Startland News is continuing its segment to highlight area entrepreneurs’ efforts to accelerate their businesses. This is an opportunity for entrepreneurs — like MyCroft AI CEO Joshua Montgomery — to share their stories to gain a little help from their supporters. If you or your startup is running a crowdfunding campaign, let us know by contacting email@example.com
Who are you?
Joshua Montgomery, CEO of MyCroft AI, which is a member of the latest Sprint Accelerator class.
What does MyCroft do?
Mycroft is building the world’s first open source natural language platform. You can think of us as the open source world’s answer to Siri or Echo.
How much do you hope to raise?
So far we’ve raised $154,000, but we are hoping to reach $175,000 by the time we are shipping our final shipment of perks in August.
What do you plan to use the funds for?
We have used the funds to develop the underlying software technology and the hardware platform. We’ve now started shipping MyCroft AI developer kits to our early backers. Additional funds will be used to continue software development and begin pursuing distribution deals.
How is your campaign differentiating itself ?
The key difference between Mycroft AI and proprietary platforms is that we are open source. That means individuals and companies can use the technology to add voice capabilities to anything. That means Mycroft can be installed in anything from a high school science project to an OEM automotive dashboard.
Is there anything quirky with your campaign?
If you watch our video, you’ll see that we placed the Linux mascot — Tux the Penguin — in almost every shot.
Any advice on crowdfunding campaigns?
Research, prepare, and promote.
Research: Did you know that software projects fund at a much lower level than hardware projects do? That board games are more successful than apps? Do your homework and figure out how to present your product in a way that makes it likely to fund. Here is a great infographic that give you the basics.
Prepare: Make a great video, put up compelling pictures, tell a fantastic story and present your product in a professional way. A poorly prepared campaign communicates to backers that you might not be able to deliver your perks. Also prepare your audience. Pre-sell at least 25% of your goal so that you reach 25% in the first 48 hours. Also take some time to create an online audience on Facebook and Twitter.
Promote: Share on Facebook. Push your message on Twitter. Have your entire team promote your posts, then buy additional advertising to make sure you are reaching your target audience. Too much promotion is just barely enough promotion. When your friends are annoyed by your constant posts, go ahead and post some more. Your goal is to fund your project, you can apologize when it is fully funded.
Learn more about MyCroft AI with this video.