The Skadeedle team joined the Celebration of America’s Startups at Austin City Limits while attending SXSW Interactive. According to the Austin Chamber, “The event featured many influential entrepreneurial leaders from around the country including Steve Case, CEO of Revolution (co-founder of AOL) and current Chairman of Startup America Partnership, Scott Case, founding CTO of Priceline and current CEO of Startup America, Tristan Walker, Andreessen Horowitz EIR, former VP of FourSquare; Brad Smith, CEO of Inuit, Dhani Jones, NFL star and many more.”

The powerhouse of a panel had some great tips to share about crowdfunding with the key takeaway being that crowdfunding isn’t just for tech companies. It’s for retailers, designers and everyone in between. Here are some of the key tips that we can all learn from:

I/O Denim is a premium jean manufacturer that has a unique feature: a built in pocket for your smartphone. And. I/O Denim was able to raise $12K in funding from 67 people via Kickstarter. According to I/O Denim, “After over a year and six different prototypes, the brand decided to take to Kickstarter to see if the concept would take off. The campaign started with a little video to demonstrate and explain the brand.”

Takeaway: Crowdfunding is a great way to test a product before you go to market and raise a good chunk of change. 

Next, we heard from Candace Klein from SoMoLend. SoMoLend offers new solutions for small businesses to get the money they need to launch and sustain their operations and connects business borrowers seeking loans of $35,000 or less with investors looking to make a return on investment while doing well by doing good.

Klein’s advice? When you’re looking for crowdfunding make sure you focus on building benefits for your investors beyond the obvious ROI:

  • Build benefits and loyalty for your investors. Release your product to them early, or provide other inherent benefits that make it worthwhile for them. And get them building buzz for you.
  • Your investors will spend more money with you (and hopefully so will their friends and connections) because they have a vested interest in your success. By building and nurturing your community, you’ll build a loyal group of core customers that will support your biz.

The entire panel agreed that any investor whether crowdfunded, VC or angel, will want to see that you have a loyal community of supporters. People who will vouch for you, your product or service and your work ethic.

Looking for more crowdfunding resources? Check out this  article. Eight Crowdfunding Sites For Social Entrepreneurs.

Have you considered crowdfunding for your biz? Share your tips in the comments.

© 2013 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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