The Self-starter
Cameron Robertson
Cofounder, Lockitron

Go Your Own Way

Where platforms like Kickstarter, YouTube, and Facebook fall short, entrepreneurs are stepping in.

Cameron Robertson

Cofounder, Lockitron

After Kickstarter denied his Wi-Fi–enabled dead bolt, Robertson created his own crowdfunding platform, Selfstarter. It took off and went on to help the popular lost-and-found app Tile raise $2.6 million.

The Self-Starter

A day after we submitted Lockitron, Kickstarter was putting limitations on gadget projects, such as not allowing renderings. The next day, we were rejected—though they said we were caught under a long-standing rule against 'home-improvement projects.'

We'd been rubbed so wrongly that we wanted to own the crowdfunding experience. We developed Selfstarter in a week. We were adamant about not charging customers until the creator's product was ready to ship—and not, like Kickstarter, when the financial goal is reached. Sometimes a creator never ships their product, and funders rightly get upset. Under our new plan, we asked for $150,000 and raised $2.3 million—without charging anyone's cards.

On Selfstarter, you can keep raising funds after your campaign ends. On a platform like Kickstarter, we'd have had to redirect traffic to our site after the campaign ended. That's a massive loss.

I wrote a post on TechCrunch after we launched our Lockitron campaign and folks said, 'We had the same problem. Can you help us out?' It made sense to open-source the software and give it away for people to use. Nearly $7 million has been raised on Selfstarter. Truthfully, I'm more excited to see where others take it.

Fast Talk: Breaking from the Crowd

[Photograph by Mathew Scott]

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