When that plan fell through, Mangin turned to Kickstarter. However, he had to compete with other pressure-sensitive stylus pens such as jaja and Jot. Coming late to the party, the PressurePen raised only 6% of its $60,000 goal. Mangin now wishes he had pursued crowdfunding from the start. "If I had gone straight to Kickstarter, mine would've been the first project like it on Kickstarter," he says.
Now, Mangin's fallback plan is to sell self-assembly kits of the beta model of the pen, with both the hardware schematics and software source code available as open source. "Plan B is a much longer, more arduous route," says Mangin.
Other entrepreneurs have had to adjust their expectations to obtain their crowdfunding goals. NKMOS Design Technology's Nik Conomos sought funding for an iPhone car mount. When he realized the project's original goal of $65,000 would not be met, he canceled the project and restructured it with a more reasonable goal of $10,000, which has been successfully raised.
"The original funding goal was to cover all of the tooling and manufacturing costs," says Conomos. Covering those expenses "was something we were willing to do ourselves, but of course it's just much riskier."
Getting the word out
Innovators with a vision could seek funding on their own sites without relying on the Kickstarter engine, but doing so puts more onus on them and limits their reach. "Kickstarter is giving you a platform and destination for an audience," says David Greelish, who got funding for a computer history book through Kickstarter.