Cool Slovenian brands, part 2: The stars of Kickstarter

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Kickstarter got my attention back in 2010, when Diaspora successfully raised $50k. This is the amount they required to develop an open source alternative to Facebook, where people would have full control over their posts and multimedia. It was a good idea, but too complex to easily implement, and the guys never managed to make it fully work. But there are other projects who did manage go big, making Kickstarter and crowd-founding an everyday thing. Today, numerous ideas, products, and even movies are financed this way, while statistics tell an amazing story: in 2012, Kickstarter pledges topped $300 million.

Besides getting financial resources which help people to build their products, crowd-funding has many other interesting benefits. For young entrepreneurs, this platform provides an option to validate their ideas which can help them reach product / market fit. They can start selling their prototype or MVP before they have a fully developed product. The (viral) marketing component is important as well, great Kickstarter projects spread around the (social) Web in minutes. People who get involved in something, have a strong tendency to become advocates and share information about it. These are just a few reasons why there are so many individuals and startups who are choosing such approaches to enter new markets.

I'm very glad to see crowd-funding being used in Slovenia as well. Since 2012, when LLSTOL managed to raise $18k+ on Kickstarter, other projects used the same strategy. In the last month alone, we've seen two new superstars emerge, bringing the total number of successfully funded Slovenian Kickstarter projects to 4 (two of those are still ongoing, the third hasn't reached the goal yet). We must mention two other projects (My name is Janez Janša and Namazi na mizo) which managed to find funding elsewhere.

LLSTOL

Time: Aug-Sep 2012
Received: $21,956 ($18,000 goal)
The LLSTOL (LL Chair) is a modular piece of furniture you can use in many ways; as a chair, a table, shelving or a drawing board. These multi-functional properties make it a very interesting product, which enabled LLSTOL to get featured in many local and international blogs. Thumbs up for paving the way for other Slovenian projects on Kickstarter!

XVIDA Boomerang

Time: Nov-Dec 2012
Received: $50,667 ($40,000 goal)
The all-in-one iPad stand went a step further, with a funding goal of $40k. Again, we are seeing a product with a modular structure, with a variety of beautifully designed holders for different occasions. Boomerang managed to turn quite a few heads, and is already shipping.

ONDU

Time: May-Jun 12th 2013 - STILL ACTIVE
Received: $92,876 ($10,000 goal)
Currently the most successful Slovenian Kickstarter project, ONDU pinhole cameras already raised more than $90k, out of $10k required. I like this project a lot as well, since it offers a beautiful, simple and unique product, made from local materials, by an enthusiast who likes to work with wood.

Marko B.'s story

Time: May-Jun 20th 2013 - STILL ACTIVE
Received: $1,843 ($20,000 goal)
Marko Baloh is an ultra-marathon cyclist, who he has written an autobiography about training for one of the hardest races ever, RAAM. With the help of Kickstarter, he will try to translate and publish that book in English as well. Hopefully, he can get a bit more exposure that will help him reach that goal.

Musguard

Time: May-Jun 22th 2013 - STILL ACTIVE
Received: $25,323 ($10,000 goal)
The foldable rear bycicle fender is simply awesome, and it weighs only 35 grams. The hipsters will probably take this product for their own, and thanks to Kickstarter, we will be seeing it in many colors. Musguard is one of the few projects who made it to Gizmodo.

Other projects

There are other Slovenian projects who were financed or marketed with the help of crowd-funding as well:

  • My name is Janez Janša: A documentary movie about three artists who changed their names to Janez Janša managed to raise more than €7k on Verkami back in April 2012, which makes this film the first successfully crowd-founded project in Slovenia!
  • Pelicon Beer: While Pelicon beer didn't manage to raise $100,000 to expand their production line, their Kickstarter campaign was successful anyways; they gained so much exposure, they will be opening the brewery on their own anyways.
  • Namazi na mizo: The cook book about different spreads managed to raise enough money to be actually published in real life. This was achieved locally, by accepting donations.

Your turn

I admit I gave the projects that used Kickstarter a bit more weight than others. I strongly feel that such cool ideas should try to aim for global markets, and Kickstarter is the platform that can help them achieve just that. Besides, there are three Slovenian projects who are still active on Kickstarter at the time of writing, and I think they need any help they can get.

It's fascinating that pretty much all internationally successful Slovenian crowd-founded campaigns are about real-life products with unique and creative designs. Slovenia definitely has to start actively developing this industry, I know so many talented designers around here, and there is a lot of legacy from the previous ages. These projects deserve to join other Slovenian success stories, don't you agree? What are you waiting for, become a part of the story, apply with your project or back someone up!

(Special thanks to alivea for compiling the list which helped me write this.)

UPDATE (23.6.2013): In the mean time, Lumu Light Meter managed to set a new standard, reaching its $20k goal in hours, and is already at $140k+ after six days. This is already the fourth Kickstarter project in cooperation with Niko Klanšek (after LLSTOL, Ondu and Musguard), and Lumu is so cool it got TechCrunched!

Check out the complete Cool Slovenian brands series.

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written 8.6.2013 23:25 CET on chronolog
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