Pozible Co-founders: Alan Crabbe (L) & Rick Chen (R)
After founding Pozible with his Irish counterpart Alan Crabbe in Australia in 2010, Rick Chen, who is Chinese born, helped bring the Melbourne-based crowdfunding site to China last April. Over a one year period, Pozible’s overseas pledges have grown 600%, while its technology category soared 300%, Rick told TechNode.
While the service is widely used by the arts community to raise funding in Australia, Pozible refocused to smart hardware when landing in China. The logic behind this shift is simple. The promise of most foreign crowdfunding sites, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo has always be helping to start a company, or investing in an idea, but the market reality in China is that Chinese people don’t like to bet on uncertainties, rather they prefer to put money in something they can see instant returns on. So smart hardware campaigns become the most popular crowdfunding category in China with guarantee of sexy and attainable gadgets.
The smart hardware boom in China has prompted the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) sector with repercussions for smart homes, wearables, connected cities and cars, and beyond. IDC has estimated that by 2020, there’ll be 212 billion connected devices – or about 30 for every person on the earth. The global IoT market is estimated to be worth US$8.9 trillion by 2020.
As Crowdfunding is becoming the alternative way for IoT makers to launch their products, Pozible has recorded a remarkable growth in IoT projects. Rick disclosed that a total of 33 IoT projects on the platform raised RMB10.7 million (US$1.7 million) from 16,641 supporters in the 10 months up to Feb 2015. Three IoT/wearable projects, GEAK Watch II, Star.21 and Gyenno One, ranked among the ten most-funded projects of all time on the platform. Moreover, big companies like Xunlei and Broadlink also ran successful campaigns on the site.
To further prompt IoT projects to join the platform, Pozible has entered in a partnership with Shanghai-Nanxiang government and IDG Capital Partners to provide financial backing for IoT entrepreneurs and help hook them up with investor capital.
“The Internet of Things is a wave, and it’s only going to get bigger,” said founder Rick Chen. “US$600B is going to be invested in the industry by 2020 – and that’s just by the Chinese government. If you’re into IoT, it’s going to be very hard to be competitive if you’re not involved in what’s happening in China right now.”
When talking about the characteristics of Chinese crowdfunding market, Rick noted that most people turn to crowdfunding because they need money, what they found in China was people using crowdfunding because they wanted the crowd.
“Creators would even price rewards so that they were losing money, because they craved early users and the chance to build a community around a new product. Most of the technology projects – from smart bicycles to fitness trackers – had a social media aspect of, this is how you share your experience with your friends.”
“Crowdfunding is ideal for product launches because it allows creators to test demand for their product first, rather than investing in manufacturing and then trying to move stock. Like in many other industries, in IoT this is helping break down the barriers for new inventors and startups who don’t have a lot of capital. It’s evening out the playing field. Pozible is proud that we can be part of helping new companies and ideas get started, especially in the fast-growing area of IoT”, he said.