arkyd-200x2001 Space Telescope.

30 Days.

$1 Million Dollars.

Enter The ARKYD…

About a year ago we started working on a unique challenge: how can we help Planetary Resources crowdfund a million dollars to build and launch a publicly-controlled, orbiting space telescope?

To lay it out a bit more: we have a satellite that orbits the Earth taking photos of space and sending them back for review and research. The ARKYD is designed as a sort of miniature Hubble telescope if you will.

Unlike most Kickstarter projects like Ouya, Pebble Watch, or a video game campaign like Massive Chalice — the ARKYD is different. The question isn’t, “will people want to buy my widget.” It’s, “will people want to fund this big inspiration thing that’s going to do awesome things, but for everyone, not just me?”

To quote Planetary Resources co-founder Peter Diamandis, “There are easier ways to raise a million dollars.” The goal of the campaign, however, isn’t really about raising money at all. The funds are important, as they provide a crucial ability to actually support the telescope in its 3+ year excursion for the public good (however don’t cover it’s build cost). But the campaign is actually about building support around science and space science specifically. It’s about taking something that, until now, has only been available to governments and transforming space into something that’s truly available to everyone.

That sounds all nice and wonderful, but how does that translate into a crowdfunding campaign?

A Primer On Crowdfunding…

ks-indieogo-logosCrowdfunding isn’t exactly new, but it’s still in its proverbial infancy. Most people have never heard of Kickstarter or Indiegogo — the most popular crowdfunding sites — so here’s a quick primer:

Imagine being a small start-up. You have a really innovative product or idea. You have all the drive in the world, but you don’t have the funds to bring the product to fruition.

In the past, you had a couple options: take out a loan OR bring in investors in exchange for equity.

With crowdfunding, it works like this: you take your product or service, throw it up on a crowdfunding platform, select a target goal and time-frame and then test the waters. You essentially have people to fund the creation of the product or service that they want to consume, at a later date. Think of it as performing market analysis that allows you to fund the creation of a product without the regular need of taking on more debt or giving away more equity in your business. Another word for this in the marketing world is dry-testing and in the past the FTC has had problems with it due to businesses not delivering on their promises. However crowdfunding campaigns are extremely transparent with the fact that the products do not yet exist.

If you can reach your goal, you get the money. If you fail to raise your goal, you get nothing. Nada. It’s a high-risk, high-reward proposition. And it’s growing in popularity, precisely because it allows the crowd to determine if something actually gets made, putting the control in their own hands.

This type of emerging technology will no doubt throw a wrench into the traditional venture capital business model as it grows.

The Challenge…

We love a good challenge at Tech Guys, so we approached this crowdfunding campaign the same way we would any other product launch. We spent a good deal of time analyzing successful campaigns, gathering data about the platform we would be using and the tools we have available.

From there it was a long process of creating a marketing campaign and assets that illuminated the ways that people can use the telescope themselves, donate time to research and education or get a fun novelty that they can hang on the fridge. IMMORTALIZED IN SPACE ain’t bad right?!


Being part of a campaign that seeks to break new ground in what’s possible with today’s emerging technologies and trends is extremely gratifying on many levels. We’re extremely proud to have had the opportunity to help execute one of the most successful space crowdfunding campaigns to date. (And we still have 10 days left to go!)

As a team of infovores, the campaign has a larger appeal: the ability to learn an immeasurable amount of information about how people react to different product models; the avenues that can help drive a crowdfunding campaign to completion; the limits of a the traditional affiliate and traffic generation model, etc.

Running a successful crowdfunding campaign is very different from a regular product launch and we’re excited to apply the lessons learned on the next one!


Thanks to our friends at Atomic Ginger studios for their passion and support in creating this awesome video!

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