How to Crowdfund $23 Million in 29 Days

October 23, 2015 by Jennifer A. Diffley

For this Seattle-based startup, turning $100,000 into well over $20 million was a piece of cake. Precisely-cut cake, to be exact.

Why does everyone want a Glowforge? It's pretty obvious.

When Dan Shapiro, the chief executive of Glowforge, began crowdfunding toward a relatively modest $100,000 goal, he probably didn't anticipate it reaching $1 million. Or $10 million. As of October 23, 29 days into Glowforge's crowdfunding campaign, the Seattle-based startup has raised over $23 million for its precision laser cutter. Take a look at the video below to see the machine in action:

So why has the Glowforge garnered so much attention? A few reasons:

1. It's easy.

Instead of having to learn proprietary software, Glowforge operates with whatever you're already using, from Photoshop to a simple JPEG. If you want to design a 3D object, it's as easy as exporting from a CAD design program. That makes the system accessible to everyone from hobbyists to engineers. 

2. It's simple.

The thing needs a regular household outlet to work. Everything else is done via WiFi. That's pretty insane, considering that it can carve the Arabic alphabet into a leather satchet. Plus, it's roughly the size of a 1992 scanner, so you can keep it in your home office without needing to add on to the house. It does need to be located near a window, or there's an optional $500 air filter available for purchase.

3. It's cheap.

If you order within the next 8 hours, you'll qualify for the early bird discount of half off. That means you can get the entire thing with the air filter for just under $4k. Even if you hold off, it's easy to justify spending $8k on the Glowforge instead of sending your products out to be fabricated or making them by hand.

4. It's a no-brainer investment.

As the video shows, you can make anything from printed chocolate (hello) to fancy leather satchels. That equals a booming crafting business or an easy way of etching metal for prototypes. It's easy to see a return from the initial purchase price, making the Glowforge appeal to people from every industry. 

There you go-- the Glowforge is a cheap, accessible laser cutter that delivers powerful capabilities while allowing everyone from crafters to makers to produce complex, intricate creations within the comfort of their own homes.