Table of contents:
- Planeta.ru is a story not only about money
- It all depends on you
- We are always glad to compete
- Life hacking from Fyodor Murachkovsky
2023 Author: Malcolm Clapton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-07-28 10:38
From the idea of a VKontakte clone to a service that helps to find money for various projects.
Crowdfunding is the collective funding of interesting ideas in exchange for gifts and bonuses. Abroad, this direction has been popular for a long time: people support initiatives on platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and others. In Russia, public funding is only gaining momentum.
One of the first crowdfunding services in our country is Planeta.ru. We talked with its founder Fyodor Murachkovsky and found out how we managed to overcome stereotypes about begging, what lots sponsors most often receive in return, and why collecting a huge amount is not the main thing.
Planeta.ru is a story not only about money
What were you doing before you headed the Planeta.ru platform?
- I graduated from the Faculty of Law at the Moscow State Academy of Water Transport, and a little later I defended my Ph. D. in economics. In parallel with my educational activities, I was engaged in a private business: I had several small retail stores with discs and cassettes.
Then I realized that I could use my knowledge in larger industries, so I began to develop large retail chains: Moscow Jewelry Factory, Rostiks KFC, Karusel hypermarkets. The latter were sold to X5 Retail Group during the crisis, so for the first time in a long time I had the opportunity to relax. It was at this moment that I began to choose a direction for further development.
When did you first think about a crowdfunding service?
- At the beginning of 2009, we began to conceive a project with our future partner Vasily Andryushchenko and his brother Maxim. We met in a pub - it is in such places that revolutions are started. We wanted to create something socially useful and work for ourselves, not for an uncle. At that time, Max had just joined the B-2 group as a bass player, so he raised the problem of the music business - he started talking about piracy.
The first idea was to create a VKontakte clone, but respecting copyright. We planned to focus on donation: if you liked it, you pay the artist any amount. It turned out that at the same time competitors were already working on a similar idea and it quickly failed.
Then we chose a different path and created a platform for pre-ordering music discs with lots of different values. For 500 rubles, users could get a disc of their favorite band, and for 1,000 rubles, the same album would come with an autograph and an invitation to Meet & Greet (meeting with fans before the concert. - Ed.). And that's how it all began.
Vasily and Max and I were rather weak friends with computers and the Internet, so we found a team of programmers who implemented the platform. In 2011, the first project was launched - the album Spirit of the B-2 group. In almost nine months, we managed to collect 1.2 million - it was a revolution. From that moment it became clear that the crowdfunding mechanism is applicable to projects of other categories, so we began to position Planeta.ru as a multifunctional platform.
Did people immediately respond positively to the platform?
- First I had to overcome the wall of misunderstanding. People said, "Oh, what kind of begging?" Together with the authors of the projects, we have done a tremendous job to break this stereotype. Only at the moment when users who invested money began to receive their rewards, they stopped thinking about fraud in their head. Attendance went up 50% and confidence was built. Over time, journalists joined in. They began to invite us to the programs and talk about the service that helps to bring ideas to life.
When we started, online sales weren't that popular. Only 10% of users made purchases using bank cards, although we have connected all types of online payments. It was much easier for people to take 10,000 rubles to the machine, pay a commission and receive a check, than to pay with a card without leaving their homes. Now the situation is diametrically opposite: users enter details on the site without fear, because they trust the platform.
What is the main task of the service?
- Planeta.ru is a story not only about money, but also about marketing and PR. You have the opportunity to establish yourself on a platform with a large number of users and authors. The latter often track other people's work in order to stay in the subject. In addition, the media are watching our projects in various fields. There are many categories, and none of them is left without attention.
If you didn't manage to get support on the platform, this is a reason to rethink the product or your financial goals. Perhaps it is worth making adjustments to the idea, thinking about a different positioning, or breaking the collection of the required amount into several stages.
How is public funding better than other ways to make money for the implementation of your project?
- This is not the best way, but just one of the possible. We are not at war with anyone, but simply give an additional chance to declare ourselves and attract funding.
When you do crowdfunding, the cost of a lot includes not only the cost of production, but also the profit for the author. The main thing is not to make it too big so that people can afford to help you. Thus, you find the end user through whom your project is financed. Sometimes people receive additional money from investors, for them a successful crowd project serves as proof of the demand for an idea.
A bank loan is also an option, but you have to pay more than you received in your hands. We harmoniously fit into the general line of financial instruments. Planeta.ru is a good way to test your product without risking anything. In doing so, you need to be ready to keep the promise. If the money is collected, the idea will have to be implemented and the promised lots will be sent to the users. This is extremely important for us, therefore, before publication on the site, projects are moderated - we do not miss obviously unrealizable ideas.
It all depends on you
What other rules apply in crowdfunding, besides the obligatory sending of the promised lot?
- The rules are laid down in the Planeta.ru algorithm itself. For example, if you collect less than 50% of the specified amount, the money is returned to the users' personal wallets. They can withdraw them without commission or invest in another project.
It's important for authors to understand that crowdfunding is a job. We will not be able to collect the entire amount for you, so we will have to conduct a campaign to promote the project on social networks. It is better to write an action plan even before starting the collection on the site. Think in advance who will be able to support your idea: relatives, friends, bloggers.
What needs to be done for the project to appear on the site and start assembling?
- First of all, analyze the direction that suits you: business, public initiatives, cinema or any other. Look at what projects users are raising funds for to assess their own chances, and then start filling out an application.
The appeal doesn't have to be very big. It is important to concisely and clearly formulate the idea for which you are raising money. Tell us what you will bring to the world by working together with your fans.
The next stage is lots. Pay attention to what other authors offer, and decide what thing you are willing to give in return for a certain amount.
Finally, record a video message. This is not necessary, but it will help to get to know you in absentia, better understand the idea and increase possible interest in the project. Within two days you will be contacted by a manager who will help you adjust the project before release or simply inform you that everything is in order. Then everything depends only on you.
If we notice that the author has not scored on his project and diligently advertises it in various sources, then we connect and help to collect more than 50% of the given amount: we place the fee on the main page of the site so that he is definitely noticed, we send out a mailing to the user base, we draw attention with the help of friendly media. However, we can only connect when the author has already worked himself, so you shouldn't hope for support without showing your own initiative.
Tell us about the coolest training camp you've seen
- Projects of popular artists are more successful, because there is a huge fan base behind them. The pre-order of the album "Posolon" by the group "Alisa" ended at 17.4 million rubles. This is a record within one collection on Russian crowdfunding platforms.
At the same time, you don't have to be a rock star to become popular on our site. For example, Mikhail Samin was 18 years old at the time of the launch of the Harry Potter and the Methods of Rational Thinking fanfic printing project. He collected 11.4 million rubles and set an absolute record in Russian literary crowdfunding.
Significant sums for the Wet Nose multifunctional animal care center are being raised by the Nika Foundation: they received more than 20 million rubles from Planeta.ru for construction.
Are there fees for ridiculous things?
- On the ridiculous - no, but on the funny - there are. One day, three funny friends decided to take part in the most ridiculous race in the world, Mongol Rally. In Soviet Zhiguli cars, they drove from Prague to Ulan-Ude and on the way put up all sorts of funny signs: “You won't get through”, “Call your mother”, “Here's a new turn”. The guys collected 216 thousand rubles to buy a car and create signs.
It is worth noting a humorous project from the artist Lana Butenko, who invented the character Kosmonozhka and makes double-sided calendars with her: on one part there is a usual set of days with a beautiful picture, and on the other - a realistic depiction of a calendar month, which the artist calls “fucking”. Can be used as a mood indicator.
A cool and even desirable design project is a roll of socks. The idea is fire, but, unfortunately, the authors did not really understand how crowdfunding works, so the project did not become successful due to insufficient promotion.
What techniques should you use to enlist the support of as many people as possible?
- Crowdfunding is not a magic wand, so I don't have specific life hacks. It is important to remember that without social media, it is quite difficult to get support, and this is a great reason to develop your own accounts. There was also a case when the guys were promoting the project offline: they walked around the mall and talked about their idea live. There are options. The main thing is to find them.
We are always glad to compete
How does Planeta.ru itself make a profit?
- We take a commission of 15% percent if the author has collected 50-99% of the declared amount, or 10% if the collection has exceeded the specified values. This includes taxes and fees of payment systems, so in practice it turns out a little less. The higher the turnover, the higher our earnings. Basically, we reinvest the profit back into the project: we promote the site so that the traffic always remains at the level.
In addition, not everyone is ready to send 4,500 lots to their fans when the collection is over. We can take care of this for a fee. Such a service requires additional space and capacity, so we recently rented a new office in which part of the space is occupied by warehouses.
Another source of our income is educational workshops, special projects with various brands, and the sale of crowdfunded goods in our online store.
How much can you earn by creating such a crowdfunding platform?
- First of all, you need to think about a niche. It is too difficult to develop a clone of our crowdfunding platform, because we have been on the market for a very long time. Choose a narrow area, such as board and computer games. We cover this area too, but focus can bring new results. We are always glad to compete, because it is difficult to develop without it. You see the shoals and treat them easier when no one breathes in the back.
Earnings depend on what services you provide to your clients. Basic profit is just under 10% of all positive fees. We work with additional services, so we get more. I don’t want to give specific numbers. I can only say one thing: the project is self-supporting.
What does the Planeta.ru office look like?
- We have premises on the first and sixth floors of the business center. At the bottom we occupy about 150 square meters excluding a couple of warehouses, and at the top we occupy 350 square meters. For the first time, we took a rough premise without finishing and now we design it for ourselves.
On the ground floor, there will be a coworking space and a presentation area, where authors can come to record a message or conduct an autograph session. Here we will also place a store where visitors can buy lots and figure out which projects they are from. I would like to create conditions for authors in which they will be comfortable promoting their own product. It seems we are succeeding.
On the sixth floor there are two large open-spaces with partitions: offices for management, accounting, PR-department, marketing specialists, designers and programmers. We tried to arrange everything in such a way that employees could work from anywhere in the office. Some people are assigned to a specific area, but most are not locked to a specific point, so the movement does not subside.
Physically, we are not very conveniently located: the metro is not five, but fifteen minutes. However, in the office itself it is very comfortable, and for me this is the main thing.
What does your workplace look like?
- Behind my back are panoramic windows, and on the table there are a little more things than Putin's. A bunch of pens, a monitor, a keyboard, a calculator and speakers, because from time to time you have to listen to something. There is also a calendar on which I change my mood almost every day: today I am a happy rhino, and yesterday I was a sad penguin.
I drink tea from the author's cup holder with Minin and Pozharsky (the monument to them is the first crowdfunding project in Russia). And next to me are the music albums of the Alisa and Velvet groups - these are lots from our projects. Like all Planeta.ru employees, I am a real crowd-shopaholic.
Do you use time management techniques to organize your day?
- Recently, my child went to kindergarten, so time management is no longer needed. Every morning at 7:45 am my wife and I get up anyway, and both of us. Getting up this early gives you an excellent opportunity to plan your next day. In addition, I have assistants who remind me if some information has fallen out of my head.
Do you have any favorite services or applications that help you in your work and in life?
- I often use navigation and Booking services. Recently I discovered the international Dreamsim SIM card, thanks to which there is no need to rush to new mobile operators in every country in order to stay connected without fierce roaming. They also have a mobile application where you can always find out how much money is left in the account. Convenient, highly recommend.
What do you do in your free time?
- I love yachting, fishing, and also watching new countries by car. However, in reality I only travel once or twice a year. Much more often my zeal is limited to the dacha, where I get into a boat and go to the neighboring island. There is not enough time for tourism, although there is always a desire. As a last resort, I open Google Earth, look at 3D models in different parts of the planet, and at the same time sign documents and sort things out.
Life hacking from Fyodor Murachkovsky
I like to be transported to other worlds, so I read fantasy. I recommend "" Terry Pratchett and the rest of his books. I look through the professional literature in an abridged version. To do this, I subscribed to the Telegram channel "", where the most important extracts are collected. As for me, this is a universal way, because reading such publications as a whole is rather a waste of time. However, if any book interests me, I can find it in full format.
Films and series
I loved Get the Shorty - the third season is coming out soon. I want to mention Beyond the Boundary because it belongs to my favorite genre of fantasy, and also Good Omens and Catch-22.
I like Soviet cinema. Friends laugh all the time that I am a man of quotation books, because I constantly talk with phrases from old films. Despite this, I love spectacular novelties: "Joker", "Prometheus". I love the stories from Marvel too. I started looking at them when it was not yet so fashionable.
Podcasts and videos
I am a down to earth comrade, so I like to watch the channel "". The author is great at handling plastic bottles, makes something out of shit and sticks, and then floats on this invention - great!
Blogs and Websites
My interest is limited: in addition to our service, in bookmarks, there is only Google mail and the RBC website, where I read the latest news. In Telegram, he is subscribed to the channel "", and also "" - it is about sailing.
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