Kickstarter is a Web site that allows creative people to raise money to realize their ideas, whether it’s a movie, an art exhibit, a video game, or a cycling accessory.
People running Kickstarter projects contact me all the time. Sometimes I ignore them. Sometimes I write about them. Sometimes I ignore them for awhile, and then reply after it’s too late to help them. (Sorry.)
But now that I’m running a Kickstarter project, I really understand the emotional ride that is a Kickstarter project, with the clock ticking, and trying to run a PR campaign without looking too amateurish.
Frank Peters (of The Frank Peters Show and cdmCyclist) blogs and podcasts about cycling, venture capital, and angel investing, among other topics. (He interviewed Josh Lipton and me a few months back.)
“When it comes to new products, Kickstarter is a great way to build demand,” Peters told me by e-mail.
Raising venture capital is time consuming; as you’ve probably guessed. Venture capitalists like Web apps that can potentially be download one million times a day; consumer products often get a cold shoulder. Again, this is where Kickstarter shines – you promote the products, potential customers respond right away then you see where you go from there.
And he’s right about that. One thing we’ve decided based on the response to The Wandertec Tuba Bike Trailer, is that we probably won’t mass produce the large version — none of our Kickstarter backers has expressed an interest in that size. But the Extra Large version looks like a winner.
Having a great product isn’t quite enough. And there are a lot of great bike-related projects (in addition to ours) that really deserve support. So I’m going to spread a little love.
Here is a selection of great Kickstarter projects for bike commuters.
Tip: When you pause the video, the title in the middle of the frame is a link that will take you to the Kickstarter page for the project.
These are listed in order of their funding deadlines. And remember, not every Kickstarter project has a video spokesperson with Josh Lipton‘s charisma. Some don’t even have videos. Don’t hold it against them.
On Richmond’s Wheel:
The History of Cycling in Richmond
Everyone knows that Richmond is America’s next great cycling city. (Did I say that right, Tom?) But what about it’s history with bikes? This project has less than a day to go. Click on over there and support it now if this interests you.
Lighting and turn signals that will be seen!
This kind of looks you’ve got sensors in your brain for psychic research. But it’s a great idea. You can support the project even if you don’t think you’d personally use the product. Maybe the second generation will be more to your tastes.
The Wandertec Tuba:
A Bike Trailer for Car-Sized Errands
This is our project. (You didn’t think I’d leave this out, did you?) We have about a week to go, and fun rewards even if you don’t think you want the full trailer. If you want the large version (and not the extra large version) Kickstarter is now the only way to order one.
Hop in the Saddle
A guide to Portland’s craft beer scene, by bike.
Portland has 40 microbreweries plus it’s Portland! What could be better than experiencing a model of municipal bike-friendliness with a beer buzz?
MAGNETIC Bike Lights:
Brightening Bike Lanes Worldwide
Bicycle mount for Body Glove Kickstand Cases
This is a pretty specific niche. No wonder he has no supporters (as of this writing). But I’ve seen so many smartphone mounts for bikes that they all start to look the same. What I like about this is that it adapts your own Fashionista Body Glove case so that you’re not limited to the utilitarian-looking bike-specific cases.
Boovabox – Upcycled Bicycle Boxes
The video begins with someone dumpster-diving to acquire a milk crate — because stealing is wrong. It’s a liner that makes your rear-rack-mounted milk crate more functional, more personalized, and water repellent.
Wingz – The Revolutionary Bicycle Seatpost Rack
A clever idea that makes your bike look like a wasp. I like that it adjusts to the width of your cargo.
Turn your iPhone into a Bike Light with ease
I said that smartphone cases bore me. I take it back. I try not to get caught after dark without a tail light, but it happens. I also don’t like to carry my iPhone in my pocket. Solved and solved.
Support your small-scale VeloCapitalists.