Photo: Octavi

“Using knowledge in a disciplined way” – crowdfunding tips from Octavi

The Munich-based startup Octavi has developed a flight simulator for the home. With the intuitive and ergonomic all-in-one device, you can control all the important instruments in a flight simulator without having to install elaborate hardware. Founder Felix von Plehwe raised over 90,000 euros with his idea via a crowdfunding campaign. He shares his tips in this interview.

Munich Startup: You cracked the funding target with Octavi within three hours. How do you explain this success – apart from the great product?

Felix von Plehwe, Octavi: Of course, that surprised us in a very positive way, but it wasn’t entirely by chance. We followed the widespread assessment that, firstly, only a fraction of backers become aware of a product via the actual crowdfunding portal and, secondly, a large part of the marketing has to take place before the campaign. Therefore, we sought media attention in advance, built a simple but appealing landing page and collected a four-digit number of newsletter subscribers and Facebook followers before we got started. The rate of subscribers who then actually supported us was then over 10 percent. That was significantly more than expected and led to a very quick achievement of the goal.

Octavi: “Success did not come entirely by chance”.

Munich Startup: How did you prepare for the campaign and where did you find good support?

Felix von Plehwe: We actively used offers, both on site in Munich and digitally. At the crowdfunding breakfast, we were able to gain a lot of experience that you can only get in a dialogue. We also got to know other startups with crowdfunding experience through other formats (for example, the SCE Innovation Café). However, there is also a lot of freely available knowledge on the internet. It is important to use this knowledge in a disciplined way.

Munich Startup: What went completely wrong?

octavi Konsole

Felix von Plehwe: Kickstarter only has slim five rules for campaigns. We completely overlooked rule number two – computer renderings of products are not allowed. We had finely worked out renderings throughout the campaign page and also in the video, which we then had to replace shortly before the already announced campaign launch. That could have been a disaster – but fortunately an extended night shift pulled it out.

Munich Startup: How did you benefit from the support for crowdfunding by the city of Munich?

Felix von Plehwe: The support from the city of Munich helped us a lot. Thanks to the funding for creative services, we were able to implement a professional video shoot at Schleißheim airfield, including drone flybys. This certainly created more confidence among potential supporters. In addition, the preparation was made much more specific by the fact that we recorded our project in writing for third parties in the application for funding.

Several good ideas for product features from supporters

Munich Startup: What were your experiences during the campaign? What surprised you positively or negatively?

Felix von Plehwe: We are very enthusiastic about our supporters. In addition to very motivating encouragement for our product, we have also received many good ideas for product features and other things that we would never have thought of. We were able to get to know our customers and their wishes much better than would have been possible through a regular sale. And that’s in addition to the fact that we were able to finance the entire production costs completely from the campaign. A negative consequence of the great rush was that the Early Bird deals were sold out in a few minutes, and we annoyed some supporters. A time limit instead of a quantity limit would have worked better.

Munich Startup: What lasting effects did the campaign have? And what’s next for you?

Felix von Plehwe: Quite quickly after the product was delivered, we realised that we had more than fulfilled our customers’ expectations. Fortunately, this has also led to great interest from new customers and organic PR. We get enquiries every day about when our product will be available for regular purchase. We are working at full speed to be able to deliver again as soon as possible. There will be an announcement in our newsletter within the next few weeks!