SA Crowdfunding Blog

Friday, 19 April 2013 20:19

So we thought it may be a good idea to interview some of our most active funders on StartMe and ask why they do or do not contribute to projects on our platform. The answers was shed some real light on the issue of funding goals, rewards, presentation of projects and a few other issues.

In the end we convinced 7 serial funders to give us the low down on their decision process. The answers varied quite a bit as you can imagine but there were a few very interesting common ideas. 

These are some representative answers that some of the interviewees gave:

1) Don't ask for too much, tell us what you need the money for

The number one reason I'd say projects fail is that they ask for too much money. I know product design and manufacturing doesn't come cheap but if you have a small little item you want to produce that will have a final price of maybe R2000 or less, don't be surprised when you have trouble raising many tens of thousands of Rands for it.

Whatever you need in terms of money, be sure to explain in as much detail possible how the money will be used and what it will be used for. Sometimes I've seen too-high R projects get more funding when the creators came back to explain how much equipment was really necessary and what the going rates were.

This applies equally to products as it does to things like film or music production. If you asked a random person on the street if R5,000 was enough to record and produce an album in this day and age, I think you'd get agreement. If you said you needed R100,000 to make a record, I think most people would say that is too much. I've seen a lot of film projects ask for upwards of R300,000 for paying a team of editors, but very few of those projects get funded and I think that's because people are used to seeing smaller films done in something like Final Cut or even iMovie and would prefer to see them done for much cheaper.

2) Project need to be creative and unique:

There just seems to be too may generic projects. People on the site really seems to think that us visitors have money to give to anyone. Consulting firms, web developers, magazines, you name it I’ve seen it. If you want your project funded you better be unique. Look at the Trevz Eco friendly watch project, or the wind turbine project, these are unique ideas that we can excited about. Something I'm proud to put my name next to. A great idea is unique, it addresses a need that nothing else does, and it helps if it does so in a clever way. Now that can be a new iphone app, a great new SA band or whatever else, but it helps if it adds to the world as being a new form of creativity.

3) Why does no one tell us who is in their team. Do people really expect me to contribute to someone who I can’t see and don’t know who it is at all. Tell me who you are. Why do they not use the My Team section at the bottom of project to tell us more about the team behind the idea. I want to know who I'm supporting.

4) Structure your rewards carefully

Why do project not think about their rewards a bit more? I’ve seen quite a few of these projects, so lest for instance they have a great idea for a cool thing that I want to help fund (mostly because I want one of the things they will produce), and they are asking for a significant amount of money, but their rewards are structured in such a way that you get one of the things they are producing for a small amount of money.

So imagine you were making a thing and you needed R150,000 for it, but if you gave just R20, you got one of the things. You could offer more copies for R100,R250, and R1000 contributions, but imagine that a normal person only has use for one of these things. Chances are, you're going to have trouble finding 1,500 people on the internet that want your thing in the month or so you run your StartMe campaign. If instead you were giving away the thing at R300, you'd need just 500 people to get you to your goal. 

5) So many project get posted and then just raise nothing at all. It seems to me that those projects which does get funded and certainly the ones I always contribute to are the projects that have a chance of making it. I have not posted a project yet as I'm still trying to come up with the right idea but if I was going to post a project I will make sure that a get a few people to contribute t it just to show everyone that, hey this project is going somewhere, lets also support it.

I'd say if you had a project fail on StartMe, the best thing you can do is to try and cut your costs and scope of the project accordingly, and re-launch it. I've seen several projects fail at R100,000+ and come back in a slightly more limited form for less than R50,000 and get funded fully.

Personally I'll far rather post a smaller project of say R30 000 and get it fully funded and come again with the second part of the project. Much rather this than not get funded at all.

So to those of you creating projects, we hope this helps and is a bot more of an eye opener as to what funders look for before supporting project here.

All the best with it!!

Monday, 04 March 2013 11:26
We have recently asked a number of our successfully funded crowdfunding campaigners to comment on what they thought made their campaigns work while so many others don’t. Around 10% of the campaigns on StartMe gets funded successfully so far so needless to say we were very interested to hear more about what these guys did to be in the top 10% of campaigns.

We got a range of different answers, its needless to say. Many of them agreed that apart from putting allot of work into their campaigns, they made sure that people they knew started donating early. Nearly all of those interviewed said that showing early momentum was key. But not only early momentum surely? So what else then we asked. These are some of the key points that they mentioned

What is exciting about your project. Find a way to get someone to take the time to look at your project for starters. You need to make your project relevant to THEM. You may have a real passion for your business or project, but others probably don’t. At least, not initially. So go and get them hooked by offering benefits or rewards something new, something desirable, something fun. Crowd-funding has really locked into this idea.

Introduce a sense of humour. Raising funds for your business or project is serious business. Yes of course you want to show your serious side, but also be entertaining.

Make sure you ask. Be brave, be bold, be unapologetic. Don’t offer an easy way out, offer something in return. The amount most commonly donated is R200 - R500 on www.StartMe.co.za. People tend not to go for the smallest amounts.

Make it easy for other people to spread the word. For crowdfunding, getting people to get other people onto your project is key. So provide them with resources that they will be excited to share. Get posting, tweeting, emailing—the lot.

Monday, 04 March 2013 11:01
Its an interesting one, crowdfunding. And over the last few years it has both made a big impact on how entrepreneurs, bands, artists and others are funded. It has also certainly divided opinion on just how viable the model of crowdfunding is. One thing that few people are admitting is that crowdfunding can be really hard work. And – a couple of campaigns later – I’m a staunch believer that the most important part of this fund-yourself-golden-carrot is the crowd, not the funding.

A crowd funding campaign is a bit like a wedding cake; it’s all about layers, and if you leave it sitting in the freezer, it won’t get eaten. A successful campaign identifies and engages with its core audience, then moves out beyond it and eventually gathers enough speed of its own that it (you hope) becomes contagious. And secret to all of this really working, is the work that you as the project creator puts in. Over the last 7 months or so, the 7 campaigns which have been successfully funded on StartMe, had one thing in common. They all put an enormous amount of work in - and today they are better of for it.

Monday, 04 February 2013 15:05
So you have taken the plunge and added your crowdfunding project to StartMe. You've come up with a few great prizes, added video and images to your project and even thought carefully about the wording of your campaign. You now start waiting for the contributions to start flooding in and nothing happens. You’ve checked the campaign quite a few times and its definitely live there on the website, so what is the holdup? Why didn’t yours make it when you’ve heard people making thousands of Rands in their campaigns?

The truth is that it takes time and dedication, but more importantly, strategic planning to have a successful campaign.

To get you started, here are 5 key tips to get the money flowing in your crowdfunding campaign:

1. Build a dedicated fan base beforehand

I want you to be real with me: every time you speak to your fans via social media or your newsletter, is your dialogue consistently, “Retweet this,” “Buy this,” “Come to my show,” “Support me here,”? Me, me, me. - Make sure you are engaging with your fan base not just asking asking asking.

Few relationships based on take, take, take from one party ever succeed.

The key ingredient to a successful crowdfunding campaign is having a dedicated bunch of fans that will truly promote anything you’re doing — we’ve seen that happen in the recent Arch Reactor project. But if you think you can start building your mailing list the day before you launch your project, you’re wrong.

You need to build your list months before your campaign can really take off! With a dedicated fan base, you can create a buzz about your upcoming project and have a better chance of making it go viral.

Monday, 04 February 2013 15:01
Creating an interesting video is a great way to introduce your crowdfunding campaign to the world, it’s very marketable and adding a bit of music can really inspire potential contributors to support your project. Let’s face it, you are really in competition with those on StartMe to attract the attention and contributions of visitors.

So where do you begin?

That’s a good question. Creating a video is not as difficult as you may think it is. There are so many resources available. Here is a look at 5 tools that can help you create dynamic videos to represent you:

CamStudio – This free program is a great screen capture program that will record your viewing area. Videos when complete can be uploaded easily to YouTube and embedded on your site.

Animoto – This free and easy to use video program allows you to use still images, text, video clips and music to create a custom video that represents you. Don’t worry about not being able to create a video because if you can create a slideshow then you can use Animoto with no problem. The free program limits you to a 30 second video.

Masher – This free tool allows you to create videos easily. They offer a lot of content that you can use or you can upload your own. Add text easily. It’s just that simple. When you’re finished get ready to share your video with the world.

One True Media – This is an easy to use online program where you can easily create slideshows and videos. Audio effects and video transitions make this a great program. Plus you can easily upload videos to your social media outlets.

Photobucket– This free program allows you to combine video clips, photos and more to create videos easily. Want to share it with your fans on social media? You can do that easily.

Sunday, 27 January 2013 19:44
So why exactly did Seth Godin, the world’s most well-known marketer use crowdfunding for his latest book? That's the questions many are asking. And how did he manage to raise more than his $40,000 in just 3 hours?

Two separate questions really as the one are related to the benefits of crowdfunding and the other, well obviously, what can your crowdfunding campaign learn from him?

Lets first look at, apart from the money itself, how else we benefit from crowdfunding. Three of the most obvious benefits to crowdfunders are:

First of all it clearly helps you to understand how much demand there is for your idea. The more advanced your product is in its development the more accurate this feedback really becomes. By taking your offering directly to consumers through a crowdfunding platform, you have the opportunity to get feedback and learn what people think about your product. A great market validation opportunity really.

Secondly it helps you to test your marketing and get the message out there about your product or brand. If the world’s best marketers are now using crowdfunding to market their products then who are to argue? A Crowdfunding campaign is a real marketing opportunity for your business. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to use their campaign as a platform to post an unlimited amount of information about their project — this can include anything you think your audience would find relevant, including commercials, team pictures, and press mentions. SatrtMe provides logos and widgets that can be easily embedded into your website, blogs, and emails to drive traffic to your project.

Monday, 14 January 2013 11:25
2013 – is the year for crowdfunders. The media has given huge momentum to crowdfunding in 2012 and now is your opportunity to get your business or creative ideas funded on StartMe. Its also your opportunity to move away from excuses and get your ideas of the ground. – It’s the year for you to commit!

Whatever your idea may be at this point, it’s time to spend some serious energy on getting your project funded. Are you still finalising the idea, are you perhaps getting the information ready to present to funders, or are you ready to add your project to StartMe today. Move away from procrastination and create a plan with actionable dates to finalise and post your project, starting today.

Crowdfunding is opening up a unique source of finance to all, without the need for business plans or bank loans, consultants or committees. It’s a real opportunity for you realise the idea that you have been thinking about for so long now, but have not started as you thought you can probably not fund it.

In The 6 months since the StartMe website has been operational, we have already successfully funded 5 projects. That is five entrepreneurs who previously did not know where the money for their ideas are going to come from who now has raised enough to make a great start. You can be next!

We have been getting a great team of people together to support you and your campaign every step of the way, whether you need support with putting the campaign together, creating the right reward structure, getting the word out or moving on with your idea once you have successfully funded your project.

So click here and lets get started and let us know where we can help!
Monday, 14 January 2013 10:48
So after the initial excitement of your project and attracting a few promising pledges to your campaign things starts to quiet down a bit. You don’t look at your campaign s often as you initially intended and start realising that maybe this crowdfunding thing is not as easy as I initially thought.

This is exactly the time when you should be doubling your efforts. You have after all been able to convince a few investors already. Some backers may be waiting to see if your project evolves and attract more interest before they take the leap with you. Now id the time to convince them that yours is a project that is worth their interest and support.

So what is it that you can do at this point? Do we just let a few more people know about the campaign and hope for the best? If you are serious about getting your idea of the ground then be creative in the way that you approach this. Running a business is not child’s play and neither is convincing others to back you with their own hard earned money. You showing commitment will make it easier for backers to buy in to your idea.

Here are a few ideas from our side and as mentioned below, be creative and find ways to stand out from the rest.

  • Understand your market – Do a bit more research to understand what people look at when they fund crowdfunding campaigns – look at all the blog articles exploring successful campaigns.

  • Time to add or change your video – If you have not done so yet, add a video abouth your project or change the one you have currently. Videos are there to inspire. Take a look at our blog article here on how to include great video content. -

  • Use Social networks – You are likely to already be part of social networks like Facebook and Twitter – be active here and communicate your project to everyone.

  • Web site – if you have a website, have you included the Startme logo on your site - have you communicated your project clearly on your how page so that those who come to your site and are interested can support your campaign?

  • Thursday, 03 January 2013 20:47
    The use of rewards to attract business funding or contributions to your crowdfunding campaign has long been a key part of the deal, were you ask for a contribution with the agreement that something else will be given in return. In recent months however we have seen an increase in the use of the actual product and variations of that to entice the contributor to make the kind of contribution that will support the entrepreneur to bring product to market.

    In other words entrepreneurs are using crowdfunding as a launch pad to introduce the product to the market. This is a great idea of course as the entrepreneur is getting a readymade shop window where the product is introduced. Not only is the product introduced but a type of market research is taking place where the entrepreneur quickly finds out if the product is going to be successful based on the popularity of the product on the crowdfunding platform.

    In a recently published book The Crowdfunding Bible by Scott Steinberg, CEO of consulting firm TechSavvy illustrates this well where he discusses some of the options available when creating your crowdfunding incentives.

    Scott sugests the follwoing options as crowdfunding rewards:

  • The product itself. A copy of the item in question—and, potentially, one sold for a limited time at a steep discount. Be sure to calculate any associated costs and figure them into your pricing structure and funding goals.

  • Monday, 17 December 2012 21:52
    Being proactive in spreading the word about your crowdfunding campaign is essential. In fact this process is great as a taster of what creating and marketing your business will be all about. You may have the best crowdfunding campaign in the world, if no one knows about it, it will remain a secret. Creating marketing campaign both on and offline is the next step. The more you put into it the better your chances of gaining the trust and respect from potential funders will be.

    As with everything, the outcome will depend on what you put into it. How far re you prepared to go to ensure you reach your funding goal? The reason why there are far more business failures than successes is the same reason there are far more unsuccessful crowdfunding campaigns in comparison with successful campaigns. It takes, planning, hard work, commitment, networking and a little bit of luck.

    How committed are you to this project?

    If you are prepared to do what it takes then read on.
    Monday, 17 December 2012 11:16
    As crowdfunding is evolving into a real opportunity for entrepreneurs to get their businesses of the ground and we are seeing an enormous amount of interest from both the media as well as entrepreneurs themselves, crowdfunding certainly has not been without its criticism.

    Interesting then that a recent study by South African crowdfunding platform StartMe have found a much more clearer picture of what leads to crowdfunding success. What seems to be particularly important for would-be recipients of crowdfunding is for them to understand social media and the way social-technology users think. We must not forget that crowdfunding in itself is very much a technology based solution, so those involved are inherently driven by and accessible through technology. Today of course know that a key part of technology and how we use it to communicate is related to social media.

    First, crowdfunders seem to understand the high risk of putting money into a new idea, the survey shows. They're well aware that most small businesses fail. As a result, they spread their investments. Moreover, many take due-diligence seriously, and they limit their investments to amounts they can afford to lose. In other words, they may be inexperienced, but they're not stupid.

    Second, what seems to be happening is that the "social media culture," in which people feel close to and want to be part of brands they like, is extending into social investing. StartMe cofounder Ben Botes says two-thirds of investors surveyed expressed the need to feel some emotional connection with a target company. People are investing into ideas that mean something to them.
    Monday, 12 November 2012 13:49
    Over the first five months of operating we have seen very healthy number of entrepreneurs adding their projects here on StartMe. Showing the real power of crowdfunding we have also seen three entrepreneurs receiving full funding to get their business ideas of the ground. These are businesses that may have otherwise not been able to get started and for many of you this holds exiting prospects going forward.

    We have also however seen a large number of projects not funded by the crowd. Somehow many project creators seems to expect that simply by posting a few paragraphs and picture on the website it will result in money flowing in. If this is your approach to starting a business and you feel that minimum effort equals large rewards then it not surprising that those who invest on crowdfunding websites such as this was not at all convinced by either you or your idea.

    So I want to highlight some of the biggest mistakes project creators make here to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.

    Some of the biggest errors include:

    Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00
    How many times have you purchased an expensive electronic device only to find out that every accessory made for it was incredibly lacking in quality. The people who came up with the idea for Elevation Dock either had that experience or empathized with people who did a great deal and, to remedy it, they created something that is of as high a quality as the product it is designed to accessorize.

    The iPhone is one of the most popular electronic products on the market. Up until the Elevation Dock became available, the vast majority of the docking stations available for the iPhone were very cheap, did not work with cases, and oftentimes had quite a few elements to them that made them a hassle, such as having your iPhone stick in the device when you were trying to take it out or having to push rather hard to get it to dock. The cheap plastic used in their construction did not help iPhone users a bit.

    Elevation Dock is a simple idea; it is made out of aluminum, has rubber feet and is designed in proportions that allow it to be used with or without a case. This adds an element of flexibility that was simply not present before it became available. In addition to this, everything else about the product is designed to be of the highest quality possible. Its minimalistic aesthetics make it a suitable choice to go along with the iPhone.

    How successful could a person be with a good idea based on products that already exist? Out of a total of $75,000 that was being sought for Elevation Dock, $1,464,706 were actually pledged.

    Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00
    For many artists out there, breaking into the world of comic book illustration is one of their primary dreams. Unfortunately, getting into the world of comic book illustration is also one of the hardest things for an artist to do successfully. To make this easier, a product called I Draw Comics was devised by Matt Marrocco of Chicago, Illinois.

    I Draw Comics was originally started on Kickstarter with a funding goal of $10,000. By the time the project closed, it had raised $245,870. The product, despite the tremendous amount of funding it managed to attract is a relatively simple one but is also one that would be eminently useful to people who are trying to break into the comic book world.

    I Draw Comics is designed as a combination sketchbook, style guide and templating tool. Aspiring artists can learn about the standard terms and techniques used in comic books to improve what they're able to do in that form. The product also provides them with guides that give them an idea of how to improve their drawing of proportion, perspective and so forth. In addition to this, the templates included in I Draw Comics are made in a color called no photo blue. This allows the artist to draw their pictures on the template and to then scan it into their computer without having any of the guidelines that they used to get the proportions right and to get the other elements of the frame right show up in the finished product.

    The product also allows people to look at examples of the conventions used in comic books so that they can imitate them in a way that allows them to adhere to the best of those conventions. At the same time, it does not restrict them in a way that ends up making all of their work essentially a pastiche.
    Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00
    Karen Klein isn't your typical crowdfunding success story. There's no product involved in the story and there's no entrepreneur trying to take the world by storm with their new idea. Karen Klein is a bus monitor near Rochester, New York. Her story managed to touch many people when it was distributed as a viral video.

    In the viral video in question, Klein is harassed, bullied, berated and outright insulted by some of the students on the bus that she monitors. At the time that the video was made, she was in her late 60s. The idea that this woman had to put up with this sort of harassment from students for a paltry bus monitor's wage enraged people and made them want to do something. On the site Indiegogo.com, people got together with a simple idea: let's send Karen Klein on vacation. Given what goes on in the video, she could certainly use one.

    There was no stated goal with this funding project, but her annual salary of $15,506 gives something of a metric. By the time this campaign had finished, people in 80 different nations had contributed over $640,000 to send Karen Klein and nine of her friends or family to Disneyland for a much-needed vacation.
    Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00
    LunaTik is a project that started on Kickstarter with a relatively simple, but really quite brilliant, idea. The project involved marketing products that allowed people to turn their iPod Nano devices into watches. Not only did this project utilize a product that was already on the market – and very popular – it also combined that product with an already well-known product – wristwatches – to create something new and that has a natural, built in fan base.

    The iPod Nano, of course, is renowned for its small size and its versatile capabilities as an entertainment device. There was already a demand for a product such as what LunaTik offers. Because of that, this is one of the biggest success stories to come out of the crowdfunding world.
    Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00
    Nightmare Magazine is the brainchild of John Joseph Adams, already a well-known figure in the publishing world. This idea isn't a particularly new one and, in fact, it's likely to have quite a bit of appeal to those who have a nostalgic bent to their personalities. Nightmare Magazine will be a monthly publication in the style of the old pulp fiction magazines that were popular around the beginning and middle of the 20th century. Those magazines retain a very devoted following and there are some excellent examples of such publications still on the market.

    As of June 8, 2012, Nightmare Magazine had reached its funding goal, and then some. The original goal was $7,500. The 407 backers who signed onto the project ended up funding a total of $9,740 for the publication of the first issue of this magazine, which was the actual purpose of the crowd funding project. Donors were given rewards in the form of discounted subscriptions.

    Why it Worked?

    Again, you can see a crowdfunded project that is both ambitious and conservative in its design. It's ambitious in that the project itself is intended to launch an entirely new horror genre magazine into the world. This sets it up with a natural fan base and, in fact, one of the most devoted fan bases in the world.

    One of the things that have been hindering some publications in this genre and others is the fact that they tend to be rather attached to their format. Nightmare Magazine will be published in printed form but will also be available in the various formats used by eBook readers. Even if people have moved on from the printed page as a way of consuming new fiction, they'll be able to get Nightmare Magazine in an electronic format that's more appropriate for the modern world.

    Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00
    Penny Arcade is an Internet comic site that used crowdfunding to improve what it offers to its visitors. Like many other sites on the Internet, Penny Arcade had to convert to an advertiser funded model, which the creators were not quite happy with. Advertisements, though they can bring in good revenue, take away from what a site has to offer by cluttering the site up, distracting visitors and, in some cases, visitors actually end up resenting the advertisements. Further, when a site is funded by advertisements, it makes it difficult for the creators to allow people to create apps and other ways that people can interact with the site, as they may lose advertising revenue.

    Penny Arcade wanted to change the way it works. To that end, they started a crowd funding project with a goal of $250,000 so that they could convert to an advertisement free site. In the end, they brought in $528,144 off the Kickstarter site.

    The company set up funding goals that were somewhat like videogame goals in the way that they were arranged. At each assigned increment, a new feature was unlocked. For example, at the $900,000 funding level, the company released its work under the Creative Commons license. At the $999,999 level, Penny Arcade when online ad free. There are other goals that lie ahead, though they are tantalizingly listed with "???" on the project's page.

    Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00
    Righteous is a UK-based salad dressing company that successfully crowdfunded their advertising campaign using CrowdCube.com. The company produces salad dressings that are all natural and that are highly regarded for their quality. The founder of the business, Gem Misa, wanted to expand their sales overseas and to, of course, get the product into new markets.

    In the end, the company managed to get £75,000 toward the effort, with 15% equity offered over the course of a month. The company's investment graph shows steadily increasing interest over the period that they were seeking funding, owing to several different factors. The total funding project was slated for 40 days and funding was completed in February of 2012.

    Why It Worked
    Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00
    Having the Olympics come to town is a big deal for any city. Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit want to get beyond the advertising, however, and to give people a deeper insight into what having the Olympics come to your city actually means. Their project involves going around and taking pictures of cities that have hosted the Olympics in the past and seeing how they look long after the games have ended, the medals have been handed out and the world turns its attention to the next Olympic Games.

    The total project goal was set at $45,000. By the time funding ended in the summer of 2012, the pair had netted $66,162 to complete the project.

    The project is an ambitious one. The book is designed to be approximately 200 pages in length and is slated for publication in March of 2013. There will be digital copies of the books distributed, as well, in limited numbers. The project will take the photographers around the world to photograph former Olympic sites.

    Why It Worked
    Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00
    Wasteland 2, not too surprisingly, is a sequel to the video game Wasteland. The original is a very old game, dating back to 1988, when it was published by Electronic Arts. The videogame falls under the role-playing game category, one of the most popular videogame types in the world.

    The man who served as the executive producer for the original Wasteland, Brian Fargo, owned the rights to the game, and decided to make it into a franchise. He started soliciting donations on Kickstarter to the tune of $900,000. In the end, he raised $2,933,252 to develop the Wasteland 2 project.

    Part of the success story has to do with how the developers of Wasteland 2 decided to reward those who sent donations into the project. Wasteland 2 pledged to give five percent of the profits that they made back to Kickstarter. In addition to this, people who offered different levels of donations received different awards for doing so, giving people an immediate gratification incentive to participate in developing this project.

    Why Did This Work?

    Monday, 05 November 2012 00:00
    Window farming is a relatively new idea. It taps into the spirit of environmentalism and people's interest in eating healthier, more natural foods. A window farm is exactly what the name implies. It's a way of growing food right in your window. Window Farms the company produces devices that are designed to make window farming very easy.

    Window Farms started out with a goal of $50,000. They ended up receiving over $250,000 from crowd funding.

    Why It Worked

    Tuesday, 23 October 2012 18:00
    StartMe has recently produced our first two success stories. Both the Urban Turbine and Recycling of Lead Acid Batteries raised 100% of their funding targets.

    One of the entrepreneurs behind a success story shares their recipe with current and future crowdfunders.

    It was a lot of work, requiring constant updates in social media and with friends, family, etc. You don't sit back and watch the money roll in. Some hints:

    1. Bootstrapping, or starting with your own cash is actually stage one of crowd funding which hardly start-ups want to explore....They resist, all they look at is external money first while a known crowd funding example of a "joint bootstrapped" business works well for low investment start-ups. We started first, developed a concept that people could see and relate to.

    2. Do your homework on your project and post a complete as possible proposition. Images and video works great and we have had very positive comments on this. Make this work for you. Contributors and investors will first be attracted by images. If this attracts them they will look at the text you added to describe the project.

    3. Very few projects get crazy amounts of money. Most don't. StartMe is an all-or nothing proposition, so adjust your goal accordingly.

    4. Be very clear as to what the money you get will be used for. Make sure your rewards are about equal in retail value to the donation. Send updates and thanks regularly.

    5. Sponsor a project or two. It's good karma and shows you are an active member. Other members can see of you have contributed to projects. They will be hesitant to contribute to someone who has not contributed.

    Tuesday, 23 October 2012 13:55
    With all the talk of crowdfunding as a source of small business funding, art funding and music funding in South Africa, we look at some of the great benefits of getting involved.

    1) It provides access to capital.
    As an entrepreneur, artist or musician, finding the finance you need to get your project of the ground will be one of the most business challenges that you will face. Provided that you have a great concept and is able to convince others of that, with hard work and allot of networking you will quickly see that you can turn buzz about your business into capital with which you can get started.

    2) It reduces risk.
    The basic nature of crowdfunding is that small portions of the money needed to start with the received from a many others. The Crowd. So comparing this to the traditional business model where risk is normally taken on by the entrepreneur and either the bank or the one or two investors, clearly in the case there is far less risk for all involved. – A real bonus for entrepreneurship and creativity in general don’t you agree?

    3) It’s a great marketing tool
    This benefit comes in two parts:
    • You all of a suddenly have the greatest excise ever to shamelessly promote your idea to every one everywhere. Your personnel and social network all get to hear about your creativity and you have a real reason to shout your message from the roof tops.

    • The crowdfunding platform itself attract allot of interest. Crowdfunding is very newsworthy right now and the media loves it. Radio, press, everyone wants to get involved. Not only will a platform like StartMe promote your projects to everyone who asks but will actively be sharing your opportunity with their networks, in their newsletters and you even get the benefit of their aggressive Search engine marketing campaigns.

    Monday, 08 October 2012 15:29
    You have finally decided to give in to your entrepreneurial ambitions. You know that it’s time to take action on your ideas and one of the first challenges is to find funding for your ideas.

    You heard about StartMe on the radio and thought it will be a great place to source funding for your project. So, how do you make the most of your time on StartMe? By inspiring contributors! Let’s look at a few things you can do to ensure that contributors notice your project and contribute to what you are doing.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY: Treat your time on StartMe like a project within itself You will need o work on your project every single day while it’s running on StartMe to make sure you are creating enough buzz and excitement for people to support your project. Just like a creative project, it requires time and effort and attention to detail. This is all part of making your campaign a success. Successful project creator quickly learns the following about crowdfunding:

    1. If you are afraid to ask for help or support - Get over it very quickly. The question here is - What are you prepared to let go f to ensure your campaign is successful? If this is your first project, it can be really intimidating plugging yourself to your friends and colleagues, let alone asking them to support your project financially. Make sure you are able to do so without cringing, stalling or giving up otherwise you significantly decrease your chances of success. Be brave, believe in your idea and be assured that if you know you’re on the right track, people will follow you if you project that.

    2. This is the age of being social and social media is there to be used. If you think that going onto Twitter once and a while or occasionally linking your project on Facebook will be good enough then think again. Work on this as its part of your business. Target you social networks every day with updates and news about your project. Tell them what is new; remind them why your project is unique. If it is important for you to get your project funded then this won’t be too difficult

    Monday, 08 October 2012 12:49
    Crowdfunding in South Africa has the potential to empower and enable creative projects in a way previously not thought possible

    Here are a few important crowdfunding tips from StartMe, the crowdfunding platform for South African Entrepreneurs and creative projects.

    1. It all starts with a plan

    Plan your project and be clear on what it is that you want to achieve. Set yourself a realistic funding target. Funders are not going to be funding anything that seems unplanned with a unrealistic funding target.

    2. Be proud of what you are doing

    Don’t ever feel, afraid or shy to ask someone to support your creative project or idea. You are certainly not begging for money. You are giving people the opportunity of being part of something creative and unique. You are also offering clear rewards for being part of your project. Show confidence in your project if you want other to believe and contribute. Share your idea wherever possible.

    3. Work Together

    You don't have to do it alone. If you know of someone or some organisation who can support you with creating your project on StartMe with great writing skills or perhaps through helping with your video then don’t be afraid to ask? If you want you project to be successful then you need to go all out to ensure that this happens.

    4. Show Effort

    Crowdfunding is not a magic solution where your project will all of sudden attract funding from thousands. Successful campaigns have sown that it takes effort from the project creator. Show those that you are hoping to impress with your project that you are committed to your project and have put the effort in. Show a prototype of your design, make a video, be innovative.

    Wednesday, 26 September 2012 17:57

    When creating your project on StartMe you need to keep the following in mind:


    Your project is in competition with other projects on the site for the contribution of visitors. You need to create a well thought through project proposal here or your project will go un-noticed. The investor wants to know - What is the project about. What makes this project special/unique and of course - what are the incentives that makes this an irresistible investment for me. It seems to be important that you explain the project fairly specifically in one or two sentences right from the start.

    Have a look at this example on Kickstarter. This project has raised double its goal amount- look at the layout of their proposal:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kuy/galago-make-things-better?ref=discover_pop

    • Catchy Headline - This is what visitors will see when they scroll through the projects
    • Image or video of your product, service, movie or whichever else. - Images are far more powerful in getting people to act in comparison to words. Internet browsers will very seldom read your long pieces of text unless they are already interested.
    • How do I get them interested? - See the two points above.
    • Next: A reason to believe - Something like - As seen at the Gauteng Start-up Exhibition or Grahamstown National Arts Festival - or already part funded by one main investor etc.
    • Product or service description in one or two sentences - talk about the benefits of this product, what it does and why people would want to buy it.
    • What is Blue Widget
    • How can you use it
    • How Blue Widget compares
    • What makes Blue Widget different
    • What have we done so far
    • Specifications (if appropriate)

    More information can be found at - and add your website etc here

    That’s the just of it. To many project creator think they can take 5 minutes to create a quick proposal and the money will start flowing in. The bad news is that you are going to have to work a little harder to attract the money you need. The good news is that working through the points above will not only make you think through your project in more detail, but may just result in you getting the investment you need.

    If you want more specific support with your project or want us to send you some feedback, click on the Green support button on the right hand side of this page and get in contact.

    Best of luck!

    Monday, 24 September 2012 13:16

    Until a few years ago, what did you do if you had a brilliant business idea and no bank loan? Perhaps you prayed for a miracle. And now? Well now… you simply crowdfund your business.

    Known by many names- crowd sourced capital, crowd financing, and fan funding, crowdfunding is the savior of people with extreme talent but no capital. It is the latest buzz in the world of small entrepreneurship.

    It is interesting to note that while the buzz is new, the concept itself is very old. One of the greatest musicians of all time, Beethoven, used crowdfunding to procure funds to compose and play. You, as experts will agree, have an obvious advantage over Beethoven- maybe not in terms of talent, but definitely in terms of opportunities available to you to make your sales pitch heard.

    Are you still wondering about what Beethoven never had at his disposal, but you do? Well… the answer is: numerous crowdfunding websites.

    So, if you have a brilliant business idea and are high on confidence but, unfortunately, low on cash, make use of online crowdfunding platforms to turn your dreams into reality.

    Want to know how you can do this? Read on to find out.

    Tips for using crowdfunding for business

    Monday, 24 September 2012 09:53

    Crowdfunding, which is an offshoot of crowdsourcing, is one of the latest and most effective ways of getting money for art projects, but the usefulness of this process extends way beyond just money. To understand how and why crowdfunding should be used for the arts, it is important to know what the process is all about first.

    What is crowdfunding?

    In simple terms, crowdfunding is the process of getting money from the general public for funding an art project or work of art. This method of raising funds can be used for anything from painting to music, and even films. In the last few years, crowdfunding has been used for helping many artists get the necessary money to use their skills and talents and create some great pieces of art. This method is not limited to South Africa either; it has been used successful across Europe, U.K., and the United States as well.

    The reason for the emergence of crowdfunding is quite obvious. When it comes to art projects, banks and financial institutions are not very likely to provide a single source of capital because there is no surefire way to evaluate the project for its profitability.

    In the case of music and films, popular producers are less likely to help out a new artist on the scene unless they are exceptionally talented and have been able to pique the producers’ interests. While there are several talented filmmakers and musicians out there, only a few are lucky and resourceful enough to get the backing of a producer. Even if they find a producer, the artist would most likely have to sacrifice a certain amount of their artistic freedom in return. As a result, the final film or music that is produced will not be a complete creation of the artist’s vision.

    Tuesday, 18 September 2012 10:56

    Venture capital and start-up investment have traditionally been dominated by the big players. After all, they have usually had more resources to help them choose a good startup business than the others. Moreover, entrepreneurs have traditionally preferred wealthier investors because they get more capital. However, start-up investments are slowly but surely becoming accessible to the average investor. To understand what this means for entrepreneurs and investors, it is important to learn about startup investments first.

    Startup investments

    The terms venture capital investment, start-up investment, and angel investment are different in their own way, but they share the same common concept, which is that of investing in a new firm or a new product or service that is being launched by a firm. The money that is invested is used as capital by the company to carry out its plan.

    If the investment is for a start-up, the money is generally used to begin product of a company until its revenue stream increases to the point where it can sustain its capital. Of course, the investors who provide the money to the company get something in return as well. This can either be a certain number of equity shares in the company or a certain percentage of equity ownership.

    Why invest in start-ups and support entrepreneurs

    Every year, several entrepreneurs think of new and promising ideas for a business, but fail to turn them into a reality. One obstacle that stops a great business idea from getting into the real world is capital, or the lack thereof. The large money lenders, including banks and financial institutions, are very cautious about funding any business idea, and so, a lot of promising ideas go to waste. However, startup investments or angel investments can help such promising and radical ideas to see the light of day.

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