A lot of ink has been spilled about 2020 — about its rolling disasters and general upheaval. But here, in this post, we don’t want to dwell on the negative. We want to talk about the positives that happened in 2020, and share our excitement for the year ahead. A lot of awesome stuff happened last year in the world of crowdfunding. Backers funded innovative campaigns, Indiegogo launched sweeping initiatives, and the crowdfunding community learned some key lessons that we can expand on in 2021.
In this post, we round up last year’s top campaigns, discuss the takeaways we’re building on as we look ahead to 2021, and recap the initiatives that Indiegogo set in motion last year.
Top 10 Campaigns of 2020
This smartwatch has a curved screen and tracks vitals 24/7, using tech to improve health.
9. STRØM CITY W
A stylish eBike made especially for women, created in the biking capital of the world.
8. Monster X
Kowloon, Hong Kong
This generator is powerful enough to let you set up a TV or PS4 in your backyard.
San Diego, United States
The ElecHive’s battery can provide a massive 2,200W of power output, just like a standard wall socket.
Los Angeles, United States
Stoggles offer similar eye protection to full goggles but with style, shielding eyes from dirty fingers and airborne droplets.
5. GPD WIN Max
GPD WIN Max combines the portability of a handheld gaming console with the graphics of a gaming laptop.
Delaware, United States
This hubless design puts an emphasis on style, making it the perfect eBike for a discerning rider.
This power station uses solar energy to put out a colossal 2,000 watts of continuous power.
San Francisco, United States
Each Superstrata bike frame is 3D-printed with carbon fiber to give the user a custom fit.
San Diego, CA, United States
This eBike was the runaway (or bike-away?) hit of 2020, thanks to its sleek, lightweight design.
Five takeaways from 2021
Backers and campaigners are hungry for community and connection
Community is what differentiates crowdfunding: It’s the backbone of everything that happens at Indiegogo. So it was no surprise to find that, in a year when people were feeling isolated, backers chose to not just fund campaigns — they also chose to engage with the communities that are built amongst a campaign’s supporters. Nearly 50,000 backers came to our Facebook Virtual Hangouts, attending events like an unboxing and Q+A with Chase Reeves from Pakt, and roundtables for female entrepreneurs and Indiegogo community favorites. And 2.1 million people tuned into Instagram takeovers, where we gave fan favorite campaigners the keys to our Instagram for a few days to communicate directly with our social audience, sharing exclusive stories and content. Backers also shared tips and tricks on campaign pages: Productivity products alone garnered 50,000 comments as backers discussed their favorite life hacks and offered each other encouragement as they advanced towards their goals, and backers attended live Q+As with creators of productivity-enhancing products like this one with the creators of Midea and this one with Arrow and TimeChi.
Backers are more interested in green campaigns
Crowdfunding has always been an ideal place for entrepreneurs to raise funds for products that can help save the planet. And as more and more people look to make the transition to greener lifestyles, support for green campaigns grew nearly 900% in 2020, as compared to the previous year. Backers are seeking out everything from plastic-free cleaning products to solar panels to portable bidets to help put the planet first. Solar-powered batteries were particularly popular, with power stations like Monster X and Bluetti bringing in millions of donations from backers looking to get off the grid and lower their carbon footprint. In fact, green energy campaigns raised a total of $16.7M in 2020. eBikes also got a lot of love in 2020, as backers looked to ditch their cars and find greener ways to get around. Electric bicycles like Reevo, Superstrata, Babymaker and MATE raised a whopping $24M combined. And, of course, it wouldn’t be crowdfunding if backers weren’t also connecting with the creators of their favorite campaigns. Indiegogo community members attended events like an Instagram Live with QuenchSea, an Instagram Takeover with One Bottle founder Petrice Jones, and a Virtual Hangout on Facebook with ETEE.
Crowdfunding helps underrepresented entrepreneurs achieve their dreams
2020 was a year of reckoning for many industries, as they struggled to overcome their racially homogenous makeup and move forward towards a brighter and more equitable future. Crowdfunding has long been a path for diverse voices to circumvent venture capital firms and other traditional investment avenues, which still give the majority of their money to white men. In 2020, Black female campaigners launched children’s books like The Mermaid Princesses, the Parisian concept store Little Africa, the eco-conscious perfume company Scents and Style, the digital archive of womxn in hip hop The Keeper, and so much more.
Backers come to crowdfunding for global connection
One of our favorite things about crowdfunding is that it lets backers meet and support entrepreneurs from all over the globe. Last year, Indiegogo expanded its reach to Japan, offering resources to Japanese entrepreneurs and allowing Japanese backers to donate to campaigns using Japanese yen. Our new Made in Japan category is off to a great start, with $6M raised amongst 13,000 backers. And with our new partnership with Makuake, the leading pre-order and support platform in Japan, backers can expect to see even more exciting things to come. In 2020, Indiegogo continued expansion into China, helping Chinese brands reach international audiences through crowdfunding.
Games are having a moment
Indie game creators flock to Indiegogo to turn their intricate and creative concepts into games that people can enjoy with their friends in real life, dice and cards and all. And with the pandemic trapping everyone indoors, people found themselves playing tabletop games like never before. With their interest in gaming piqued, 35,000 backers supported up and coming game designers in 2020, resulting in more than a 200% increase in funds raised for tabletop games compared to 2019. One notable standout has been Queeng, a deck of playing cards designed by a 12-year-old girl that raised over $500k. But it wasn’t just tabletop games that had a good year on Indiegogo: Digital games also had a great showing in 2020. The GPD WIN Max console made the 2020 top ten, raising $3.4M and creative approaches to gaming like Polycade gained a following.
Five Initiatives We Launched in 2020
Commitment to uplifting marginalized and underrepresented groups
We’ve been asking ourselves hard questions about how we can do more to foster a diverse and inclusive landscape. In 2020, we launched the Indiegogo Fellowship Program, a six-week course that guides campaigners in running a successful crowdfunding campaign from beginning to end. The Fellowship Program aims to provide guidance and resources to creators from communities that are typically marginalized in tech and innovation, and focuses on helping female-identifying, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs. We also established Juneteenth as a company-wide holiday last year. Indiegogo has been publishing an annual diversity report since 2014 and while we still have tons of work to do, our 2020 report reveals that our internal initiatives have been progressing diversity and inclusion at Indiegogo over the last half a decade.
Local business relief program
2020 was a turbulent year for small businesses, with lockdowns pummeling the local establishments that make up our communities. Last year we launched the Local Business Relief Program, which waived Indiegogo’s platform fees for local businesses, like restaurants and theaters, that operate in the service industry. These businesses launched Indiegogo campaigns to raise money to stay afloat and pay staff until quarantines were lifted. Through this program, local businesses like Fitdog Doggy Daycare in Santa Monica, Baker’s in Seattle, WA, Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, CA, and the oldest operating bar west of the Mississippi, Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville, Utah, were able to raise extra funds to get through the pandemic.
Brands often face headwinds when expanding into the global market, whether it’s a language barrier, shifting consumer needs, or cultural differences. Last year, Indiegogo expanded the Global Fast Track program to Japan. The program helps the world’s top innovative products launch in international markets. We partnered with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), and with Makuake, the leading pre-order and support platform in Japan, to give entrepreneurs additional support for launching successful crowdfunding campaigns. Lu Li, the general manager of global strategy at Indiegogo, has been spearheading international efforts, helping entrepreneurs raise more than $260 million in funds. Her dedication and expertise in global crowdfunding has landed her on the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 List. Our global expansion wasn’t just limited to Japan: We built out additional tools for our Global Fast Track Program in China like an official WeChat account and informative webinars like our presentations with Facebook and Shopify.
Support for causes that matter
On Giving Tuesday, Indiegogo launched Tips for Indiegogo, a feature that gives backers the option to add a tip for Indiegogo to their contribution during checkout. Indiegogo matches the money given through Tips and donates to causes that are important to the Indiegogo community. Tips for Indiegogo are optional, but if you find yourself in a giving mood, just look for the “add a tip” call-out on Indiegogo contribution pages! “Community has the power to accomplish some pretty incredible things. We see it every day in the campaigns you support, the causes you rally behind, and the projects you bring to life,” says Andy Yang, Indiegogo CEO. “Now we’ll be able to amplify the goodwill together, and make the world a better place while doing it.”
Entrepreneurs are most successful when they have some help along the way. We partner with companies that help entrepreneurs launch great campaigns and deliver perks to their backers. Those partnerships provide everything from one-on-one assistance to educational content to exclusive discounts. In 2020, in-person events moved online, and Arrow, Easyship, and others shared their expertise on webinars about everything from managing supply chains to building medical technology with Analog Devices to Virtual Hangouts, connecting partners and the campaigns they’ve supported directly with the backer community. We helped entrepreneurs in our social community connect with specialists and gain access to new information and expert advice through articles and Q+As. We also welcomed Clearbanc to the Indiegogo family, and their marketing advances helped Reevo and Stoggles make the top ten list last year. Easyship worked with campaigns like the Philips PicoPix Max and the Stereogum Covers Compilation to ship products around the world. And as usual, the Arrow Certification Program helped tech entrepreneurs build viable, working products. The top five Arrow campaigns in 2020 were:
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