CrowdfundHQ was built with no investors in a non-hierarchical team of an amazing back-end developer and myself. I led all design, branding, and front-end development (HTML & CSS). We started from scratch and built something more powerful than we ever imagined.

Problem

Starting your own crowdfunding website was expensive and wrought with frustration. Why couldn't it be easier?

When we started CrowdfundHQ, the only way to create your own crowdfunding site was to try to cobble together a site through open-source software, or hire a company who "specialized" in it by overcharging you with huge set-up fees and ongoing maintenance.

Why wasn't there something to automate the set-up, like when you start a WordPress blog, or start an ecommerce site?

Solution

We automated everything possible to make it maintenance-free, and provided thorough documentation and business resources for our users.

To start a crowdfunding website with any of our competitors, you had to call them, go through a lengthy set-up process, and pay thousands before you ever saw your website. With CrowdfundHQ, we let people sign-up and instantly showed them their own crowdfunding website. No commitment, and an instant feeling of success is a great way to gain sign-ups and positive interactions with your users.

The rest of the CrowdfundHQ walked them through fine-tuning their website through different designs, configurations, payment flows, analytics, and so much more.

Outcome

Only a year after launch, we had more than 1000 sign-ups and 100 customers.

We quickly iterated on concepts and marketing strategies to see what worked, and listened closely to what our users needed, while keeping a stripped down user interface and keeping our goal of providing the tools and resources for 99% of crowdfunding site owners.

I learned so much through the process of building a SaaS start-up. Things broke. Things were fixed. Mistakes were made, and our site become better as a result.

I don't work for CrowdfundHQ anymore, but I can't stress how much I learned through this project. As of 2015, my User Interface Design and underlying front-end development is still in place, but not my visual designs.