Crowdfunding as we know it today has only been around a short time but what an impact it is having.
And there is no better example of this than the current crowdfunding campaign, Sum Wars by Abigail and Ryan Lewis on Kickstarter.
Sum Wars is a cool table top maths “crossword” battle game – a bit like scrabble for numbers. “ADDversaries your days are numbered! Challenge your friends (Math Geeks & Number-Phobes, alike) to a table top battle of numeric agility with a hint of vengeance!”
Abigail and Ryan live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA with their three young children. I asked Abigail two questions:
Without crowdfunding, what do you think would have been the future for Sum Wars?
“The answer to your question is, that I am not entirely sure. When we came up with this game idea two and a half years ago, we thought it was a really fun idea, but didn’t really know where to take it. We had no knowledge of crowdfunding. We talked about trying to get a big board game company to take us onboard in some way, but the more we looked into that option, the more we found that this was probably not a route we could or wanted to take. Board games are a pretty challenging niche to break into. And without large sums of money to travel around to gaming expos, build prototypes, and get the word out about our concept, we had little hope of getting picked up.
We also talked a lot about venture capitalism. If we could find the right group of people to invest, we might be able to get this game up and going and after a few years, possibly make it happen. This was another option that seemed to not be the best fit for us. We would have to do A LOT of leg work to build a product that we weren’t even sure there was a market for, and with three kids and a busy schedule already, that didn’t seem to be the wisest use of our time.
So we built the game for our own use and played with family and friends, thinking, that we probably wouldn’t ever go public with it, even though it was a great game! When we discovered crowdfunding, we knew we had the right fit for our project and we went forward from there!”
Here you are pitching your idea to the world for funding, contacting me down here in Australia….even five years ago could you have seen yourselves doing that?
“Five years ago I definitely would not have envisioned myself a board game creator who would be talking to people worldwide and gaining support from people in all walks of life. It truly has been an amazing and inspiring experience. I have been so taken aback at the amount of support we have been shown by bloggers, podcasters, tweeters and of course our amazing backers! We still have a ways to go on our project, and I sincerely hope we are able to succeed, but even if we don’t make our goal, I would mark it a journey worth embarking upon!”
We can only look back and wonder what may have been if crowdfunding had been available in the past. Thinking of the likes of Tesla in the US and David Unaipon in Australia, neither had the funds to fully pursue their ideas but left enough clues that we could see it was a loss they didn’t. (Although we could say Tesla has benefited from crowdfunding with three successful crowdfunding campaigns about him recently – his museum, a music piece and a graphic novel.) I’m sure many other ideas that the world will never know about went to the grave with their creator all through a lack of funding.
But back to Abby and Ryan and their crowdfunding campaign for Sum Wars …
Two of the things I love most about their crowdfunding campaign (not counting the game which I suspect I could easily become addicted to!) are:
- It is visual which makes it more appealing, reaches a wider audience including those who have reading difficulties or limited English and is easier than reading a large chunk of text
- It demonstrates the art of being yourself
I published a few posts recently about the importance of building trust into a crowdfunding campaign. Abigail and Ryan ooze trust – they’re likeable, they have loads of evidence and credibility from the first followers who began pledging soon after they launched. And how did they achieve this? Abigail said, “We tried to just be fun and natural and express exactly what our goal was and what we needed to make that happen.”
When you’re the real deal, you simply need to be yourself to see your ideas become a reality through crowdfunding so you can share them with the world!
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Abigail. It’s been a pleasure to meet you.