The crowdfunding platforms that make the most noise (see: Kickstarter) are becoming more and more reluctant to accept product-focused offerings (see: KickstarterReject.com) for a variety of reasons: patent concerns, fulfillment concerns, liability concerns and the list goes on and on. Are their concerns valid? Debatable, but the point is moot anyway. Kickstarter wants to limit risk and they have that right. Power to the portals.
What about contributors? When a supply chain meltdown halfway around the world creates a fulfillment problem for a crowdfunded product offering, contributors don’t have a great way of predicting that. We can’t expect willing contributors to hound an entrepreneur or call a factory in China to perform due diligence on manufacturing capabilities.
Enter ChristieStreet.com, a rewards-based crowdfunding portal whose model focuses on solving some of these problems for inventors and contributors alike.
Christie Street actually performs due diligence on inventions and inventors on behalf of their contributors. They internally examine products and their supply chains and only surface offerings that meet their standards for acceptance. It is a little peace of mind for weary crowdfunders.
Does the approach sound familiar? Quirky takes a similar approach minus the crowdfunding aspect. If you’re accepted to Quirky you’re in their catalog and they take part ownership. Christie Street is essentially a mix of Kickstarter and Quirky, an idea that seems obvious in light of the aforementioned struggles on larger crowdfunding platforms.
According to their web site, Christie Street “remain(s) focused on showcasing only product concepts that are feasible and credible. If it can be made, we’d love to support it, which is exactly why we named the company Christie Street. In addition to being the street of Thomas Edison’s lab in New Jersey, it’s also the first road to actually use his electric lights for illumination. Thus Christie Street embodies a place where innovation is born, and ideas are turned into reality.”
The first offering on Christie Street is the DoorBot, a smartphone-enabled doorbell with an internal camera. The DoorBot team has even partnered with Lockitron to offer Lockitron’s smartphone-enabled door lock and their smartphone-enabled doorbell as a package deal. Thanks to Lockitron’s open API, the DoorBot app can control both. The ability to receive a doorbell notification on your phone, see who is at the door and unlock your door from anywhere is very Jetsons. Gotta love it!
The campaign’s goal is $250,000, a huge raise for a niche product on a new portal. It will be interesting to monitor the progress of the campaign.
Christie Street founder Jamie Siminoff knows marketing is a huge part of a successful raise, and his platform is taking a very personal approach to helping inventors find success. “We are much more collaborative than the other platforms,” he said. “We have an inventor concierge to assist through the whole process.”
Innovative product design is arguably the most tangible and visible example of the power of crowdfunding we have in the US to date. Hopefully Christie Street can help create a better environment for these products to garner interest.