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The Seed&Spark Blog

Metrics of Success #2

April 23, 2013

• Emily Best

Hey community!

It was a really exciting first quarter over here, and we've been getting questions recently about our stats. We wanted to share with you the small data sample on our progress so far, discuss where we think we're succeeding and where we can improve, and invite your comments, questions, and bright ideas! If there is a stat you'd like to know more about, leave it in the comments and we'll get right back to you.

If you're new to us, here's a few quick things to know so you can better interpret this data:

1. We're an 80%-or-nothing crowdfunding model. The idea is that any filmmaking team worth their snuff will make the film they promise for 80% of the budget, so that's when we give the Green Light and release the funds. Most films raise much more than 80% of their budget.

2. Upon checkout, we offer supporters a chance to cover our 5% fee on behalf of the filmmakers. We also do not have a third party payment provider, so we do not charge third party fees. 

3. We designate SUPPORTERS as users who contribute cash, goods, or services to a campaign. FOLLOWERS are users who click the Follow button on a project's page to receive notifications about project updates and earn Sparks as the project hits funding milestones. That means filmmakers can build their projects' community beyond just those who support it financially.

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We have had 19 projects start and 10 succeed so far. That's a 53% success rate (of a small sample size).

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Three of those have already completed principal photography.  

One project that successfully raised money for development (Fog City) has launched a second WishList on his projects' page to raise a round of funds for production.

The Dollars and Cents on 10 Successful Film Funding Campaigns

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6 of 10 projects raised more than 95% of their budget, and 2 of those projects raised over 100% of their budget.

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Average raised per project was $18,479 in cash, goods and services. Highest raise was $33, 646, all of which was cash. 

900 Supporters (total) contributed an average of $205.32 each in cash, goods, and services.

That said, we forsee a problem (sadly) that the loan feature could be abused to push a project over the Green Light mark without actually having those loans secured. So we are working on setting appropriate limits on loans to balance the social good for filmmakers of being able to fund your project with loans and the social protection of the audiences that you can make what you say once you get the Green Light. We're still working on this, and we'd love to hear from you. Do you think it's simply too idealistic not to set limits? 

How does this compare?

Campaign success: Other crowdfunding sites typically see a 40-45% success rate of funding campaigns. Our sample size is small, but we're encouraged by 53% success rate on a new platform right out of the gate. That said, we know that we don't have the same critical mass as other crowdfunding sites. Currently, we combat this by actively participating in the social media campaigns of every project, getting the word out through Facebook and Twitter to the widest possible audience.

Fees: Filmmakers are keeping on average 3-5% MORE of their cash raised on our site than other sites. If you count loans (on which we take no fee) filmmakers are paying less than a 3% fee on their crowdfunding! We are happy about this. Hopefully we can stay in business at this rate. 

Support: The average supporter contribution to film on other sites is about $103.00. On cash alone, our average contribution is $118 per supporter, and $205 if you count the loans of goods and services.

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Community: The 10 successful projects gained a total of 1346 FOLLOWERS (the number is indicated above by the high-five hand, and also includes supporters). 

That means each project has a 50% larger community at the end of their funding campaign than if user could only get involved as supporters. We still think we can do much, much better than this and are embedding some cool new API that can greatly increase the viral coefficiency of each user. Additionally, we would like to make it as simple as possible for audiences to become followers during the festival run of a film. We are working with festivals now, but we'd also like to hear from our filmmakers on the best way to replace the email list on a clipboard that we STILL see at so many festivals.

What's Ahead

There are currently 5 projects with active funding campaigns, one of which is a film festival! (These are not counted in the above numbers.)

We launch projects on a rolling basis and expect roughly 8 more to launch in the next two weeks.

We are working hard on making the checkout and payment experience for audiences even better. We're also working on more ways to help community members connect with one another to pitch ideas, collaborate, and share.

Filmmakers: What are some additional features that would be helpful to you during fundraising and production?

Audiences: How can we make the site simpler and more engaging?

We know, these two questions almost seem at odds with one another. We strive to alleviate as many filmmaking pain points as possible while making the audience experience as straightforward and engaing as possible. You comments and questions are greatly encouraged!

What else would you like to hear from us?


Emily Best

Emily is the Founder and CEO of Seed&Spark. She will report regularly on the progress, triumphs and challenges of Seed&Spark, and answer questions, concerns and invite new ideas!!



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