Crowdfunding Games: Interview with Kickstarter’s Michael Liebe, Outreach Games Europe

In May, we featured several games projects on our Facebook-page. In addition, we asked Michael Liebe for an interview and he agreed. Michael is based in Berlin and is responsible for Outreach Games for Kickstarter in Europe. He is also the head of #gamesweekberlin and founder and CEO of Booster Space.

(c) Sandy Kramer / Booster Space

Crowd-Fund-Port: You are supporting Kickstarter in the field of Games in Berlin and in Germany. What is the question most asked by the Games Developers in Crowdfunding?

Michael Liebe: As Outreach Games Europe, I am not only responsible for the German, but also for the European region. That said, my focus obviously lies on Berlin, the D-A-CH region as well as France, Spain and Poland. The most common question asked is at which stage of a project creators should start communicating (right before: Is my pledge goal reasonable?). Yet as goals are super individual, I cannot stress enough that for everybody who wants to go into self-marketing, aka independent game development and distribution, needs to start building a community and followership as soon as possible. So best start communicating that you are working on something (you do not need to reveal the details in the beginning) as soon as you start working on it. The Kickstarter campaign is a milestone within this complex of self-marketing, not the means to an end. The means of communication is your game or project!

Crowd-Fund-Port: There is a lot of support from the government for the Games Industry in Germany, the new state secretary for the Digital Agenda Doro Bär is a big supporter. What would you like the government to do more with regards to Games and Crowdfunding?

Michael Liebe: I am very happy about the development in the government to position Dorothee Bär as sort of CDO of Germany. She is a great advocate of the games industry – and not only in the field of serious games, but also in it’s pure form of entertainment. On a regional level, such as in Berlin, it is possible to combine crowdfunding funds as part of the funding mix with public grants. This is a very important fact for independent creators. I hope the German Games Fund (working title) will also allow for that. What would be awesome is that developers could announce the public grant within their crowdfunding campaign and tell a story like: if we raise this amount of money, we will get our public grant of X EUR. This is legally not possible at the moment, but would create great momentum in the community. Another thing is taxes in Europe. Like in Portugal for example Kickstarter campaigns cannot be launched due to some legislations. Also are there very few tax advisors who actually have the expertise on how to deal with the money raised on Kickstarter. This is mostly because of no clear statement of the tax offices on how to tax it (except for saying: you need to report it and tax it). Here it would be great to have a clear statement, which ideally does not apply in full amount the VAT + Income taxes, or else it diminishes the value of the money raised in a too high level.

Crowd-Fund-Port: One of the biggest game Crowdfunding campaigns was Star Citizen but they have not delivered the final game yet, even after years of development. Should the platforms do more to ensure the implementation of the campaigns?

Michael Liebe: Thats a big one. Yet, Star Citizen is an exception. It is designed to be an ongoing process and for backers it (can be) part of the fun to ongoingly be part of the development of the game. In other cases, fulfillment is not the exception but the the rule. Hence most projects are realized after the campaign was successful. As crowdfunding platforms are not a shop, there is no legal way to stress creators on fulfillment. It is part of the philosophy of crowdfunding that the community joins the adventure of creating something new.

Crowd-Fund-Port: Thank you for the interview!

*** Do you have more questions about games on Kickstarter? Get in touch with Michael via mliebe (at) ***

Energy Crowdfunding made in Germany – Interview with Torsten Schreiber

Torsten Schreiber is one of the co-founders of German equity-based Crowdfunding-platform bettervest and project-partner of Africa Greentec. He calls himself a “Serial Social Heropreneur” and his vision is to change society from within by means of social entrepreneurship and to push the energy revolution forwards, not only in Germany, but also in lower developed areas. In an interview with Crowd-Fund-Port he talks about energy Crowdfunding and explains his plan to #unfucktheworld.

Crowd-Fund-Port: Torsten, you are strongly developing the idea of financing (green-) energy-projects through Crowdfunding. Please tell us a little bit about you and your projects.

Torsten Schreiber: I see Crowdfunding as an enormous chance to significantly engage young entrepreneurs to work closely on emotionally impactful projects and by doing so, further help to increase the prominence of a visionary project such as ours.

Our vision is to become the largest eco-driven, renewable de-centralized energy water and communications provider in the global south, by empowering men and women to self-determination and prosperity.

My personal motivation and drive comes from the deeply rooted conviction and desire to be able to change society from within by means of social entrepreneurship and the believe that we can live with our planet in peaceful harmony. My primary goal for which I try to recruit companions, is active climate protection.

Crowd-Fund-Port: It all started with bettervest, a German Crowdfunding-platform, which you co-founded. Which projects can be found there?

Torsten: bettervest started with the idea of strengthening the global energy revolution by introducing energy efficient concepts and projects. In order to make a significant and visible difference, as much effort is needed in actually saving energy by means of efficient technologies, as is by introducing and implementing new technologies such as Photovoltaics, water and wind power.  My main project, Africa GreenTec develops specific, fitting and holistic solutions to address this very need.

Crowd-Fund-Port: So Africa Greentec evolved from one of your bettervest projects, right?

Torsten: The Solartainer® project marked the first funding record for bettervest in 2015. Ever since, the platform and various new project related partners, successfully focus on less developed areas. The platform showcases interesting projects in the areas of renewable energy, efficient heating, efficient power and new business models.

I realized, the best way to put my talents to work, would be by fighting climate change in Africa and by enabling locals to take charge of their own lives by providing them with new and exciting technologies.

Crowd-Fund-Port:  Obviously cross-border Crowdfunding is important here. How do you think it will develop in the next years?

Torsten: Following the political agenda of, for instance our German government, clearly illuminates that the classical foreign aid model neither represent a working future model to solve the problems of The Global South, nor does it successfully address the problems of mass migration. What is needed, are investments, particularly into infrastructure, energy, agriculture and education, but the systems are not designed for that. Large lenders like “Die Weltbank” or the “African Development Bank” really only finance projects starting at 100 million €, which represents a huge gap in particular for projects of up to 500.000 €. These gaps can successfully be closed by investment platforms like bettervest, which then can provide the opportunity to investors of The Global North to directly engage in impact investment. Until now, this privilege was only provided to large institutional investors and hedge funds. I firmly believe we shall experience tremendous market growth in this segment, if qualified partners, particularly on the African side are chosen. Years of erroneous foreign aid has clearly left its mark.

Crowd-Fund-Port: You are combining your knowledge about energy-Crowdfunding, entrepreneurship and development aid. What is your big plan?

Torsten: As founders, both my wife and I, share a lifetime vision to provide 3 million people in Africa with clean energy, water and access to the internet. Many of our friends and supporters envision us to become the largest de-centralized energy and water supplier on the African continent. Let’s see who ends up being correct.

Crowd-Fund-Port: What are your biggest learnings when it comes to Crowdfunding? As a project-owner, but also as a platform-owner? Any recommendations?

Torsten: In order to have a successful Crowdfunding campaign the initiator needs authentic partners, co-workers and a transparent project, as the Crowd wants to partake, wants to participate as close as possible. This is not always easy, especially with projects in Africa, as circumstances can change rapidly and unpredictably. As a platform, one should know the investors as much as possible and especially the project owner should be able to provide a detailed assessment of the funding potential. Both sides need to communicate honestly and clearly in order to properly manage mutual expectations from the beginning.

Crowd-Fund-Port: Thank you for the interview!

Campaign “The Music-sheet-boat”

“Das Notenboot” (Music sheet boat)-
The book will contain all notes, including guitar chords, as well as additional teaching material, so that this book can be a truly musical adventure for kids and adults!

The publication of a story and song book, that’s the goal! An exciting narrative story with lovely illustrations and songs that go into the ear should make the book a favorite piece in the children’s bookshelf. It tells the story of the music sheet boat, which loses its crew (the notes, pauses and omens) in a storm and finds its friends in a big adventure. The book should also be an inspiration for teachers and educators.


More information about the campaign initiator: