The crowd funding project wordycat has failed to reach its goal of 50,000 EUR on kickstarter. Finally, only 95 backers invested in the project a total sum of 5,202 EUR.
The question is: Why? If you have a look at this project, it first seems that they did everything right: Great idea, good marketing, community involvement, focus on quality translations, connecting professional freelance translators with translation buyers and raising the professional profile of our industry and the individual translators.
But on a closer look it seems to me that they overestimated their community reach and failed to involve thought leaders and multipliers early enough before going public.
Also my hunch is, that the overestimated the willingness of the freelance translator community to invest money for marketing and technology - even when it is for a platform that promises to connect them with translation buyers and bring them new jobs. Freelance translators are extremely critical. Just making a "platform" for translators to promote themselves is not enough - it's the buyer side that brings value to such a platform. Not addressing this properly was maybe the biggest error.
Beside this, the funding goal of 50k was probably too unrealistic anyway. After all, they will need to "sell" the platform to the buyer side. And whatever might have remained from the 50k after development for marketing wordycat to the buyer side - it would have just not been enough. As far as I see not a single translation buyer has invested into the project. That might show a lack of interest on the buyer side. But more likely it shows a fail in addressing both audiences properly. Tanya Quintieri got it right in some way, when she wrote in a comment on her post a couple of days ago, that they were "addressing the wrong end of the stick".
And finally I also do see a more general problem. wordycat and other platforms basically want to connect translation buyers with translators and workaround the LSP. And maybe that's the weak spot in the business model: They don't do it. They just "replace" the LSP. After all they do not much more than what they accuse the LSPs of - get jobs from the buyers, let translators do the job and charge some fee (per month, per year, per job) for it. That's a little bit an exaggeration and maybe a little bit unfair, but if you reduce the business model to its essence then it comes down to this. After all, wordycat is not so much more than an "LSP as a software" concept. And in this way not so much different from much more successful companies like Gengo.
What do you think?