Backerkit Automates Crowdfunding Fulfillment

Spring is here. Growing up in my family’s house the season signified a time for a thorough house cleaning. But it wasn’t so bad because my mom—and her unpaid labor, her kids—made sure to keep on top of things and one step ahead of a mess.

I don’t do spring-cleaning, mostly because I’m not as proactive and it would be a nightmare from which I might never emerge if I started now.

Are you running your crowdfunding campaign that way? Without a plan? Just reacting and trying to keep up? If you are, you’re in for a different kind of nightmare once your project completes and you enter the fulfillment stage. Because as time-consuming as running a crowdfunding campaign can be, you will soon come to feel that raising the money was the easy part.

Backerkit, a maker of software tools for successful project creators, has been helping them manage the process of rewards fulfillment since 2012. Now they aim to take this support to another level.

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Backerkit just announced a beta launch of its Crowdfunding Partners platform, which makes it easy for fulfillment houses, e-commerce tools, and other services to build apps for project creators. The platform gives businesses an API to plug directly into crowdfunding projects.

Fulfillrite is the first fulfillment company to sign on, and currently Backerkit supports Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Crowdtilt Open. As demand from other platforms increases they intend to expand.

What does this mean for you, project creator? I’d call it the equivalent of hiring a professional cleaning crew to clean your house, but humans are flawed; they might overlook the dust bunnies under the bed.

While there are lots of companies that have sprouted up to assist with fulfillment, an integrated solution for the crowdfunding community has been missing. Backerkit is offering a one-click, automated solution.

“A thousand paper cuts hit you after your crowdfunding campaign ends, Backerkit’s Josha Nathan says. “Every aspect of managing a project can be difficult, especially if you have several reward tiers and different combinations of rewards––the actual process of sorting through all those can be mind blowing. BackerKit automates the process and enables project creators to worry about their project rather than the complex issue of logistics. . . . It’s a much better system than sorting through spreadsheets.”

Take the issue of platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo lacking the functionality to produce good quality surveys to their backers, for example. For project creators, integrating means they can easily control the process of back and forth communication from their dashboard.

Integration also enables backers to solve minor problems on their own, so they don’t have to bug project creators with time-sucking special requests about T-shirt sizes or delivery specifications. Backers simply receive an email invite and are then taken through a simple shopping-cart experience. And since fulfillment can take months, backers can log back in and update their information at any time, up until a project creator is ready to ship rewards.

Backerkit supports project creators at various levels, from DIY tools to connecting folks with shipping companies. They also supports pre-orders, so if you missed the chance to back a project, you can easily pre-order from a project creator through BackerKit.

Significantly, Backerkit offers a reduced rate for project creators who sign up before their projects complete, as an incentive to not put off fulfillment until the 11th hour.

Nathan says, “I think it ties right into crowdfunding best practices. The most successful project creators are the people that plan ahead, and know what they are getting into. By setting up BackerKit when their crowdfunding campaign is still ongoing, they get an idea of the tools that are available to them, so they can avoid any missteps as they prepare to complete their project.”

I’d call it the difference between keeping your spring-cleaning manageable, or being buried in dust bunnies. Stay on top of your campaign and you will thank yourself later.