Crowdfunding has been in the news ever since its inception a few years ago. This concept of allowing regular consumers to contribute to funding a start up has thrilled millions of inventors, entertainers and entrepreneurs. Yet, for many reasons it hasn't turned out to be the simple solution many had hoped.
The biggest obstacle, of course, is having the right idea and knowing how to prepare it to go to market. Not all inventors or entrepreneurs understand how to start or run a business. So it is no surprise that many crowdfunding applications are rejected.
Of those accepted, there is another huge hurdle to cross. Estimating a funding figure can been tricky. It needs to be high enough to achieve projected goals and low enough to make sure it is attained. Because up until the advent of YouveGotFunds.com, all donations are returned if the financial goal is not reached. Time is wasted and unnecessary disappointment experienced.
YouveGotFunds.com was launched to solve the genuine demands of the start-up marketplace and has made the process much more user-friendly.
An example: An off-Broadway producer was trying to raise funds through Kickstarter, a much-known crowdfunding site, and was only able to raise $10,000 versus the $1 million goal. None of the donations were allowed to be kept and a couple months wasted.
That same producer went over to YouveGotFunds.com and was helped with developing achievable goals, marketing plans and is well on her way to achieving her funding and vision.
The founders of this unique, new crowdfunding vehicle are a husband and wife team, David and Ellen Sperling, who bring more than just a good idea to the world of online funding options.
Faleris: What in your background inspired you to open a crowdfunding site?
Sperling: As previous business owners servicing other small businesses and entrepreneurs -- we were well aware of how many business owners have difficulty getting capital. Not all businesses are ready for or have the opportunity to meet with Venture Capitalists. When we were doing our research on different start-ups, we became intrigued with crowdfunding and how it could be a great option for people looking to raise funds.
Faleris: Are you doing it in the same way as Kickstarter and the others?
Sperling: We are a rewards-based crowdfunding site which is the same as Kickstarter -- but we are different and offer more advantages for YouveGotFunds participants.
Faleris: What makes your program different?
Sperling: We believe in the Keep it All philosophy. With Kickstarter and most others, if you don’t reach your funding goal, then you walk away with nothing or have to pay additional fees. Not only is that a waste of time (which is precious when you are starting out) -- it can make a dent in your credibility. So we have changed that.
At YouveGotFunds, participants get to keep all that they raise even if it falls short of the goal (minus our 5% fee and incurred Paypal fees). We want every YouveGotFunds client to be a winner so they get to keep what they raise -- not only will this money help them through the first phase of their project, initiative or business -- but it is much easier to generate funds offline when you have demonstrated its appeal online through crowdfunding donations.
Along with marketing efforts planned by the participants, YouveGotFunds will also promote projects using a publicist for some -- and strong social media outreach for most others. We also offer additional Start-up Services through our Fund Connection.
Faleris: What are you doing to market the service?
Sperling: Since launching and having received very positive feedback for our business model differences -- we have gained lots of word-of-mouth. We have a large presence on the Internet and though social media. Between our speaking events, blog, e-newsletter, publicity program, and networking events -- YouveGotFunds is getting lots of buzz and quite a few new clients from referrals.
Faleris: What is your advice for those wanting to start a Crowdfunding campaign?
Sperling: It’s important that prior to starting a Crowdfunding campaign, participants take time to plan a smart strategy. Write a business plan, build networks, determine how to tell the story through pictures and videos and decide on a realistic financial goal.
Faleris: Husband and wife teams can be precarious. Have you worked together before?
Sperling: We have previously worked together on a number of retail outlets. We like working as a team since we share the same goals. Ellen focuses on the social media marketing and the website content development. David handles daily operations. Both of us deal with customers and networking.
Faleris: Have you ever had to get funding for a business? What is your experience in funding?
Sperling: Like many other small businesses -- we have been overwhelmed by red tape and bureaucracy. While we have had lots of time to establish ourselves -- the process is so cumbersome that often by the time you complete the paperwork -- it has drained you of your initial passion. And, it is because we understand this first-hand, we are so thrilled to be part of this new trend of raising money. People can now share their ideas with "the world" and "the world" can embrace these ideas, products, and programs and support them directly.
Faleris: What are you projecting for the next year? The next 5 years?
Sperling: As crowdfunding continues to grow by leaps and bounds, we anticipate an increased market share, as well as higher profits. Within the next 5 years, we expect to reinvest a percentage of the proceeds to keep our marketing efforts current and our website up-to-date. We want to see YouveGotFunds be a virtual community hub where people can come to build their business, present their creative ideas, get feedback and funding.
Faleris: Anything else you'd like to comment on regarding your business or the industry?
Sperling: At YouveGotFunds -- participants aren't just another project but real people with great ideas. And we put our money where our mouth is by making sure all the money that is raised (even if it falls short of goal) is kept by the participant (minus fees). We also try to enhance the fundraising success by offering a hands-on approach to marketing and awareness-building. YouveGotFunds.com is more than a platform -- we are a true crowdfunding partner.
Crowdfunding is a growing concept that is future-bound. We're happy to see this next step by YouveGotFunds.com in helping new business owners bring their new goods and services to the market. It's good for the economy and good for consumers.
If you've got a strong idea and business plan, you may be well on your way to success.