What you need to know about launching a Kickstarter project in Montreal

According to a CBC analysis, the majority of Kickstarter campaigns launched in Montreal are tech and video games, but the crowdfunding projects that succeed aren't necessarily what you'd expect.

CBC looks into what it takes to make a successful crowdfunding campaign

Compulsion Games chief operating officer Sam Abbott, founder Guillaume Provost, and 2D artist Sarah Hamilton discuss the latest update to We Happy Few. The video game raked in more than $300,000 on Kickstarter. (Jaela Bernstien/CBC)

According to a CBC analysis, the majority of Kickstarter campaigns launched in Montreal are tech and video games, but the crowdfunding projects that succeed aren't necessarily what you'd expect.

CBC looked at six years of Kickstarter projects with data provided by Web Robots and HiveWire, two firms that track crowdfunding sites. 

Only Kickstarter data was used, since it has the largest and most representative sample of Canadian crowdfunding projects.

The crowdfunding data sheds light on creative trends in cities large and small, including Montreal.

As far as the total number of Kickstarter projects is concerned, Montreal is the third biggest city, after Toronto and Vancouver.

Montreal is known as a tech and video game hub, and that's reflected on Kickstarter, where most of the campaigns launched out of Montreal are in the tech and video gaming industry.

But not all Kickstarter campaigns actually succeed.

So which projects are most likely to achieve their target fundraising goals?

In Montreal, films performed above the national average: 49 per cent of those launched here succeeded, compared to the 37 per cent success rate nationwide.

Montreal also outperforms the country in tech projects — the toughest category according to CBC's analysis.

In Montreal, one quarter of tech campaigns met their funding targets. In the rest of Canada, about 19 percent did.

What makes a Kickstarter campaign successful?

One key takeaway from CBC's analysis of nearly 10,000 Canadian Kickstarter projects was that crowdfunding works best on projects that already have something to show. 

One of the highest fundraising goals in Canada that succeeded was for We Happy Few, a video game created by Compulsion Games.

They raised more than $300,000 through Kickstarter.

Guillaume Provost, Compulsion Games founder, says the project was successful because it was carefully planned.

"It's not going to happen by itself. Buzz or hype or interest doesn't happen by itself," he says.

We Happy Few is a video game about an retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England. (Compulsion Games)

His goal was to create momentum for the first day of the Kickstarter campaign. To do that, his team garnered as much support as possible ahead of time — promoting their project at events like PAX East, a gaming conference in Boston.

Now that the game is live and available for download, Provost and his team still remain engaged with the original core group of people who supported them from the start.

Compulsion Games posts weekly updates on their website, providing fans and supporters with a sense of what they've been working on behind the scenes to improve their product.

The people who come in first when you still have a lot to prove are always going to be the people you owe the most to," he says.

"You can't forget that."

The group behind another successful Montreal Kickstarter agrees with that philosophy.

Pop a cappella group QW4RTZ raised more than $17,000 for its first album. 

But before launching their campaign they created a fanbase, doing regular shows and testing out their repertoire on their audience.

QW4RTZ member François Dubé says it's all about finding a way to get that core group of supporters engaged. 

"No matter what it is that moves you, if you feel you're a part of something bigger and that you have an impact on that person, artist, product, [you] name it, then it becomes an experience."

Having a steady fan base from years of live shows helped a capella quartet QW4RTZ run a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their first album. (Kristy Rich/CBC)


Most of the data came from Web Robots, a Lithuanian firm that harvests and shares data from multiple web services. HiveWire provided additional data for Canadian Kickstarter projects that went further back to 2010. The CBC compiled the data for each month, removed duplicate entries and discarded miscategorized entries (for example, projects based in Canada but having New York or Hong Kong listed as the city). All of the data analysis was made in the Python programming language.

With files from CBC's Kristy Rich