Crowdfunding gone right: a guide for a reward-based crowdfunding campaign for an AI mental health platform
Wintersemester 2020 - mindcoa.ch
The company mindcoa.ch GmbH was founded in 2017 by Mike Beer, an entrepreneur with professional experience of more than 30 years in the IT and consulting sectors. While working on his dissertation, he discovered there were no comprehensive online psychological help services involving artificial intelligence, although the need for them was substantial. The main purpose behind mindcoa.ch is to offer low barrier mental help for everyone in need. This issue is only becoming more prominent during the Covid-19 crisis due to stress related issues caused by lockdowns and the rapidly changing environment.
The project goal was to assist mindcoa.ch in creating a successful crowdfunding campaign to for their upcoming AI-based mental health platform called “Galene”. The crowdfunding campaign is supposed to amass at least 75 000€ as a condition of the Impact Innovation grant by The Austrian Research Promotion Agency that mindcoa.ch applied for.
To achieve the goal, a systematic literature review was conducted in order to collect existing theoretical crowdfunding findings. To add practical implications, past mental health crowdfunding campaigns were analyzed to determine good and bad practices for setting up medical campaigns. In addition to that, different crowdfunding platforms were compared in order to find the most suitable platform that fits the purpose and topic of mindcoa.ch’s project. Based on these academic findings and results, recommendations were formulated to create a guideline on how to set up such a crowdfunding campaign.
Three core factors that influence the success of a reward-based crowdfunding campaign have been identified. Firstly, the content plays a vital role, as it must introduce the project to readers and viewers in a brief and exciting way while being able to showcase the unique features of said project. A campaign video is absolutely essential for informing the audience and creating a personal connection and is, therefore, highly recommended. The linguistic factors of the campaign also play a crucial role in its success. For instance, the language used both in the video and in the descriptions given should be interactive, concrete and objective in order to capture attention and create trust and a feeling of authenticity towards the project. Moreover, it is important to convey a positive message to display confidence, use perceptual language to make the information easier to grasp and avoid risk-related language, as it increases uncertainty. In addition to that, direct communication with potential backers should be fostered to create a stronger donation incentive. Secondly, the crowdfunding platform choice plays a major role, as it influences whether the campaign is promoted internationally or regionally. The two best options for these requirements are either Startnext (for the Austrian market) or Indiegogo (for a more international approach). Furthermore, the importance of the campaign duration choice should also not be underestimated, as it can drastically alter the momentum. A campaign duration of 30-40 days is ideal to keep engagement high. Thirdly, rewards are the foundation of a reward-based crowdfunding campaign. Three different types of rewards should be used to offer people a wide selection in every price range: namely service, pre-orders and recognition. These rewards create a sense of reassurance in people and give them something in exchange for their donation. Early bird rewards are especially effective as they create urgency to donate early on because they offer the donors the service for a significant discount. A crowdfunding campaign should include at least 10-15 reward tiers, with discounted pre-orders being the most popular option.
Mike Beer, Mag.
Dr. Peter Vandor, MIM
Dr. Reinhard Millner, MMag.