Crowdfunding Tips with Evan Varsamis CEO of Gadget Flow

Crowdfunding Tips with Evan Varsamis CEO of Gadget Flow

Crowdfunding Tips with Evan Varsamis CEO of Gadget Flow

💵 Crowdfunding Promotion Service

Evan Varsamis

Evan Varsamis

Founder and CEO

Gadget Flow

Gadget Flow is the original product discovery platform for staying up to date with the latest tech, gear, and most incredible crowdfunding campaigns. Reaching over 28 million people per month, our iOS and Android apps support AR and VR for next-level product exploration.

🇺🇸 New York

🏆 3 Founders

💵 Raised Over $50,000,000 for crowdfunding and e-commerce campaigns

We interviewed Evan Varsamis, Founder and CEO of Gadget Flow, and discussed how he started Gadget Flow he shared his best advice for crowdfunding campaigns.

Intro

Who are you and what business did you start?

Crowdfunding Campaign Promotion

What crowdfunding services do you offer?

Do you have any crowdfunding campaign advice?

Final Thoughts

How are things going today with Gadget Flow and what are your plans for the future?

Where can we learn more about Gadget Flow?

Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Evan Varsamis I’m an NYC-based Entrepreneur, Founder CEO at Gadget Flow Inc, Investor and Marketing Advisor at Qrator Ltd and contributor at Forbes, Inc, HuffPost, and American Express Essentials. Sprint Crowdfunding Fund and Crowdreach advisor and speaker. My work has been featured on Mashable, The Next Web, Entrepreneur, Fortune, Forbes, and the Web Summit. 

I was always passionate about tech, coding, design, gadgets and everything in between when I was around 13 I started coding (HTML, CSS, C++) and I was so pumped that I could create something of my own as well as keep enhancing it over time. I started designing websites and launched a web design agency in Greece with a friend of mine about a year before I turned 18 ,we worked mostly with Greek retail stores as it was right around the time that everyone wanted a website, we closed the company once I graduated high school and started studying shipping and finance as I had limited time. Around that time I launched a couple of blogs that were featuring web design tutorials, roundups, photographers, graphic designers, etc. I monetized that website with banner ads and text link ads making a 4 digit profit every month. One year before I graduate from college I incorporated a media agency with my best friend and we were focusing on digital advertising, branding, and marketing in general, we had mostly customers from abroad and at that time I was also a junior broker at a shipping firm so a broker during the day and a designer in the afternoon, the reason I was doing two jobs was because I wanted to test the waters and see which one I like the most, after 8 months I focused 100% on the agency. 

Mike Chliounakis (my partner and co-founder), had the initial idea of launching our own startup that was back in 2012, therefore around August that year we came up with the idea of Gadget Flow with Mike and Cassie Ousta (my wife and business partner) and due to our background as well as the resources that we had available we literally launched the business overnight, people loved the idea of being able to discover great new products every day, not necessarily known brands but quality products from all over the world, the brand quickly grew organically as we kept optimizing it and releasing new content daily.

Crowdfunding Campaign Promotion

What crowdfunding services do you offer?

Today Gadget Flow reaches over 30,000,000 people every month through our web platform, social, newsletters, our iOS/Android apps, push notifications, etc. We’ve worked with over 8,000 brands including Fortune 500 companies and over 4,000 crowdfunding campaigns. What we offer is native advertising to our customers through our marketing/enterprise plans. We only accept and feature products that we would feature organically anyway and our acceptance rate is around 87% at the moment. 

We give the opportunity to brands, startups, and crowdfunding campaigns to get in front of our audience through featured placements, newsletter placements, social posts, etc. https://thegadgetflow.com/submit/ We also offer unboxing services in partnership with Cory Group, our host Jonny Caplan, a very well-known tech reporter unboxes a product a couple of times a month through our new segment on Youtube – https://thegadgetflow.com/unboxing/

We also have our Podcast which could be a great resource for creators – podcast.thegadgetflow.com. We mostly interview creators, C-Level execs, entrepreneurs and everything in between. 

Do you have any crowdfunding campaign advice?

I’ve personally helped hundreds of creators over the years, sometimes with hands-on work but most of the time as a consultant. Truth is that I’ve been observing the crowdfunding market for the past 7 years, I’ve worked closely with Kickstarter’s and Indiegogo team on campaigns and I’ve seen trends come and go. 

When it comes to launching a crowdfunding campaign you have to think of it as launching a business, it takes time, energy, resources and you are in it for the long run and not make a quick buck, whoever tries the opposite, fail, this is why today in 2020 ⅔ of projects fail, there is this misconception going around that you’ll go live on a crowdfunding platform and raise $100k overnight. That used to be the case back in 2014-15 but things changed, if you consider that back then there were only 500-800 projects going live every month and today over 6,000 projects launch every month you pretty much understand why that is not the case. You can still do it though with a great product, a great team and by following all the right steps. 

I’ve seen the campaigns offering products for $49 and by quickly googling the tech behind the product, you can find the exact same product unbranded on Aliexpress for $3, thankfully backers became aware the past few years and we see less and less of these cases. 

For people that are interested in launching a campaign we’ve created a great crowdfunding checklist here – https://thegadgetflow.com/blog/crowdfunding-checklist/ it all starts with a great product or a great idea. Then figuring out the numbers, approach, logistics, then a period of 1-3 months running a pre-launch campaign so you can gather anywhere from 5-25k subscribers then going live and using FB Ads, marketing services like ours, and PR to increase awareness, traffic and backers. 

Kickstarter has been the leading reward-based crowdfunding platform in the world for many years in a row but Indiegogo is trying to follow-up pretty aggressively by capitalizing on their unique offerings/approach. I’ve seen in 2019 that tech projects performed better on Indiegogo but everything else performed better on Kickstarter, Indiegogo gives you the opportunity to install a pixel to your page and has a tracking system but there are workarounds on Kickstarter as well. Support-wise Indiegogo is doing a stellar job for the past 4 years, assisting creators, working hands-on with teams so they can get the most out of their projects, what I personally recommend is to work with both platforms, starting with Kickstarter, then moving on Indiegogo in-demand and then launching your own Amazon/eCommerce store. 

If you are planning to launch a campaign and you are not willing to spend 5 hours a day learning the basics for a few months then you should either hire an agency or a consultant. I also work with marketing teams as a consultant a few times a year so if you need some guidance, feel free to reach out to me through my personal website https://evanvarsamis.com

Final Thoughts

How are things going today with Gadget Flow and what are your plans for the future?

Your answer: Things are going really well, we’ve been growing organically since day one and we’ve been profitable. We have a team of around 28 people mostly from US, Canada and Europe working remotely and 2020 is going to be all about rapid growth. We have had a dozen of M&A requests over the years but we have some great plans for our brand for the coming years, a series A funding is on the horizon, as well as opening a branch in Asia within the next few quarters.

Where can we learn more about Gadget Flow?

You can learn more about Gadget Flow at thegadgetflow.com , follow me on Instagram @evanvar or Twitter @evanvar

Need help choosing the best kickstarter marketing services for your campaign?

Take our Crowdfunding Marketing Services Matchmaker survey and we’ll help you explore the best PRs, Email newsletters, Agencies, Social Media experts and consultants to help you reach your campaign goals! Get started here!

The Story of Qi Aerista

The Story of Qi Aerista

The Story of Qi Aerista

👏 Crowdfunding

Rick Ha

Co-Founder

Qi Aerista

Qi Aerista – Perfect Tea, Perfect Moments!

🇭🇰 Hong Kong

📅  Founded 2013

🏆 3 Founders

💵 Kickstarter + Indiegogo: raised US$240k

How Rick Ha co-founded Qi Aerista, the smart tea maker, and some advice from his crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that raised over $240k!

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Intro

Who are you and what business did you start?

Product

Tell us about the process of creating Qi Aerista.

Kickstarter campaign promotion

Walk us through your pre-launch marketing for the qi aerista tea maker.

Did you do any advertising for your Kickstarter campaign for Qi Aerista?

What are some of the best Kickstarter Marketing Services you used?

Final Thoughts

What are your sources of inspiration?

What apps or tools are most important to your business?

How are things with Qi Aerista smart tea maker today and what are your plans for the future?

Where can we learn more about Qi Aerista?

Intro

Who are you and what business did you start?

Qi Aerista is founded by husband & wife team of Dr. Rick Ha and Karen Wan. Our mission is to save the world from badly brewed tea.

Rick grew up in Hong Kong, a city vibrant with tea culture from the East & West. His childhood is haunted by the horrors of badly brewed tea that ruined family meals and other special occasions.  

“What if there is a better way to prevent badly brewed tea from ruining the important moments of our lives?” Rick asked.

Our startup journey began in 2013, where we focused on developing an automatic tea making solution that makes it easy for anyone to brew any type of tea perfect to your taste every time. 

Since our market launch in July 2018, we have shipped thousands of brewers and tea packages to over 60 countries. 

With our brewer, app and quality tea, Qi Aerista delivers a truly fun IoTea experience to tea lovers around the world.

Product

Tell us about the process of creating the Qi Aerista smart tea maker.

Rick used to work at a Fortune 500 company as a research scientist to bring innovative products from ideation all the way to market launch. 

After starting Qi Aerista, our team closely collaborated with external partners and industry players to cover different aspects of product creation, covering industrial design, product development, manufacturing and logistics.

We field our partners and suppliers mainly through industry networks, trade shows and referrals. After candidates have been identified and chosen, we will conduct rounds of on-site visits and virtual discussions to better familiarize our partners with our goals and requirements.

Kickstarter campaign promotion

Marketing Before Kickstarter

Walk us through your pre-launch marketing for the qi aerista tea maker.

Prior to our crowdfunding campaign, we have set up a landing page introducing our tea maker about 6 months before the Kickstarter launch. We attracted early supporters to our landing page using Facebook ads. 

We have participated in several relevant industry trade shows such as CES Asia, RISE, World Tea Expo and Hong Kong Tea Fair to obtain early feedback on our product and gauge interest from the professional community.

Kickstarter Advertising

Did you do any advertising for your Kickstarter campaign for Qi Aerista?

We mostly ran ads on Facebook and collected email sign-ups through our landing page. The mailing list we compiled was vital in helping us gain early momentum in our crowdfunding campaign.

What are some of the best Kickstarter Marketing Services you used?

We were featured in the World Tea News, a premier source of tea industry news, several tea blogs and gadget networks. They were free publications. 

We collected our mailing lists from our landing page. 

From our experience, having a solid mailing list is the key to a successful campaign.

Final Thoughts

What are your sources of inspiration?

I would say my background inspired me to do what I’m doing now. I was born in Hong Kong, an East-meets-West city. Then I spent most of my schooling in Toronto and came back to work in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Though I have lived outside of Hong Kong for many years, I have always loved my home town. Every time when I taste the Hong Kong-style milk tea made by Qi Aerista IoTea Brewer, it touched my heart because that’s the taste of home for me. This sentiment is what motivated me to continue developing Qi Aerista, as a way to make Perfect Tea, Perfect Moments.

What apps or tools are most important to your business?

As a startup, one of the most important tools is to always maintain open communication within the team. As a founder, it is important to share even a small win to the team and consistently maintain an upkeep spirit in the face of everyday challenges. 

In addition, keeping our mindset flexible is also essential. Plans change all the time. Being able to hop amongst different tasks is the norm for entrepreneurs.

How are things with Qi Aerista smart tea maker today and what are your plans for the future?

We maintain active engagement with our users through social media to collect user feedback and improve our products. We look forward to starting work on our second generation brewer very soon, perhaps through another crowdfunding campaign in 2020.

Where can we learn more about Qi Aerista?

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Need help choosing the best kickstarter marketing services for your campaign?

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