Indiegogo and kickstarter: crowd funding innovative technology and ideas for libraries

Published date02 December 2019
Date02 December 2019
AuthorMartin Kesselman,Wilson Esquivel
Subject MatterLibrary & information science
Indiegogo and kickstarter: crowd funding
innovative technology and ideas for libraries
Martin Kesselman and Wilson Esquivel
Indiegogo and Kickstarter are the
stars of crowd-funding platforms for
products with innovative technologies
that are looking for funding to move to
production. Providing funding for these
products carries with it some risk that
the product may never come to market.
Each product has a target that the
entrepreneurs need to reach to move to
production but in some cases, if that
earmark is not reached, funders may
lose their money (I know from firsthand
experience). But, there is an advantage
in that early (and in many cases later)
funders are given incentives of much
lower prices than what the product is
likely to sell for when produced. So, one
needs to consider if the benefits
outweigh the risks. It is also risky in that
a product, once developed, is
problematic and does not perform as
advertised and can also lead to
disappointment to funders (again I have
had this experience). If already
available, there may be a blog of early
supporters with their impressions.
There are some other clues that can
help one to make the right decision. For
example – Does the entrepreneur(s)/
company have a track record of success
with other products, and are there
similar products that have a higher
number of backers or even products on
the market that are currently available
and have gotten positive reviews that
are good enough and can meet one’s
needs? Some individuals even just
provide contributions to help campaigns
reach their funding goals. Early
purchases from “backers” are offered
several perks; earliest purchasers get the
best limited perks. Indiegogo appears to
be the site for innovators to use, as they
have a huge display space for products
at Eureka Park (new start-ups) at the
annual Consumer Electronics Show,
another place to find potential funders.
So, what is in it for libraries? First, a
product can demonstrate that the library
is on the cutting edge of technology
creating great publicity. Second, the
product may fit a niche in outreach,
instruction or use in library
makerspaces. Third, whether or not you
or your library eventually purchases the
product, it may stir other ideas you may
not have even thought of before in terms
of applications and services. Finally,
just maybe, your library convinces the
individual or company developing
the product, of its potential use for the
library marketplace and request to test
the product as a case study that can be
used in promotional materials. Below
are some of the offerings that carry less
risk, having reached their funding
targets to begin production as well as
my thoughts of how they might be used
by libraries.
A sampling of Indiegogo products
Air Pix is a pocket-sized drone to
take selfies. It is already in production,
in demand and review. Still, there is an
early bird perk of US$89 for one or US
$168 for two. It is small and lightweight
and fits in one’s pocket along with a
12 MP camera that can take full high
definition videos, offer gesture controls
and facial recognition, Wi-Fi and instantly
can be added to a social media page.
There are apps for both Android and
iOS. Definitely, this product can be used
as a promotional or fun product to take
pics of students or member of the public
using library equipment or services and
sent to their personal social media page,
such as Facebook, or with permission
for the library (Figure 1).
The Zero Mini Translator attaches to
your smartphone and with the app, you
can translate over 40 languages along
with the ability to recognize many
accents. This is another product that has
been reviewed and is already in
production as of September. Although
earlier perks were less expensive, it is
still very affordable with existing perks
at $69 for one or $129 for two. Think of
the potential use of this product for
meetings with international colleagues
or to lend out to users in the library for
global chats and face-to-face meetings
and can even be used in an offline mode
where internet connection is not
available (Figure 2).
The Coosno smart coffee table is one
of my favorites, as it is innovative and
for libraries, it can be a fantastic
promotional product with a number of
great features. The product when not in
use collapses but when opened up
provides wireless changing, bluetooth
speakers, voice control and even a built-
in refrigerator. An early bird perk of
$399, 50 per cent below the retail price,
is fairly inexpensive, given the
product’s utility. Think of this table
moving around the library that can
provide mood relaxing music or sounds,
the ability to charge many devices
wirelessly, refrigerated soft drinks and a
lift-out drawer can include space for
users to leave payment for the drinks
they take as well as include promotional
or instructional handouts (Figure 3).
Hexbot moved from Kickstarter to
Indiegogo but was already fully funded
in less than 5 min. Early bird pricing
was $469 for the 3D printing pro model,
and other interchangeable modules are
available in what is considered a
modular all-in-one desktop robot arm
that also can draw and write and provide
laser cutting. This is definitely a product
for makerspaces that not only
demonstrates robotics but also provides
several useful tools. Production was due
to begin in October (Figure 4).
The Mini Falcon Scooter is just one
of many e-transportation devices
available. This scooter folds up to less
than two feet long and has a long battery
life and lots of safety features including
8LIBRARY HITECH NEWS Number 10 2019, pp. 8-11, V
CEmerald Publishing Limited, 0741-9058, DOI 10.1108/LHTN-09-2019-0063

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT