Sher.ly is a start-up which develops innovative software for sharing files between business organizations as well as between PCs and mobile devices. Products developed by the company include Sher.ly, an application for fast and secure data exchange, and Sherlybox, a solution that embodies the company vision of a stable private cloud available 24 hours a day.
ChallengeThe customer’s main objective was to popularize Sher.ly globally. The start-up’s founders wanted to get influential media and trendsetters interested by developing an original, application-based solution and then raising funds to manufacture it. The tactical decision to accomplish this objective was to organize a campaign on Kickstarter.com, the world’s largest crowdfunding site.
The site enables any Internet user to support a project of their own choosing by paying in any amount of money. If the fundraising is successful, the supporter can receive a special prize. Most often this includes the final product and associated gadgets. In Poland there are similar sites to Kickstarter.com, such as Wspieram.to or Polakpotrafi.pl.
When Sherlybox made its debut on Kickstarter, the technology category included nearly 400 open projects competing for financing. Sarota PR’s main task was to develop a convincing presentation of the solution and generate publicity for the campaign. The aim was to raise USD 69,000, the minimum amount needed to launch Sherlybox on the market.
It was essential to communicate, in clear and simple terms, the product’s idea, which challenged existing trends in cloud computing. Sherl.ly is an alternative to popular solutions such as Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive or GoogleDrive. At present, when we want to send somebody a large file, we first have to send it to an external server (e.g. Dropbox) so that the recipient can download it. Sher.ly does not require uploading files to the Internet cloud, but directly connects sender and receivers in closed groups, which increases data security. It also saves money as we do not need to lease storage in public clouds. Moreover, Sher.ly uses state-of-the-art, fast protocols.
SolutionThe campaign launched on June 4, 2014 and was accompanied by large-scale public relations activities. In addition to developing the communication in Polish, the English version of press materials was created, which then, via PR professionals from the UK, Canada and the US, came to the attention of the largest technology blogs across the world. Before the launch of the campaign in Poland, a list of 25 most influential journalists and bloggers was created. They were informed of the planned start of the campaign on Kickstarter.com and then were provided with materials concerning the Sherlybox project. The Sarota PR team engaged in media relations activities both during the campaign and after its completion. The journalists were up-to-date with the project’s progress based on the materials provided. In the meantime Sher.ly founders were answering the journalists’ questions via the agency.
The Sarota PR team created content for the campaign’s home page, took care of media relations in Poland, and ensured support for professionals responsible for PR on the American, Canadian and British markets. The first step was to create the main content for the campaign based on the knowledge of and experience from the most successful crowdfunding projects in the technology category. A comprehensive yet easy-to-grasp description in English was created. In cooperation with a graphic designer, attractive product illustrations and infographics were developed along with prizes for supporters and a timeline of individual stages of project implementation. The text featured the benefits of Sherlybox and explained in detail its structure and operation. Also, the history of Sher.ly was presented.
EffectsThe minimum objective of USD 69,000 was financed in full in just five days after campaign launch. By the end of the campaign (the initial duration was 30 days) there was USD 154,106, so the objective was completed in 223 percent. In total, 896 people contributed to creating Sherlybox, of whom one decided to support the project with as much as USD 10,000. The campaign resulted in 75 publications in Polish media, including three interviews with project authors. The next interview, for the Pierwszy Milion magazine, was held just after the end of the fundraising on Kickstarter.
Sher.ly was featured in nationwide dailies (Puls Biznesu, Metro), large business websites (among others Wyborcza.biz, Forsal.pl, Money.pl, and Bizrun.pl), largest nationwide web portals (Onet.pl, Wp.pl, Interia.pl, Di.com.pl), the two most opinion-forming blogs on new technologies (Antyweb.pl, Spidersweb.pl), as well as many other IT media and those covering start-ups. Furthermore, the campaign was commented on in social media by popular bloggers and people involved in new technologies, such as Artur Kurasiński, Grzegorz Marczak, Piotr Grabiec, Michał Sadowski and others. Around the world, more than 300 hundred sources featured publications on the campaign, including largest technology blogs such as Techcrunch.com, Venturebeat.com, Gigaom.com, Bgr.com, and Tech.co.
The campaign was covered, among others, by: Puls Biznesu, Metro Warszawa, Pierwszy Milion, wyborcza.biz, wp.pl, onet.pl, interia.pl, antyweb.pl, spidersweb.pl, chip.pl, pcworld.pl, focus.pl, money.pl, forsal.pl, dobreprogramy.pl, mamstartup.pl, and proseedmag.pl.
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