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Forget Kickstarter: Start-up Raises $1.5 Million on Its Own

Deadlock app Lockitron proves you don't need VCs or crowdfunding sites to launch a start-up.

Tech start-up Lockitron raised $1.5 million in pre-orders from over 10,000 backers within 24 hours last week. And it did this through its own social media and press campaign.

Lockitron, a start-up that makes computerized door locks that users can unlock via smartphone app or text message, started a grassroots crowdfunding campaign of its own after being rejected from Kickstarter. 

"I think there’s going to be a willingness to test the water if they don't get into Kickstarter," co-founder Cameron Robertson told Inc. "I think that in breaking out of the Kickstarter mold, we did something that worked better."

According to Robertson, Lockitron applied to Kickstarter during a time when the crowdfunding site was fielding a rash of complaints and negative press about funded projects that failed to deliver promised products. The negative response ultimately forced Kickstarter to revise their guidelines so that backers were better protected. "We applied to Kickstarter on a Wednesday, 'Kickstarter Is Not a Store' landed on Thursday and by Friday we were rejected," Robertson wrote in a post on TechCrunch today. 

So, Lockitron's founders launched their own funding campaign through social media and press, according to Robertson. He said the campaign really took off when TechCrunch wrote a post about Lockitron's demo video on YouTube. The video now has more than 2.3 million views since launching on October 2.

In its campaign, Lockitron assured backers they wouldn't face the same problems plaguing unfinished projects like Pebble. While users must pledge the $149 fee for a Lockitron device, they won’t have to pay a cent until the device actually ships. Robertson said that the company has enough resources to manufacture the first series of Lockitron devices without the backers' pledge. 

Lockitron is also distributing shipments in separate batches, so users know exactly when their device is coming. Robertson said that the first 9,000 backers were included in the first batch. According to Lockitron's website, the first batch will ship in March 2013 and the second batch will ship in May 2013.

 

 

 

 

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