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Crowdfunding dwindles for startup watchmakers

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With so many of us stuck at home with little more than the internet for company, you might have expected pure online players like the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform to have had a record year.

Not so for fledgling watchmakers looking to fund their first collections, according to research by The Mercury Project.

The total raised for watch projects on Kickstarter fell by 31% in 2020 to CHF 11.8 million.

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Dwindling funding for watchmakers is less of a short term dip and more of a long term trend.

Total funding for watch projects was three times higher at its peak in 2017 with CHF 33 million pledged.

There were 93 successful projects in 2017, but only 38 in 2020.

The Mercury Project’s founder Thierry Huron believes entrepreneurs launching watches through Kickstarter need to change tactics to keep pace with the way consumers use the platform.

It has become more of an ecommerce store for goods that are instantly available and less a place to raise capital for a long term project.

“The market no longer seems willing to wait for goods to be produced, then delivered many months later,” Mr Huron suggests.

To attract funding, watches should also be more original, sophisticated and better marketed, he advises.

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