Cotopaxi’s got crowdfunding covered

Cotopaxi has a reputation of generating new and ingenious designs, but its newest product, the Inti 2, takes innovation to a whole new level.

The Inti 2 claims to be the “world’s most versatile tent”—a tent that adapts to solo and group campers. The tent saves adventurers the pain of packing or owning numerous or bulky tents, instead giving them a light-weight, one-size-fits-all solution.

The Inti 2 isn’t available yet, but according to Cotopaxi’s timeline, first shipments will go out late July.

Cotopaxi, founded and led by Brigham Young University alum and Rollins Center of Entrepreneurship and Technology donor Davis Smith, has taken an interesting approach to launching the product. The company started a campaign on Indiegogo—a Kickstarter-esque website that allows entrepreneurs to raise money for startups and products.

You might be thinking: why is a well-established company crowdfunding a product launch?

Because it’s genius.

Sure, Smith could have easily used company funds to make magic happen, but he wanted more than to just launch the product. He wanted consumer support, reduced manufacturing costs, and a good marketing strategy. Indiegogo let him have it all.

“Crowdfunding platforms are more than a place for inventors to peddle products they’ve built in their garage,” says Smith. “These platforms are powerful tools that allow established brands to gain exposure. They also help reduce risk by proving product-market fit before committing to large inventory buys and reduce costs of manufacturing by increasing volume.”

Smith believes their method won’t be unique for long. “I expect we will see an increasing number of mature companies using crowdfunding as a way to launch new products and build their brands,” he says.

Smith is not only right about his forecast—he’s on the frontlines of a crowdfunding revolution.

Indiegogo recently announced its new feature, “enterprise crowdfunding.” The feature targets well-established companies—such as Hasbro, GE, etc.—and allows them to test out new ideas, build their brands, and better understand their customers.

According to the New York Times, “Crowdfunding, a trend popularized by artists and tinkerers, is now so hot that corporate giants are looking for a way in.”

Cotopaxi has already found its way in, raising $97,875 from almost 300 backers. Interested customers who “donated” qualified to receive various Cotopaxi products and—depending on how much they contributed—the innovative Inti 2.

“What Davis and his team are accomplishing at Cotopaxi is phenomenal,” says Jeff Brown, CET assistant director. “They have built and continue to build a fantastic brand.”