates around launch. Portalarium said it was also planning a telethon in the near…

Chris Sacca retires from startup investing

Venture capitalist Chris Sacca announced his retirement from startup investing today. This also means that he will not be on the hit TV show Shark Tank, at least for the next season. His firm, Lowercase Capital, will likely be run by partner Matt Mazzeo, but it’s reported that there is no new fund in the cards.

For those in tech, Sacca is perhaps best known for his early-stage investments in companies like Twitter, Twilio, Kickstarter, Bitly, Typekit, DailyBooth, SimpleGeo, Gowalla, Lookout, Instagram, Uber, Posterous, Medium, and Automattic. All of these were either funded by him personally or through Lowercase.

But he struck a chord with those outside of Silicon Valley through his role on Shark Tank. Sacca wrote that the person who was the most disappointed that he won’t be around for a third season was Mark Cuban: “Despite what you might surmise from on screen, he and I are actually good friends, just…

Nomiku simplifies sous vide cooking with new device that prepares food using RFID scanner

Two years ago, Nomiku began its journey to bring its Wi-Fi-enabled sous vide device to market, first raising $750,000 through a Kickstarter campaign and then adding $250,000 more during an appearance on the reality show Shark Tank. More than $3 million worth of products has been sold, and on Wednesday, the company is expanding its cooking technology to include not just a meal program, but also a sous chef device that will properly prepare meals automatically — all you have to do is scan the package.

Nomiku’s main product is a connected sous vide immersion circulator that will heat up whatever you’re cooking to the right temperature every time, whether it’s a steak, fish, or whatever. But that still requires some manual labor, such as prep time and figuring out what you want to eat. Today’s updates further simplify the process.

Above: Nomiku meal: Chicken thigh in Thai yellow curry.

With meals priced between $8 and $14 for entrees and $4 and $6 for sides, Nomiku is taking a step to make it more convenient for people to eat instead of spending excess time in the preparation process. Some of the dishes you can order include braised red cabbage, charred sweet potatoes with lime and cumin, jasmine rice with fried shallot, and pork shoulder with chipotle adobo. If you order $80 worth of…

Wet Hot American Summer

image credit: The Devastator via Kickstarter

You may not be able to afford adult summer camp, but you can pretend to be hanging out at Camp Firewood with all your friends. Wet Hot American Summer is set to become a role-playing game.

Wet Hot American Summer: Fantasy Camp is being crowdfunded on Kickstarter by humor publisher The Devastator. At press time, the project was less than $2000 away from its $12,500 goal (with nearly a month to go). The game is officially sanctioned by the original movie’s co-writer and director David Wain, and according to the…

Launching A Kickstarter: Final Countdown Considerations, and LAUNCH!

Editor’s Note: We thought it would be interesting to show, in detail, how a Kickstarter is run. Natasha has agreed to document her entire process in a 6 part series so you can see what is involved with setting up your own crowdfunding campaign.

Today is Kickstarter launch day.

I’m Natasha, the designer behind TechnoChic DIY tech-craft kits at TechnoChic.net. A moment ago, I clicked the big, green, “launch project now” button on Kickstarter.com to launch my new DIY light-up paper bow tie kits. It finally happened! The week leading up to launch has been jam packed with hard work, determination, and a deadline approaching at light speed. In this post, I’ll share the details of my final preparations to launch day right up to this moment. This is the sixth post on my journey to launch – if you missed last weeks post, check it out here.

The campaign is now live here:

Tuesday February 28 – Seven days to launch.

GOAL OF THE DAY: Make a detailed plan.

With one week to go, I wrote down every piece of the campaign that had yet to be finished. I prioritized, and set goals for each day. I did some research on what other Kickstarter creators had done while planning their pre-launch strategy. There is a lot of great advice on the web – check out these helpful articles that I found:

Wednesday March 1 – Six days to launch.

GOAL OF THE DAY: Rest up.

With working the weekend a probable, I made this a rest day. I won’t lie and say I didn’t work on the campaign at all, but I did have a normal dinner at home and relaxed a bit to get my mind off the campaign. (woo hoo!) Boy did I need this, because the rest of the week was insanity peppers.

Thursday March 2 – Five days to launch.

GOAL OF THE DAY: Submit Kickstarter campaign for review and approval.

The Kickstarter website uses an algorithm to review projects before launch. If the algorithm doesn’t approve it right away, a representative from Kickstarter looks over the project and either gives you the ok or tells you what you need to fix. This process takes at least 2 business days (if not more,) so I needed to submit the project by Thursday to launch on the following Tuesday. (Admittedly, I should have done this sooner to be safe.)

I submitted the project for review without a video. I was having second thoughts about the video script, and I knew I could upload it later, so I submitted for review to be sure I’d be approved on time. The project was approved on Friday, the day after it was submitted. (hooray!)

Thursday’s Final Photoshoot – To show the bow ties in a traditional fashion, I arranged to have a photoshoot with a neighbor who has a classic look and a nice suit. It was a bit risky saving an important piece of the campaign until so close to launch, but I’m really happy with the pictures!

Friday March 3 – Four days to launch.

GOAL OF THE DAY: Email list with pre-launch announcement

It was time to share the Kickstarter info with my email list again. When I started writing these blog posts about a month ago, I sent out an email announcing the Kickstarter and sharing the first post – hoping that some subscribers would follow along (if that’s you, thank you!). I chose to send one pre-launch announcement on the Friday before Tuesday’s launch and will send one more announcement when the campaign launches. In the email, I included the campaign preview link (the same one I shared here last week) and asked subscribers to tell me what rewards they wish I would offer. I also shared a reason to pay attention – the first 100 backers will receive a BONUS –…