Electronic Product Design

Thursday, 21 January 2016 00:00 Written by

Do You Need A Kickstarter?

21-01-16 - money tree 200Or could your project find its own feet in another world, before it reaches the hustle-bustle of crowdfunding? Kickstarter is almost unrivalled in its potential to send a project viral – but is that the environment that is best for your product?

Alternatives to Kickstarter

There are a number of crowdfunding platforms you can use as an alternative to Kickstarter. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, and some platforms have more electronic product potential. Here are a few alternatives:


Kickstarter's direct competitor, offering a very similar feature-set. Major difference in funding: if your project doesn’t reach its goal, you can still claim the money already pledged.


Smallknot is different from the major crowdfunding hubs, choosing to focus on smaller, localised projects helping independent businesses. It follows a similar funding model to Kickstarter, but the main difference is in the execution. Smallknot only offers established business and products a funding berth if they are past the idea stage, and selling something tangible.


GoFundMe is branded as a personal fundraising website, but it doesn’t mean you cannot list your electronics product. A big difference between GoFundMe and other major crowdfunding platforms is the use of perks and stretch-goals, with many GoFundMe project creators eschewing both.


In recent times, a number of self-hosting crowdfunding websites have sprung up. These sites give you much more control over what you are offering your potential investors, your goals, stretch-goals, and everything else in-between. Some notable projects funded with self-hosted campaigns are Lytro, and Soylent.


Selfstarter is an open source crowdfunding framework that allows you to build your own platform. From there, you can begin your campaign. The platform came from a team turned down by Kickstarter, and is ideal for smaller projects looking to explore their potential.


OpenTilt works slightly differently, offering its users the chance to pre-order a product before it hits the market. This is aimed at users with a product ready, or very almost ready to sell, but can still be setup akin to a crowdfunding campaign.


Thrinacia is the self-styled “next generation crowdfunding engine”, allowing you to set up your own crowdfunding site within minutes. Despite its self-creation attributes, Thrinacia comes with a pretty comprehensive feature array, similar to those found on the major platforms.

More Alternatives

The web is a wonderful place, and as such a number of platforms for electronics projects are beginning to appear. These are slightly different to crowdfunding platforms, but some offer the chance to release your product and begin earning from your inventions.

These platforms can work well if you’ve just had an amazing idea, but have no idea of how to go about creating it, or have a fully formed product, but no idea of how to continue its development.

Edison Nation

Edison Nation offer targeted approaches to marketing specifically designed for electronics products. They specialise in bringing new electronics products to market, whether that be a massive industry disrupting product, or a tiny new-tool with a limited market.

Edison Nation is a relatively new market offering, but have already generated over $200 million in global sales, forging useful relationships with major companies along the way. It looks like this marketplace will continue from strength to strength for the coming time.


123D Circuits is an empowerment tool: how can you bring your idea to life? The site offers a range of tools for you to begin development on your project, including an Electronics Lab, a Circuit Scribe, a PCB Design hub, and an Open MESH hub.

This really is perfect for absolute beginners with limited electronic scope, but those with some existing knowledge will excel, quickly.

Grand St.

Grand St. is a new(ish) marketplace for creative technologies, developed by a likeminded group of makers and consumers seeking to bring the best new ideas to market. Unlike other creative markets, Grand St. select a new and exciting product each day to shine their collective light upon, and they review and approve each product before going live.

If you have a product already polished, this could be a good choice for you. The items that hit the front page of Grand St. are guaranteed some sales, as well as a boost throughout the other marketplaces, and the social media networks that will pick it up.


Hopefully you’ll find the right medium for your project, be that crowdfunding, self-crowdfunding, or using one of the other marketplaces we’ve mentioned. Good luck!


Image courtesy of twobee / freedigitalphotos.net.

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