We're building a social language app. We're a developer and a designer so we've been able to bootstrap to beta. We want to stay bootstrapped and take the whole process somewhat slowly - soft launch in a small country, launch in Canada, launch in the US. The only immediate, recurring cost we see is our backend - we're using Parse. So we want to raise $10k-$20k. Still getting product validation but if that goes decently well, I'm imagining $20k will be relatively easy to raise. We thought about Indiegogo a while ago (Kickstarter doesn't allow apps), and our circumstances are changing for the better as we progress, so it's not our main option at the moment. But here our the advantages as I see it: - The money is free, and $10-20k can cost a lot at this stage - It's our initial marketing campaign Disadvantages: - It's a lot of work to run a campaign. But since it is a first initial marketing campaign, we want to do that work anyway - Apps don't do well on Indiegogo in general. However, there was a social soccer app that raised I think $25k when I saw it, and the campaign wasn't over. But that was definitely the outlier. - Legal issues with taking/using this money?
Apps are difficult to fund on IndieGoGo as few are successful, and we rarely take them on as clients. Websites like http://appsfunder.com/ are made for that very reason, but again, difficult to build enough of a following willing to pay top dollar for an app that could very well be free, already existing in the marketplace. A site that is gaining more traction you may want to look into would be http://appsplit.com/. Again, Appsplit Is Crowdfunding For Apps specifically.
I'm currently running http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tango-super-pc-worlds-most-powerful-pocketable-gameable-officeable-PC which is a hardware campaign but the basics are the same, I know the indoegogo team personally, if you want to chat through some of the basics happy to take a call.
As you've already established, there isn't great precedent for success with IndieGoGo in raising money for apps. The money isn't actually free in that - as you say - there is a lot of work involved to successfully achieve a campaign goal.
A Company I advise just raised $25,000 as two young, first-time founders from a single investor with a little more than a web-based prototype of their mobile app. I think given that everything will cost time and energy, you're better advised to raise $25,000 to $100,000 from friends and family or potential angels. Yes, this will take your time, but the dilution shouldn't be *that* bad (5-10% dilution). You will hear no more than you will hear yes, but then you're planting the seed to come back when you raise your seed round with those investors.
Lastly, if you intend to charge for this app, or in-app services, there are ways to run your own "crowdfunding" type appeal but directly to customers. Basically asking people to prepay for early access to the product. It's often a good litmus test for product/market fit and, if the product has a broad appeal, could work to your advantage.
Happy to talk more of this through in a call with you.