Case Study: Cards Against Humanity LLC

If you’ve dreamed of launching a Kickstarter campaign, you can raise a decent amount of money. The founders of Cards Against Humanity LLC originally wanted to raise $4,000 from their Kickstarter campaign in December 2010. They overshot that goal and 6 years later, earned an estimated $12 million.
If you don’t know this wildly popular game, the concept of the game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card and then others will answer with a white card they believe is the funniest answer. The cards are all revealed and the person with the black card chooses the winner.

What started as a small venture between a few friends grew into a cult-like following. People were reselling cards on sites like eBay as high as $100 per deck (they’re usually for sale for $25).
Interested in finding out their rise to fame?

Their Humble Beginnings

Their initial Kickstarter campaign described Cards Against Humanity as “a free game for horrible people.”
What started as a game created for parties soon turned into something people around them practically begged to get their hands on. High school friends Max Temkin and Ben Hantoot found that their game became popular.
A few months later, they designed a PDF set of cards, published a website and gave the cards away for free. They got over 1600 emails that way.
As people kept giving them feedback, Max wanted to use Kickstarter to raise money. He experimented with launching a small campaign and was able to raise $2,000 from that. The he approached his partner about the idea of raising money for Cards Against Humanity LLC.

Their Growth

When they launched their campaign, they emailed people on their mailing list about buying cards. Within two weeks, they met their initial goal of $4,000.
But they didn’t stop there. Cards Against Humanity (LLC) emailed the backers thanking them and asking them to fill out a short survey. This contained feedback questions. More specifically, asking how they can improve the game even more.
Next, they emailed prominent gaming bloggers asking them to review the cards. When they did, Matt (who headed the campaign) would put the reviews on their Kickstarter page as a way to provide more legitimacy for their product.
During this time, they still made the game for free as a downloadable PDF so it served as a sort of marketing tool.
When they kept hitting their funding goals, they’ll add in stretch goals. One was if they were able to raise $15,000 Cards Against Humanity would add 50 new cards in the game.
All in all, Cards Against Humanity LLC was able to raise a total of $15,570 in two months. And it hasn’t stopped there.

Lessons Learned

If you want to have a successful business, keep in mind that you need to create something that people want. People may not ask you to provide a service or product, but if you listen hard enough, you never know. Also, find plenty of ways for people to discover your business and make them feel like they’re part of your journey.
Ultimately, having a successful business is serving your people. How will you serve yours?

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