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After the Crowds Leave: Finding the Post-Kickstarter Ecosystem

"In general, the Kickstarter platform generates a lot of publicity, and it has become the go-to place for innovative ideas," Axup said, adding that she still gets a lot of traffic from her Kickstarter page. "It's also very inspirational, making the visitors feel like they can do a Kickstarter campaign too."

Max Borges Agency, a PR firm specializing in tech gadgets, stumbled into the space out of its own enthusiasm for certain projects, said Lorin Munchick, the agency's business development manager. In the past year, the agency has helped 17 projects, which combined raised more than $3 million.

"We only want to be taking on products that are really disruptive technology and not just me-too projects. That's what we strive for - to take on projects that everyone on the team here is excited about and that we can get them great coverage for," Munchick said.

The agency barely markets its services, apart from a few press releases and making sure its site is search-engine optimized. It also doesn't charge a standard fee. "We're getting creative with our fee structure. It has varied on all of our projects. I don't think any of them have been the same," Munchick said, adding that if the team is really excited, they'll consider an equity stake.

Max Borges takes a proactive approach. With 17 crowdfunded projects to its credit, the team created a "best practices" guide. It uses its experience as a conversation starter for potential crowdfunded clients.

"It's certainly a growing portion of our business that we're excited about. When a project comes to market in a traditional way, it's already been through so many layers of approval and production that some of the ideas get watered down. So to get involved so early in the process is pretty exciting for us," Munchick said.

There are other ways the crowdfunded ecosystem is working, says Brian Fargo, chief executive of InXile Entertainment, whose idea to update 1988s Wasteland game attracted nearly $3 million on Kickstarter last spring.

"I'm thinking of all the people who've contacted me (because of Kickstarter). We did an apparel deal with J!NX specific to Wasteland, we have a lot of contractors and there's the engine license we're using. We end up touching a lot of people at the end of the day. Being a job creator may be a cliché but it's been really great for the economy," Fargo said.

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