Late October I faced a financial ultimatum. I had to soon start making more money working on MailMate or I would have to stop working on MailMate full time. Before starting to look for other jobs I decided to do a crowd funding experiment primarily aimed at the existing users of MailMate. This was fairly successful since more than $13,000 was pledged, but it was quite a bit less than my (unofficial) estimate of $50,000 needed to be able to work on MailMate in all of 2014.
Nevertheless, I decided to create a “real” crowd funding campaign at indiegogo. I changed the goal to be “MailMate 2.0” which corresponded to a minimum of 6 months of development in 2014. This also allowed me to set a goal of $25,000 instead of $50,000 which I now considered as unrealistic. Using “2.0” in the goal description made it an easier “sell” (I’m a bit worried that it also sets unrealistic expectations).
This campaign was a huge success. The goal was reached within a week and more than $42,741 were raised in total. Even more importantly, MailMate gained a lot of exposure and new users. In retrospect, it has been a bit of a marketing stunt.
As noted, the total amount raised was $42,741. The following table shows which perks were selected by the 677 contributors:
|License key for MailMate 1
|Single user license key
|Two single user license keys
|Family license key
|Site license key (5)
|Site license key (10)
|Site license key (20)
|Site license key (50)
|Site license key (100)
|Site license key (100) + Bundle
Note that the numbers do not add up. This is because a contributor can pay a larger amount than required for the perk selected. Also, $3,383 were contributed without selecting a perk (though some times by error).
By far, the most popular perk was the license key for MailMate 2.0. This alone would have been enough to reach the $25,000 goal.
For those interested (probably other crowd funders), there are several fees to be paid. After Indiegogo (4%) and PayPal have taken their share then around $38,100 is left and PayPal takes another 2.5% just to convert to Danish kroner. The remaining amount is about what corresponds to $37,150. Then comes the Danish income taxes. Note that I’m not complaining. Just laying down the facts.
As promised in the campaign, the contributed amount ensures that I can work on MailMate for at least 9-10 months of 2014. It might be more if regular sales are better than they were in 2013. I have no release date for 2.0, but in practice it is not of major importance. MailMate is updated regularly and this currently includes features intended for version 2.0. Right now you can enable preliminary versions of some of these features in the General preferences pane of MailMate.
Now, what happens when/if I run out of money again? Well, then it’s back to square one. I might even try the crowd funding approach again.