Big congratulations to IC member Raphael McGowan and the bakslap team for raising $40,000 in 30 days (they actually raised a total of $48,377). It was a massive media blitz combined with a incredible story that propelled the campaign to success. For all those startups hoping to raise funding, here is some trusted advice from Raphael about what makes or breaks a crowdfunding campaign.

Why did you launch a Kickstarter campaign?
I’ve always been intrigued with Kickstarter campaigns because they have the ability to pre-launch your product / project with communities from all over the world. I wanted to share the reason behind our brand and begin building early support that could then be carried forward during the final stages before product launch. It was my intention to let others be a part of our journey and help bring the bakslap project to live.

What did you do to make your campaign successful?
We wanted to use Kickstarter to both raise funds as well as generate early PR for brand awareness. But more so to connect with the community, friends and supporters in multiple towns to bring a real face to our brand. We worked our butts off to be authentic by sharing how we were feeling, what our brand stands for and being very genuine in thanking all those who supported us by pre-purchasing and sharing bakslap within their own community.

What were your biggest challenges?
In our first week it was keeping up with the amount of PR we were receiving and how best to utilise that PR for brand awareness, our campaign and to convert that into pre-purchasing of product. Another challenge was time. During the Kickstarter campaign it was essentially myself and one of my colleagues working full-time. Daily tasks such as managing social media responses, setting up and managing multiple Facebook/Instagram ad campaigns, email correspondence with online publications, PR generation, as well as organising and attending face-to-face engagements in the various towns we spent time in (to name a few) all required time, but they were all exciting and helped us gain traction.

What advice can you give other entrepreneurs who want to launch a Kickstarter campaign?
Everything I read about it becoming the number one priority and requiring your full-time attention during the campaign is 100% correct! You can spend many months planning email lists and contact lists of people who can help spread the word about your Kickstarter campaign but be prepared to pivot in your plans. By this, new opportunities arise that will require your time and effort and unfortunately you only have so much in each day, so you have to be selective. My advice would be to not only evaluate how each day is going to play out, but in our case we also broke the 30-day campaign into four phases each phase being one week. You learn what worked well and what needs to be changed and you implement it immediately. 30 days flies by! My advice is to have a plan, and come up with a best approach to connect with your audience because sitting at your desk expecting funding isn’t going to work.

What happens now that you’ve raised the full amount?
By reaching our Kickstarter goal it allows our project to continue moving forward and we are excited to soon complete the next phase of manufacturing — the product mould. Reaching your Kickstarter goal is wonderful, and we did celebrate it, but it is only one part of the project with much more to complete and organise. I don’t want to give the impression that now we sit back and the product magically appears on shelves – there is a lot to still be done. Now we know we can share it with our growing community of supporters.

Raphael McGowan, an avid adventurer-turned-inventor and the creator of the bakslap, an applicator that makes it easy for you to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun, started bakslap after the tragic loss of his beautiful sister Tess to melanoma skin cancer. Tess had just celebrated her first wedding anniversary, and had recently given birth to her first child when, on June 22, 2012, after her long and difficult battle against melanoma, she passed away at just age 31. It was confronting and heart-wrenching seeing Tess’ decline as she bravely battled her illness, but it motivated Raphael to learn more about melanoma, and to do something about it. In 2016, he moved back to beautiful Queensland. It seemed like the most fitting location to base his business, because as its nickname name suggests, the ‘Sunshine State’ has the highest melanoma rate on the planet. Click here to lean more about bakslap and how it helps prevent melanoma skin cancer.