Based in Liverpool Draw & Code was founded in YEAR and secured funding from the UK Games Fund in YEAR. The company was self-funding fulfilling client work, bringing customer contacts from previous roles in the industry.
Draw & Code’s funded project, SwapBots, are collectable and customisable toys that are brought to life by a smartphone or tablet using augmented reality.
The company’s three main sources of funding for Swapbots were:
• Angel investment
• UK Games Fund
• Crowdfunding (Kickstarter)
Angel investment was luckily secured early on in development; due to the need for physical copies of the game that funding was vital in creating a suite of assets essential for project growth.
Angel investment has proven to be beneficial to the company in more ways than just the financial side; investors have brought different experience/skills to the project and have stressed the importance upon the team of running a successful business – that is, focusing on the “bigger picture” and not just the project in hand.
Support from the UK Games Fund allowed the company to work develop and polish the SwapBots prototype in order to take the project to the next stage of development – Kickstarter.
Crowdfunding can be notoriously time-consuming and resource-draining, but Phil admits that while being hard work their Kickstarter campaign acted as an early testing ground for the market demand for the project. Not only that, the campaign has proven to be an excellent marketing tool.
Target market 5-11-year olds, not your typical audience on the likes of Kickstarter! The key to running a successful crowdfunding campaign is to know the demographics of the donors – they might not be the project’s target audience, so the communication strategy has to be adapted as needed.
The company took the approach of trying to do as much networking/marketing to the benefit of the campaign in a face-to-face way; it was more cost efficient for them to host an event at their office with targeted supporters being invited than it was to run a digital ad campaign. Although such an approach might not always be possible, Phil recommends that those seeking to secure crowdfunding try to reach out to their potential donors in as personal a way, as often as possible, at every suitable opportunity.
A variety of funding sources has been unequivocally financially vital to the project’s development, but it the different streams of support have also acted as validation of the team’s work giving them the motivation to keep going even when circumstances are challenging.