Once a quarter, we sit down with either a client or an agency partner to discuss various topics. This quarter, we are pleased to sit down with Jonathan Chaupin, the founder and CEO of Agency 2.0. an Austin-based agency that does marketing, PR, copywriting, design, advertising, video production, retail and fulfillment for crowdfunding campaigns since 2010.

Tell us more about Agency 2.0? What is your role at the company?

I’m one of the original co-founders of Agency 2.0, the very first dedicated crowdfunding marketing agency ever created. I wear many hats and lend my clients and team all the experience and knowledge I’ve gained launching varieties of products on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

My favorite part of the job is meeting new entrepreneurs for the very first time on sales calls. It’s almost like an abridged game of Shark Tank where clients pitch me their product and share as much insight as I can to see if it’s a good match to work together.

I never take any of the calls for granted and have met some of the brightest and most talented folks on these intro calls.

We assume as a full-service digital marketing agency, your company gets a lot of inbound inquiries from product brands wanting you to represent them. What are the key things you look for? What are the red flags that cause you to turn down a potential client?

Crowdfunding campaigns have certainly changed over the years mostly on the development stage of the product. Years ago, many clients would launch with rough prototypes and have a general idea of what their product would cost to manufacture and deliver. However, with many shortfalls and failed deliveries, crowdfunding products tend to be much further baked out and closer to shipping to customers than before. You used to see delivery windows average 9 to 12 months and now our clients are more like 6-9 months. We have several clients that already have product in the warehouse ready to go.

Key Things to Look for:

  • Development Stage / Prototype readiness
  • Price point (MSRP and Kickstarter Price)
  • Ad Budget
  • Value/Benefits of the product
  • Red Flags that even most retailers avoid such as:
    • Copycat Products
    • No patentable items
    • Crowded Marketplace
    • No product/market fit
    • Inflated or unreasonable price points

Your agency has helped countless brands launch on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Do you see rewards-based crowdfunding still a good strategy for brands to test product ideas and/or raise capital? What advice would you give to a product start-up who is thinking about launching their idea on Kickstarter or Indiegogo?

The crowdfunding market has definitely become more competitive over the years and the Backers are looking for confidence and reassurance that the product is going to make it and will be delivered in the near future.

Depending on the product category, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great launch platforms as they bring a significant amount of exposure to your product launch. Many clients are now using Kickstarter as a marketing vehicle portal for proof of concept or solidifying first large order for manufacturing.

If you launch a product on your own website, that is great, however you have an obligation to deliver that product or issue a refund if requested. With crowdfunding, you have a larger window to deliver the product which allows startups time to do due diligence and find the best ways to make a good product and ship to customers. It also serves as a financial model to finance your first order of product efficiently based on the demand you get on Kickstarter.

I see on Linkedin that you are a serial entrepreneur. You are one busy individual! How do you find the time to balance family and work? Any tips for product startups that are trying to balance both running a company and being a parent/spouse?

I’m not yet a husband or father but working on it! I’m an uncle and over the years have found the balance of work and family/private life by managing my time and efficiently.

For example, I am at my most active and high performance between 10am to 2pm so I try to schedule work meetings, important calls, or any of my daily assignments during that time. I have heard CEOs like Jeff Bezos also use a similar schedule as they know their best times of performance. Some folks are early birds while others are night owls.

For me, creating a work and personal calendar while time consuming, is definitely a great way to better organize and maximize day to day work efficiency. However, it’s working smarter and not harder. Luckily, we have a great team at Agency 2.0 to manage our clients and their product launches. Having a solid but continued refining process is key to any company’s success.

Make a schedule, commit to it, and don’t be afraid to try giving yourself your own deadlines.

Retailbound and Agency 2.0. has worked together on mutual clients. What do you like about working with Retailbound? How is Retailbound different from other agencies that you and your clients may have worked with before?

The leadership at Retailbound beginning with Yohan, show a caring partner committed to your success as opposed to an agent just looking to make money and programming you into stores.

Yohan and his team are passionate about their sector in the industry and have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in many areas of the process. The Retailbound group have also been very instrumental in engaging clients early on the process to better prepare them for retail outreach.

For Agency 2.0 clients, we introduce them early to Yohan and his team to ensure an early plan on what an MOQ might look like and what objectives in sales and marketing we can commit to.