It’s 2014, and let’s face it – funding is hard to come by. To get angel or VC funding, it takes measured success, sustainable growth, and a skilled team. But with our ventures – many of them at the concept stage – how do they get funding to build products, hire a coder, or launch a marketing campaign?
For many of our ventures, the solution has been answered by crowd funding. Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo help individuals and startups raise money through online donations. Donors not only feel good at heart, but also receive swag or the company’s product – all thanks to donating!
Our ventures have had immense success on crowdfunding platforms. U-Turn Audio last year raised $234k, Moniker Guitars earned more than $61k, and reweave just recently gained $20k in funding. To help jumpstart your next fundraising campaign, look to advice from our ventures that have done it first.
Why use crowdfunding?
“The benefit of Kickstarter as a fundraising strategy is that we are able to solicit funding from a broader group of individuals that are passionate about our project, which in the case of food/ health, there are a lot – as opposed to traditional investors/ funders,” says Josh Trautwein of Fresh Truck, who raised $32k in 2013.
What are the first steps to starting your campaign?
“Talk to someone who has successfully launched and completed a campaign similar to what you’re offering,” says Abhi Nangia of Reweave. “Learn from people who have done it, and prepare for it before launching. Have a real plan.”
“Develop a marketing plan before you even launch a campaign,” notes Shivu Shah atGenius.box. “Make sure you know who, when, where, and how you are going to market to not only your customers, but people who will genuinely like your idea and will be your earliest supporters.”
Are there reasons you shouldn’t use crowdfunding?
“Crowdfunding isn’t appropriate for some ventures that have a less tangible product, service or impact. If a potential backer cannot quickly be drawn into your project and understand its purpose, then it is more difficult to solicit funding,” says Josh.
“Ventures shouldn’t crowdfund unless they have a big network already that’s untapped, or a network that can help them with PR/marketing to get the word out to a new audience. Luckily for us, we had a ton of people spreading the word,” adds Abhi.
What’s your final piece of advice?
“Spend time planning your outreach strategy. Be specific with your deliverables that you outline in your project. Spend time producing your video.” – Josh
“We pitched to everyone, everywhere. We had friends, family, and even some of our customers reach out to their own networks to spread the word in order to help us reach our goal. Take a chance and reach out to everyone and anyone. You might be surprised at who ends up donating or who connects to someone who’d be interested in your project.” – Shivu