Crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008, turns 11 this month. In the intervening years, it’s provided the seed capital for a Nikola Tesla museum, a plastic gun that sprays table salt like a shotgun, and a well-deserved vacation for a bus monitor. Today, more than 15 million people visit the site each month, and it’s raised almost $1.5 billion collectively for more than 800,000 people around the world.
Since 2016, however, perhaps more than entrepreneurs from any other country, Chinese-based founders have benefited from the platform’s enormous growth. There’s a reason: That’s when Indiegogo launched services dedicated to supporting Chinese entrepreneurs, including a Chinese-language team based in China, a separate team in Shenzhen, and consultants who provide advice on branding, marketing, and campaign management.
Today at CES 2019, Indiegogo revealed the fruit of the initiative’s labor.
According to Indiegogo, over 3,500 China-based innovators have raised more than $150 million since 2016. Thirty-five products have raised more than $1 million, and a number of startups based in China have launched more than one crowdfunding campaign on the platform.
Some of the top projects so far include:
- GamPad Digital (GPD): A miniature pocket PC. It raised more than $5 million.
- Omnicharge: A charger for laptops, cameras, and small appliances. It raised $5 million across two projects.
- PaMu Scroll by Padmate: A bluetooth wireless earphones with a wireless charging receiver. It raised more than $3 million.
- TicPods: Interactive wireless earbuds. It raised over $2.8 million.
- Vinpok Split: An on-the-go touchscreen monitor. It raised close to $2.8 million.
- Segway Ninebot: An electric go-kart that reaches 12 miles per hour in two seconds. It raised close to $1.5 million.
- Mars by Crazybaby: Levitating wireless speaker with hi-fi sound that raised over $830,000.
“Indiegogo is offering Chinese entrepreneurs the most innovative solution to launch direct-to-consumer businesses worldwide by building an early audience,” David Mandelbrot, CEO of Indiegogo, said. “We’re super excited about all of the impressive innovation and hardware products coming out of China and are thrilled to support these Chinese entrepreneurs in bringing their amazing products to a worldwide market through Indiegogo.”
Privately held Indiegogo has yet to report a profit, but last year revealed to Fast Company that annual revenue was up 50 percent from 2016 to 2017.
It owes at least a portion of that growth to savvy business decisions.
In late 2017, in an effort to help small teams scale up quickly, Indiegogo launched Concierge, a program that provides staff assistance to crowdfunding projects that have raised $500,000 or more. Much like Kickstarter’s Hardware Studio, it connects budding companies with Indiegogo partners such as Arrow Electronics and Ingram Micro.
In January 2015, Indiegogo introduced InDemand, a feature that allows companies that have met their funding goal on Indiegogo (or rival platforms) to campaign for additional funds to “continue their growth.” And more recently, in August, it began allowing its more than 10 million investors in 235 countries to purchase blockchain-based security tokens.
“What’s really interesting … is that 40 percent of transactions are cross-border,” Mandelbrot told VentureBeat in an earlier interview. “We’re connecting more and more people from other countries around the world, entrepreneurs from other countries that need a platform to engage with customers or backers globally.”