They raised over $30,000 with a completely private crowdfunding scheme — read more about that here. They sent emails to target users inviting them to participate in a money raising scheme for future updates to their software. Olson says keeping it private made it feel exclusive, encouraging more interest and more emotionally-invested users. It sounds opposite to what you would expect, but I can see how limiting the number of people pushes conversions: it’s fun to be part of a private club.
Hours has now made the page public, to top off the rest of the goal amount. Even if they kept it private, it would still be an overwhelming success. Interesting model and it worked well for Hours without question. I am skeptical on the scalability of this. I don’t think Hours would be able to do it again with the same success rate. Similarly, if this became ingrained into the business models of many many apps, there has to be a saturation point where it would become unviable. People’s wallets only go so far.