crowdfunding

In 2012, more than one million individual crowdfunding campaigns were established globally.

As the industry grows, so does the number of campaigns – and less than 50,000 of new start-ups receive venture capital funding annually, because most funding goes to established companies. That leaves the other 99.5% to seek funding from friends, family, crowdfunding or angel investors.

When you launch a campaign on a conventional crowdfunding mega-site, you are instantly in competition with every other campaign on the site – and all of the additional campaigns that will get listed in future. The more the industry grows, the less relevant your campaign becomes.

Not only that, but Fortune 500 firms are actively experimenting with crowdfunding as a product launch and testing platform, further pushing out the small players. UC Berkeley is actually looking into providing courses for corporate executives wanting to launch crowdfunding campaigns. As a result, traditional crowdfunding platforms, and the industry as a whole, are becoming very crowded, with more and more competition. The bar for getting attention for your campaign is rising for small new start-ups. The cost and effort to successfully execute large campaigns is becoming prohibitive for entrepreneurs. The bigger the crowdfunding site, the less a small start-up can compete. This is counter to the whole notion of crowdfunding, which was supposed to assist start-ups penetrate the vast expanse of the marketplace.

Crowdfunding was imagined as a place where great ideas that lack funding can find people with funding who like great ideas. It can still work that way. But every time a campaign uses crowdfunding essentially as a cheap tool for publicity or for product launches, it buries a genuine upstart crowdfunding campaign lower in the rankings.

And it’s not even a level playing field. The mega-sites have their own way of doing things and that often puts the little guy at a disadvantage. Campaigns that catch the eye of the mega-sites, or that succeed quickly, move up the ladder, featured on the most heavily trafficked part of the site. A genuinely struggling crowdfunding campaign can get buried beneath this avalanche.

This is one of the things that make BidOkee revolutionary. You are not competing with anyone else on the site — because you own your own site. You have your own URL. It’s your own brand. You make the rules. No one who comes to your site will get drawn away by shiny objects in the right-hand column.

BidOkee offers something else that is revolutionary. When you participate in our loyalty rewards program, which features an auction hub and ecommerce platform, your backers can use reward points to bid on, win or buy very cool products. This also presents an opportunity for you to showcase your product in front of the backers from all BidOkee campaigns, without compromising your networks. You can feature your products on the BidOkee ecommerce site and benefit in big ways.

First, it puts your product in the sightlines of thousands of eager consumers looking for the latest cool thing.

Second, this generates QUILs – qualified unique Internet leads. QUILs are generated when people bid on your product but do not win it. These hundreds or thousands of potential customers who have demonstrated intent to purchase may be the most lucrative leads you could ever get. You can contact them with incentivized offers that almost guarantee sales.

This kind of cooperation is just another way that makes BidOkee revolutionary in crowdfunding.

To make the revolution happen, we need your help.

We are crowdfunding for crowdfunding. We have built the prototype and are now raising the capital to turn it into the do-it-yourself platform that will make it possible for anyone to easily build and run their own successful crowdfunding campaign.

Click here to learn more and pledge your support.

Campaign Backers

There is no greater asset to a crowdfunding campaign than the network of people supporters you build.

Yet this invaluable asset is something crowdfunding mega-sites like to keep to themselves or share with you only if your campaign succeeds.

Through our own research, we estimate that the average campaign garners 302 subscribers.

As you build your crowdfunding campaign, you are building a community, a network of backers and friends. Yet, when your campaign ends, you may lose them if your campaign is unsuccessful. And we know a majority of campaigns fail to meet their goals. Therefore, despite the fact you did the work and expended the resources to attract users to your campaign, the crowdfunding mega-site retains the information for their own benefit – not yours. It’s a great deal for the crowdfunding platform, which gets to monetize the users you attracted to their site. These are backers who have shown some interest in your product and your campaign. You should be able to communicate with them.

BidOkee has a better way.

When you build your crowdfunding site on BidOkee, your network will remain your network. Your friends will remain your friends. Your community is your community.

When your campaign ends, you can launch another one. You can initiate stretch goals. Or you can send your network over to support another great campaign that you love. It’s your choice.

The only way crowdfunding works is through building networks of people. Shouldn’t you be able to keep those networks yourself? BidOkee thinks so.

If you agree — and why wouldn’t you — help build BidOkee by supporting our crowdfunding for crowdfunding campaign. 

We’re all in this together.

crowdfunding flexibility

There are crowdfunding platforms for all variety of causes.

Musicians, educational projects, non-profits, faith-based organizations, arts, medical expenses, political causes, film productions and plenty more areas of interest each have their own crowdfunding platforms.

And yet each of these incorporates one major problem or another.

There is massive proliferation of crowdfunding sites.

  • There over 450 crowdfunding platforms worldwide
  • More than 160,000 crowdfunding campaigns are launched annually
  • Over half of those campaigns fail

The failure rate is due to a confluence of realities. Among them: bad ideas, bad implementation, bad campaigns.

But some of the failures are directly attributable to the structural faults in the existing crowdfunding mega-sites. Those faults are to a large measure a result of the velocity with which the sector is expanding.

We can think back to the earlier years of the World Wide Web and the plethora of then-revolutionary but now-forgotten programs and applications, like Altavista, WordPerfect and Friendster. The massive successes of today emerged from the ferment of a maturing internet culture.

A similar transformation could be upon us, with the biggest names in crowdfunding today may be destined for an ignominious obscurity in a decade or so.

In some respects, one crowdfunding mega-site is much like the other, yet each has its unique, often arbitrary and usually arcane rules, regulations, limitations and characteristics. Finding the site that is appropriate for a particular campaign can involve a daunting learning curve – even before the demands of the campaign itself begin.

The universe of crowdfunding sites is increasingly crowded and confusing. There are equity and non-equity, debt and reward-based crowdfunding sites targeted to pretty much everything an entrepreneur can imagine.

Yet each of the crowdfunding mega-sites has its own particular, often daunting and usually arbitrary rules and disadvantages.

What they all share in common is a take-it-or-leave-it, one-size-fits-all approach. This is just weird for a market segment that is aimed squarely at the most innovative, entrepreneurial people on earth. It is not a good fit at all.

Innovators are going to demand flexibility. As long as all crowdfunding platforms offer similar cookie-cutter options, consumers will take what they can get. But when someone builds a better mousetrap, the world will abandon the crowdfunding mega-sites that now control this huge and growing sector.

Is that likely to happen? Keep reading.

crowdfunding time limits

A common rule in crowdfunding is to put a time limit on campaigns — usually a few weeks.

There is no logic to this rule except for the sense of urgency it allegedly stimulates. Yet this is a primary reason why the majority of campaigns fail.

Almost all crowdfunding campaigns are launched by people with no prior experience, so the process involves, by definition, a steep learning curve.

Time-limited crowdfunding platforms undermine their very purpose by cutting off campaigns at precisely the time when initiators are gaining their footing, learning the basics of user-acquisition, conventional and social media relations, customer service, retention and vertical cultivation. Time-limiting rules are among the crowdfunding mega-sites’ most detrimental features.

What is so infuriating is that they are simply arbitrary. It’s as though an all-powerful gym teacher is standing with a stop-watch telling grown entrepreneurs when they can go and when they have to stop. It’s degrading, self-defeating and entirely unnecessary.

Time limits are one of the major reasons why well more than half of all crowdfunding campaigns end in failure. Yet crowdfunding mega-sites insist time limits are necessary and good.

How long are consumers (that is, campaigns) going to put up with being told how to run their affairs?

Until something better comes along and no longer.

Continue reading our series on the crowdfunding crisis to find out more about the future of this massive phenomenon.

crowdfunding time all or nothing

Most of the major crowdfunding sites have an “all or nothing” policy.

Either you raise the entire goal amount in the limited time period or the campaign receives nothing. Crowdfunding campaigns that allow you to keep the funds despite an unmet funding goal charge higher commission rates (some as high as 9%).

The only logic to this arbitrary rule is the sense of urgency and threat of loss. Yet, with well more than half of all crowdfunding campaigns failing, it’s clear that urgency and threats aren’t working.

Aside from the obvious arbitrariness of this rule, it ignores the reality faced by entrepreneurs, start-ups and non-profits.

Savvy fundraisers these days do not seek only one funding source. Lack of success on a crowdfunding platform does not mean failure in the long-term, as many start-ups will be concurrently pursuing angel, equity, debt and other revenue opportunities.

The idea that the failure of a crowdfunding campaign dooms the larger project to obscurity is plain dumb. Campaigns that fail at crowdfunding may succeed elsewhere – by getting equity, debt or angel funding, or by succeeding on a different crowdfunding platform. A campaign that meets, say, half its crowdfunding goal but succeeds through other funding routes is still a success. But not if the crowdfunding site withholds the money the campaign raised.

All or nothing is a major problem. It is art of a looming crisis in crowdfunding.

What’s the solution?

Keep reading.

crowdfunding monuments to failure

Most crowdfunding campaigns fail.

There are plenty of reasons for this. Some initiators do not do the legwork to succeed.

Yet there are systemic reasons for this insanely high failure rate.

But get this: Not only do the crowdfunding mega-sites make it hard to succeed, many of them even maintain a sort of showcase of failure, a display or disappointments. For thousands of unsuccessful campaigns, the evidence of their failed campaigns remains on the crowdfunding site, publicly available for anyone to see in perpetuity.

Despite the fact that a project may have succeeded in raising funds on another crowdfunding platform, or through debt, equity or angel funding and moved on to wild success, it will still be immortalized as a failure on many of the crowdfunding mega-sites.

Nobody needs to remind the world of our past failures. Yet many of today’s crowdfunding sites seem determined to rub our faces in past disappointments.

Crowdfunding is still a newish concept. The time is coming when users will start demanding real customer service, better conditions and crowdfunding platforms that have the best interests of the campaigns in mind.

Keep watching this space for more about the problems with contemporary crowdfunding (and a revolutionary solution)!

secrecy and control in crowdfunding data

Privacy and control are big topics these days.

Who owns the vast amount of information about you that grows every day on the internet? Who has the right to see it, control it, edit it and delete it?

We’re all hung up about where our credit card info and personal data goes, and plenty of companies are getting wise and making sure their customers’ concerns are well addressed.

Not so in today’s crowdfunding world. You might think that crowdfunding mega-sites make their money through the commissions they skim off the top of successful campaigns. That’s part of it, for sure. But the long-term business model of most crowdfunding platforms is in the use and re-use of consumer data.

If you launch a crowdfunding campaign, the way it will succeed is by you getting your family and friends to back you. Then, in concentric circles, your campaign expands until it succeeds (or, statistically more likely, fails). Either way, the crowdfunding site you used keeps the data on all the people you encouraged to sign up for your campaign.

In plenty of cases, you can’t contact them directly, you can’t pitch them on stretch goals or tap them for successive campaigns.

You built the network. It’s your community. But the crowdfunding platform owns the data and may or may not let you use it – and then only under strict rules that benefit them and not you.

This is the kind of secrecy and control that consumers have rejected in almost every other industry.

Crowdfunding is fairly new. Most people who launch crowdfunding campaigns are doing so for the first time. We’re all basically newbies at this.

Keep reading this space because solutions are in the pipeline.

QUILs Gamified Crowdfunding

What differentiates BidOkee from other crowdfunding sites is the shared, collective resources that support each crowdfunding campaign.

One of the innovative approaches is the automated generation of leads campaigns gather through the gamified BidOkee system.

When you build your crowdfunding site using BidOkee’s do-it-yourself platform, you can reward your backers with loyalty points that they can use in BidOkee’s central auction hub and etail store. While your site is a standalone, independent crowdfunding campaign, BidOkee’s auction hub is shared by all the backers of all the campaigns using the BidOkee platform. That means you have an opportunity to showcase your product in front of thousands of people who are looking for the coolest, newest thing.

Not only that, but when your auction item is won, you can reach out to the dozens, hundreds or thousands of people who bid unsuccessfully. You can present an incentivized offer that is almost guaranteed to deliver sales. We call these QUILs – qualified unique internet leads – and they are just one of the features that make BidOkee completely unique in the world of crowdfunding.

Through specified algorithms and predictive analytics, BidOkee captures information on more than just active bidders. Predictive analytics discover and assess the most effective metrics to predict acquisition, monetization and potential attrition of backers.

The detailed and comprehensive user data captured by the system allows crowdfunders to narrowcast extremely effective promotions to consumers bidding on ‘your’ or other similar products. Specific user data garnered by the BidOkee system provides opportunities for post-purchase, repeat purchase, cross-selling, up-selling and next-sale incentives. This information is invaluable to crowdfunders, sponsors and advertisers – all of which generates revenue for the crowdfunders.

This is an example of taking traditional business models and marrying them with new types of user interactions via online gamified activities. By identifying objectives and methodology related to the gamification of crowdfunding, we are creating a new paradigm in the industry – the silver bullet that can properly gamify crowdfunding –- allowing for more effective and successful crowdfunding campaigns. And that allows us to share over $100 million annually with our crowdfunding partners.

The revolution is underway but we need your help. We are crowdfunding for crowdfunding. We have built the platform and are now raising the funds to turn it into a do-it-yourself model that anyone can use to launch and run a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The sooner we succeed, the sooner you succeed. Help BidOkee reach our goal and will help you reach yours. Click here for more.

Crowdfunding-Migration-DIY

Birds fly south for the winter. So do people in some cases. But crowdfunding, as we now know it, tends not to encourage migration.

Here’s what we mean: Successful crowdfunding campaigns build networks, usually by engaging the family and friends of initiators, followed by concentric circles outward as word spreads.

When the campaign succeeds, the community that has been built around it tends to disappear.

BidOkee is building a (do-it-yourself) DIY crowdfunding platform that will allow anyone to create their own crowdfunding site, with features and components that exceed anything existing crowdfunding sites offer, including e-commerce and gamified capabilities and other revenue-generation steams.

Central to our vision is independence and freedom. We are liberating crowdfunding – and that means the campaigns have control over the communities they create. Think of it as a cooperative model.

When a campaign completes successfully (or even if it doesn’t) those networks can be encouraged to migrate to another campaign initiated by the same owners, or to stretch goals for the original campaign or … well, anywhere the initiators want their networks to migrate.

In crowdfunding, there is nothing more important than the crowd. When BidOkee launches, crowdfunders will finally be in control of the communities they have built.

That’s freedom. And it is a new way of doing crowdfunding.

BidOkee’s gamified DIY crowdfunding platform is launching a revolution.

We have a prototype. Check it out at www.BidOkee.com! Help make it happen – we need your support.

crowdfunding campaigns

Crowdfunding is still remarkably new and it is changing radically day by day. A lot of crowdfunding campaigns are learning on the job, finding out what works (and, too often, what doesn’t) by trial and error.

It would be ideal if successful campaigns could give a leg up to newbies. And it would be especially valuable if campaigns could support each other through cross-pollination.

BidOkee is making that possible.

We are building a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform that will let anyone build their own crowdfunding site with features and components that exceed anything in the industry today – including multiple revenue streams.

Among the ways BidOkee will help is letting campaigns work together to build cross pollination of their products. For example, because BidOkee incorporates a loyalty rewards system that lets backers earn points to use in contests and live online auctions, there are diverse opportunities to feature products that have been previously successfully crowdfunded. Therefore, a new up-and-coming campaign will offer loyalty rewards points to its backers who will then bid on auctions populated with products from other start-up campaigns. Rather than the auctions offering only familiar consumer products, the goal is to have thousands of backers from thousands of campaigns spending loyalty points purchasing innovative products from start-up campaigns on the BidOkee auction platform. This provides enormous exposure and sales for the new start-ups.

This kind of mutual support is just one of the ways BidOkee is revolutionizing crowdfunding.

Our do-it-yourself gamified crowdfunding platform is going to change the way the world crowdfunds.

We have a prototype. Check it out at www.BidOkee.com! Help make it happen – we need your support.

crowdfunding tips

Published on 

Remember that feeling when you graduated from College? Or that feeling when you got unexpectedly fired? It’s that distinct stomach-dropping “holy shit!”, paired with a hard-hitting wave of “what now?”. It’s also the feeling described by countless founders as their successful crowdfunding campaign comes to a close.

At Celery, we’ve worked in tandem with hundreds of top crowdfunders as they transition into pre-orders and finally shipping. After 2 years, here are the top 5 questions we get asked as campaigns wind-down and sellers enter new, unchartered territory.

1. What Should I Do With My Campaign Page?

As your campaign closes, you need to redirect attention onto your own website. Because the highest ranked search result for your product will be your Kickstarter or Indiegogo page, take advantage of its SEO. Place a powerful call-to-action on your expired campaign page to direct potential buyers to your website, so that you can continue selling your product. Boost your brand and don’t let that residual demand go to waste!

Pro-tip: For your url, use a modifiable link that you can edit in case you need to change domain names (or want to link to a future campaign).

2. How Do I Collect and Handle Missing Backer Info?

In case you didn’t notice, crowdfunding platforms are not designed around shipping physical products. Since the majority of backed projects fall into the art and digital realm, they don’t require shipping or additional information from backers. This means that when backers forget to add shipping costs, or input incorrect addresses, pledge multiple times, change rewards — even write in Chinese — you’re the one left to figure it out.

This is when shit tends to get real…complicated.

Filling in missing information, or even after-the-fact stretch goal selections will likely mean sending out a survey through apps like Google Forms, Survey Monkey, or Typeform. In these surveys, backers can help you fill in the blanks. Otherwise, a developer can build a custom solution, like coupons, that when redeemed in your online store will prompt for the missing info.

Once the data is collected, it will need to be transferred and stored in a serious Excel spreadsheet. Only a real Excel wizard has the data management skills for this one. If you or someone on your team isn’t savvy, you may need to hire someone who is.

Alternatively, BackerKit is a simple, all-encompassing solution. The downside: Using Backerkit means coughing up a small percentage of your total campaign funds plus up to 20% of pre-orders taken through their platform. Although their margin is a tough pill to swallow, they really do a killer job managing backer information, organizing shipping, and will prevent a grey hair (or eight).

3. I’m Scared. How Do I Keep My Backers Happy?

Your backers gave you the gift of bringing your amazing product to life, and they’ll destroy you if you don’t deliver. Just kidding. But they are watching your every move.

While all eyes are on you, it’s beyond important that you communicate with these backers often — weekly — without fail.

When backers hand over their cash, they expect to be answered promptly, told the tales of your production, and updated on just about everything. If you don’t they’ll send pissed-off emails and demand refunds. In fact, it’s not uncommon for backers to threaten to report sellers to Kickstarter, the Better Business Bureau, and even the FBI!

In short, keeping the lines of communication open is the only way to ensure angry mobs of backers won’t barge down your front door, carrying with them pitchforks and fury.

Beyond sending weekly emails to your backers and updating your website and campaign pages regularly, you need to stay on top of individual emails. To remain ahead of the curve, auto-responding to common questions will prove to be a huge time — and life — saver. By setting up intelligent auto-responder emails, and including FAQs in your emails, you’ll not only unclog your inbox, but will keep your backers confident and at bay.

Common FAQs to include in your emails:

When will I receive my product?
I moved. Can I update my address?
Can I change my selection?

4. What Should Be My Benchmark for Pre-Order Sales?

Based on past data from hundreds of crowdfunding alumni, you should expect to generate at least 10% of funds raised in pre-orders within 3 months. This 10% represents those who do not advertise, optimize their checkout, retarget, remarket, nor do virtually anything but set-up a checkout and run-off to Tahiti. Use this metric as a benchmark to judge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts going forward.

Furthermore, paying attention to your conversion funnel, closing leads, tracking metrics, and generating a buzz through advertising, you can capture continued pre-sales that far exceed 10% of your campaign total. Examples of companies who killed their continued pre-orders are ThingCHARGEROneWheelCarbide3D, and SCiO.

5. How Can I Boost My Post-Campaign Sales?

Without a doubt, this is the top question on everyone’s mind. However, there’s no silver bullet to boosting continued pre-order sales — sorry! But, there are undeniable ingredients for success. It’s just up to you to concoct the recipe that works for your product and buyers.

Here’s what we suggest you play around with:

Referrals — Referral Candy and Talkable.

If it sticks with your buyers, an incentivized referral program can boost sales by about 20%.

Abandoned Cart Recovery — Klaviyo.

Reach out to the 70% of customers who will abandon cart without purchasing.

Retargeting — Perfect AudienceAdroll, and ReTargeter.

Retargeting can be hit or miss, but Perfect Audience is an interesting one to check out. It allows you to share audiences with relevant companies. For example, you could target BackerKit’s audience which is likely to be interested in crowdfunded hardware.

Content Discovery — Taboola and Outbrain.

Many projects redistribute PR earned during their campaign to drive sales. No need to reinvent the wheel. Get more people engaging with the content that sells your product best.

Paid Acquisition — Facebook Ads and Adwords.

If you can crack the paid acquisition code and get the economics right, cost-per-click, cost-per-impression, cost-per-mille, cost-per-action, and cost-per-xyz can be a customer acquisition goldmine.

Also, if you’ve got a budget to work with, it’s never a bad idea to get a marketing agency on board or to bring a talented marketer in-house.

The entire crowdfunding journey is a wild one. And although the land beyond the Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign remains largely uncharted, it’s where a lot of the discovery, learning, and behind-the-scenes accomplishment takes place. Join us as we uncover the best tips and practises learned — post-campaign.

crowdfunding marketing

Published February 4th, 2014 – by @trycelery

Crowdfunding Marketing

“It’s not about the money”. This overused line serves as a “trump” card when illustrating unadulterated passion in the face of conflict. It’s also kind of the truth when it comes to a growing primary use case for crowdfunding — marketing.

Marketing as the primary reason for crowdfunding is gaining considerable traction with celebrities, fortune 500 companies, and venture-backed startups alike: those who can’t even pretend to be in financial binds worthy of public contribution.

Celebrities like James Franco, Neil Young, Shaq, Kristen Bell and Zach Braff have each tried their hands at crowdfunding. Pair these Hollywood millionaires with major brands like Dodge, Honda, Kimberly-Clark, DC Entertainment, Phillips, Microsoft, and Coke, and it becomes obvious that marketing isn’t just a side-effect of crowdfunding.

Here are 4 ways brands use crowdfunding to kick-ass at marketing.

1. Get Product Validation (or not)

There’s nothing like a crowd to either validate or stomp the last shred of life out of a new idea. Generating as much product feedback as possible is a key component in creating something people want. As it turns out, crowdfunding is a fairly inexpensive way to quickly reach thousands of potential customers and find out what they really think. Nothing says “great idea!” like backer dollars, and fewer things can spell out “m-e-h” faster than a failed campaign paired with dozens of “I just didn’t get it…” emails.

For innovative marketers, crowdfunding is a modernized focus group with wider spread, more feedback, and a less contrived means for public discussion. It’s a way to test the waters without diving headfirst into building something with shaky demand.

Example: Bonobos Katy Perry Shark Suits

Bonobos is an American apparel designer that wondered if everyone else was as obsessed with Katy Perry’s Super Bowl shark costumes as they were. They took testing the market for ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ one step further by publically capturing demand before even launching a crowdfunding campaign. Taking to Twitter, the designer received 3.7K affirmative retweets that they should launch on Kickstarter.

Bonobos and the shark suits illustrates how even social crowdfunding can be used to capture demand, vamp up support, generate early-stage feedback, and validate what we already know: people loves costumes!

2. Create Brand Advocates

A marketing ‘win’ is when people are talking. Preferably they’re saying good things, but even that’s up for debate. In today’s realm, it’s not easy to cut through the clutter, and even harder to make an impact that’ll encourage brand advocacy. Creativity, uniqueness, and story matter more than ever: all things a well-executed crowdfunding campaign brings forth effortlessly.

Crowdfunding allows customers to become apart of the plot-line. Instead of passively consuming online advertisements or watching a television commercial, crowdfunding as marketing encourages activity and revolves around engagement. Closely resembling guerrilla marketing, seemingly intangible brands cross into unchartered public territory, becoming humanized in their vulnerability. Giving consumers the opportunity to experience brands actively, on their own terms, forges a connection that’s truly worth talking about.

Example: Dodge Dart

In 2013, Dodge Dart introduced a clever marketing ploy where customers could crowdfund their new car. The commercial announced, “Dad sponsors the engine for your birthday. Grandma sponsors the rims for your graduation.” Those registered would invite their family and friends to “sponsor” parts of the car within their selected timeframe, hoping that by the end of their “campaign” the car is paid for.

The campaign changed the way individuals and even communities thought about buying cars. The process became public, shareable, and in some cases, cause-driven, with groups banding together to purchase a vehicle for nonprofit programs and outreach. With over 1 million social shares, the campaign generated thousands of leads to remarket to, and according to Richard Swart, Berkeley’s crowdfunding professor (yes, Berkeley has crowdfunding courses), the Dodge Dart “saw sales more than double the following quarter.”

3. Have Greater Exposure

Crowdfunding and its success stories make the news. When this exposure is harnessed, it can give products and projects the final nudge they need to cross into ‘viral’ territory. Using crowdfunding to propel exposure in unique product campaigns is commonplace, and is even becoming a popular means for marketers and musicians alike to reach the ‘next level’.

In 2015 7 Grammy-nominated musicians were Kickstarter alum. Among them is American singer, Antonique Smith, who played Faith Evans in the biopic “Notorious”. She used her 2012 $50K Kickstarter funding to promote and market her finished debut album, and soon after gained public recognition. This year, she was nominated for a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance.

Example: TLC

The all-girl trio TLC, famous for “Waterfalls” and “No Scrubs”, has had four platinum albums and won four Grammy awards. Despite this great success, the group turned to Kickstarter to get rolling on a new album, 23 years after their debut.

It’s unlikely the group was cash-strapped, but rather wanted a marketing edge to make their fifth album notable and most of all, relevant. Involving fans in the process was a strong marketing play, resulting in national and international coverage, plus a 14.5% increase in total Twitter followers.

Do you think TLC could have created this same buzz through traditional marketing and PR?

4. Become a Beloved Brand (it’s possible, really)

Crowdfunding as a storytelling tool cuts through noise, and connotes innovation, virality and a certain edginess. When properly harnessed, even big brands like Honda and Coke can break down a corporate wall (or two), and appeal to smaller communities and causes. Honda did this with their Indiegogo “Project Drive-in” crowdfunding campaign to save American drive-in theatres, and Coke with their campaign to crowdfund cleaner water in rural Mexico.

Crowdfunding allows for companies both small and large, to tell different stories, in an alternative way, and change the way their messaging is received.

Example: Newcastle

Newcastle Brown Ale knew what they were up against when it came to locking down a $4.5M 30-second advertisement spot during this year’s Super Bowl. Unwilling to blow their yearly marketing budget, the company spearheaded the “Band of Brands” to crowdfund the cost of the ad spot. For an estimated average of between $150–250K, 37 contributors appeared in one hodgepodge Super Bowl advertisement.

This brilliant crowdfund became one of this year’s most talked about Super Bowl ads. It also secured the beer brand’s role as one of America’s most beloved archetypes: the successful underdog. The “band of brands” showed the world how fun Newcastle is, and highlighted them as a relatable, creative force to be reckoned with.

The best part? It cost Newcastle a fraction of the $9.5M Busch spent on their flopped ‘anti-craft beer’ ad.


Crowdfunding as marketing can snowball exposure and network products to the power of 10. The transparency, call for action, and real-time story creation of a crowdfunding campaign is something that is unparalleled in today’s marketing realm. Although inviting customers along for the ride may be unpredictable, the reward is marketing that feels genuine, memorable, and two-sided — something close to human.

crowdfunding for data

Published January 6th, 2015 by Anthony Quartararo

Crowdfunding for Data

At the end of 2014 (December 30), I sent out a series of tweets that tried to encapsulate my thoughts around an idea for a business model I’ve had for over a decade. It’s a combination of the Kickstarter phenomenon with prescribed crowdsourcing, potential benefits to the OpenStreetMap community, and most certainly, less-developed environments around the world that would like geospatial data but to-date, have none (or very little). This would be decidedly different from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMapMapGive, or MissingMaps efforts. Those all have a vision, mission and vital role, respectively.

The concept I was tweeting about would be a platform dedicated to funding and building geospatial capacity (yes, technology, training & GIS data) for host entities (typically local governments) in less-developed countries. The administrative unit is irrelevant, so it could be a village, town, city, county, province, or entire country perhaps. The mechanics would work something like this, and I will just use an example to avoid abstracting too much.

The mayor of a small city (population 25,000) in West Africa has no digital map data. The mayor is convinced that GIS data can enable better governance and provide untapped potential for socioeconomic growth and an increase in the qualify of life for consituents of the small city.

The mayor initiates a campaign on the website (not Kickstarter, but similar) and builds a case for why people should contribute funds, sets a minimum amount needed, and makes the pitch for how the data would be put to use, what the Government’s policy is on data transparency, open data, privacy, or whatever the mayor is or isn’t willing to commit to publicly as part of the campaign. This is a fundamental difference and shift from most, if not all, other crowdsourcing / crowdfunding efforts in the geospatial area, and its an important difference. The mayor gets to decide what’s best for the city, not the crowd that is funding. There may be local laws, national laws, or other restrictions that prevent the mayor (in this scenario) from making the data 100% open when completed, or even partially open. This is ok. It has to be ok. Furthermore, the type and kind of data that the mayor wants and needs to achieve the governance and economic growth goals may never be acceptable as “open data” in any circumstance, not even in the United States. This concept relies fully on the notion that the local community knows best how to solve their own problems, but lacks initial resources (data, knowledge, technology) to get that done.

The platform would have tiered reporting requirements for the mayor. That is, if the campaign is to raise $50,000, then there may be one set of reporting and transparency requirements that the mayor would have to agree to if successful in reaching that funding goal. If the objective is $1,000,000, then there would likely need to be a very different, much more robust set of reporting requirements. Allowing even for phased implementations, so that the total funding is not at risk, but “buckets” of money are tied to success milestones that can be reported on and verified (by an independent, 3rd party — more on that later). This makes sense, even logistically and pragmatically for nearly all mapping and GIS projects, all the money is not needed on Day 1. The campaign would likely need to identify what money or what percentage would be spent on what activities or which type of data (ie. 20% on training for approximately 50 people, or 50% on labor for field data collection, or 15% on hardware & software). These are important metrics for both the mayor to live up to, as well as the donor or crowdfunding community to ensure that the money they collectively donate is going toward legitimate efforts with measurable results.

Now, presuming the campaign reaches the minimum funding threshold to be successful (again, could be a first phase of many in reality), the funds would ideally be put in temporary escrow. The reason for this is simple: the process isn’t done.

As part of the platform, in the background, and not part of the crowdfunding community, would be an “Angie’s List” type catalog of vendors and service providers for the geospatial industry. Everyone would be welcome, from sole proprietors to industry giants. Everyone would have a profile page, reputation ranking, previous engagement reviews & comments from past performances within the context of the platform (no one would really care how many users or customers a vendor or provider has worldwide outside of this platform, it’s irrelevant and counterproductive). Members of this vendor community would be entitled to “bid” or more likely, participate in a reverse auction (that is, offer successively lower bids until a winner emerges after the time period expires for the auction). The point of this is to engage the most qualified service providers and vendors capable of performing parts (probably not “all”) of the work required for the mayor, and maximize the value of the funding for the mayor and the crowd that funded the campaign.

The mayor would then need to make a selection based on information provided by the service provider or vendor in the profile + the first winning “bid”. The mayor wouldn’t be obligated to contract with the lowest bidder, even if that is the preference. As in any contracting process, there can be insurmountable gaps in terms, conditions, or other aspects of law that make the match untenable and the mayor needs flexibility to move on quickly to the next lowest bidder, for example. The funding community (for the mayor’s campaign) would have insight into the roster of vendor(s) the mayor has selected. Each vendor that gets an award (piece of the funding pie) would be required to comply with certain reporting and transparency conditions, both for the sake of the mayor and the funders. Things like project completion status, funds spent to-date, delays, objective hazards to success, etc. — basically a rolling SWOT analysis on some frequency over the course of their project contribution, all online in full view of the community involved.

Once the service providers are selected and under contract with the mayor, then the relevant campaign funds can be released from escrow to the mayor in order to execute the effort (for the phase, stage or entirety of the project).

Some readers may already be naysaying and asking “How would crowd funders know the mayor won’t just take the money and run away?” The answer is, they don’t know with 100% certainty. Kickstarter makes this very explicit as well, and it’s largely up to the funder to determine tolerance for risk and whether or not the mayor is credible, has integrity and can be entrusted with funds and given the benefit of the doubt. The mayor would have to be real, be convincing, and make a compelling argument for why the campaign has merit and the crowdfunding community would have to vote with dollars (or not) based on the merits available.

In typical crowdfunding efforts, the individuals donating various sums of cash would be reasonable in expecting something in return (a coffee mug, a t-shirt, hat, plaque, and so forth). The rub, and potential “kiss of death” for this idea of mine, is that I haven’t come up with a suitable analog for the mayor to “give back” to the funders, outside of the standard “I helped Mayor X make maps” t-shirt gimmick. Maybe that’s sufficient. My gut tells me that every penny of the campaign funds should and would be needed by the mayor to get the effort completed (and likely even every penny would still fall short — that’s how it goes in the geospatial world). So, would a crowdfunding community be “ok” with and contribute to this effort knowing that their only return on investment is in the satisfaction of knowing they’ve done something noble and worthwhile, in true altruistic fashion, for a community that they (the funders) may never see firsthand? I’m too old to be blindly idealistic, but I do think there is a segment of the community that would indeed, “pay it forward” in this manner.

The ROI isn’t instantaneous — having land ownership mapped for every plot of land so that the mayor can accurately and efficiently collect taxes and land can be bought and sold, legally, with title history, does not yield immediate results once the mayor has spent all the campaign funds and puts all the data into a live, production environment. That may be difficult for some funders — especially those with nanosecond attention spans. Perhaps this is why I haven’t built out this crowdfunding platform. I figured out how I could make money to grow and expand it, but I was never convinced to the point of action, that the community would seize the opportunity and make it work for the tens of thousands of “mayors” around the world trying to govern without the data they need to be truly effective for their communities.

Maybe publishing this will prompt someone smarter, more resourceful, more energetic or with more charisma to figure the last part out and make it so, or put the final nail in the coffin and I can let it go.

BidOkee's DIY Crowdfunding Site

In today’s world, especially because of Millennials who are behind many of the one million start-ups each year, customer and user empowerment is shaping entire industries. The technology revolution is about empowering the individual to take control of their environment.

Mobile technology provides instantaneous freedom that empowers the individual – such as our smartphones and tablets, which are replacing desktops and laptops and which may one day themselves be replaced by wearable gadgets.

The advent of social media has transformed media altogether, providing an immediate outlet to millions of people to create success stories overnight or, on the other hand, ravaging people and companies just as quickly. The power of instantaneous communities is shaping politics and creating revolutions.

And this has created a do-it-yourself (DIY) culture that is expected and demanded by a generation that is liberated by technology. DIY is now mainstream and has turned the table on big corporations. Rather than being spoon-fed by advertisers telling us what we should think, this generation of savvy technology users is telling corporations what they want and expect. Corporations are getting their marching orders from the masses via social media and app connectivity. The DIY culture expects equity, fair play, transparency and control over their circumstances. They want to know that information collected on them will benefit them, not just the company. They want to know that the social currency they provide a company will benefit them too.

Part of the DIY culture is the sharing of things, especially as the world becomes smaller via social media. As a result, a collaborative environment – or cooperative model – is emerging on the internet where people are empowered individually and as a result are sharing collectively. The more empowered people feel, the more they wish to share and help others.

And as the DIY culture continues to emerge, individuals are looking for more customization that will meet their personal goals, yet still allow them to participate collectively. That means they want to be self-empowered, with the ability to control (and monetize) their own information or to use it to benefit others.

There is a collision imminent between these expectations and the way crowdfunding is operating today.

It may seem obvious, but your crowdfunding site and the community you build on it should stay in your hands.

And yet, in almost every case, the crowdfunding mega-sites maintain ownership over your site and the information about the people who come to it. This goes against the emerging DIY collective culture that is driving people to build their own websites, fix things around the house with help from the local building centre and the overall do-it-yourself attitude.

BidOkee has a different way of doing things.

BidOkee is building a gamified DIY crowdfunding platform that will allow anyone to build — and own — their own crowdfunding site.

The content is yours. The web address is yours. The branding is yours. It’s all yours.

It’s a wonder nobody thought of it before.

When you own your own crowdfunding site, you can mobilize your network for stretch goals or subsequent campaigns. When you have successfully reached your goals, you can mobilize your networks again in support of other campaigns you love. Owning your own crowdfunding campaign site just makes sense.

BidOkee is making it a reality.

We need you to make BidOkee a reality. Please support BidOkee’s crowdfunding for crowdfunding campaign and check out the amazing rewards you can get, including subscriptions when we launch that will help you reach your goals quickly.

crowdfunding-canada

Virgin Startup signIs this the start of a new trend – or even a new phase – in crowdfunding? Might it be another step in rewards crowdfunding ‘coming of age’ in the UK? It’s certainly getting noticed as the route of choice to seed a startup.
In a an interesting move Crowdfunder UK has hooked up with Virgin Startups – who worked with the UK government to create it’s flagship ‘Startup Loans’ scheme – is to offer loans to those who raise funds on their rewards-crowdfunding platform.
The logic is that ‘it’s about validation of the idea” in the belief that ideas ‘that are successfully crowdfunded are likely to be viable businesses” and “therefore more suited for one of [Virgin Startup’s] start-up loans”. Which, they say “is good news for anyone in need of help turning their idea into reality”. Which rather makes it sound like an option for anyone who has successfully raised a crowdfund.
Richard BransonCertainly a venture which has managed to create a product or proposition and persuade enough people to part with some cash in order to raise the money needed to make it a reality has gone a very long way to proving that a market exists – and that they can reach it. That’s a key part of the power of rewards crowdfunding. It does not however make the venture, at that early stage (which now has the money it needs to progress and prove itself) necessarily a good candidate for a startup, or any other kind of, loan.
Virgin Group Founder, Sir Richard Branson, is quoted as saying, “The great thing about being an entrepreneur today is the vast array of funding options available. The partnership between Crowdfunder and Virgin StartUp is a unique way for entrepreneurs to secure funding and receive the support and information they need to get their business ideas off the ground.” However – it’s unlikely to remain unique for long as undoubtedly it will be, cloned by others.
CrowdfunderIn fact unless and until there are revenues available to service such a loan, or at least they are clearly in sight or there’s some other means of servicing the debt, it’s really not advisable for such a startup to be taking on such a burden. By their nature very few such seed-stage businesses have reliable revenues, a steady income, to support borrowing. Which is why crowdfunding is such a great alternative in the first place.
jess rattyI’m sure that both Crowdfunder and Virgin Startup Loans are reputable companies with good intentions – and it’s reassuring to hear that the amount of such loan offers will be set by the Virgin Startup team. Crowdfunder’s communications manager  Jessica Ratty, kindly also confirmed “It’s not automatic and project owners will be undergoing an application process with Virgin Startup. Crowdfunding will be “assisting with eligibility” for loans.
But it would be a mistake to leave the impression that loan availability may be triggered by a successful raise because if this were the case it would be dangerous, and otherwise misleading.
 
Equity vs DebtOf course not every crowdfunder will want or apply for a loan – but neither should they be under any commercial or other pressure to take one. Especially at a moment of euphoria having just achieved their goal and, quite understandably, feeling on top of the world.
Handled well this combination could help a minority of crowdfunded entrepreneurs further accelerate their ventures.
But this approach is likely to be copied and in other hands however this would undoubtedly pose a real danger to some over-exuberant entrepreneurs unused to such success and tempted to take and spend a loan they think they can repay in the moments of exuberance but which could prove the undoing of their venture in the medium or longer term.
Crowdfunding has proved to be a very effective antidote to the effects of irresponsible lending. It would be a very great pity if, at a time when it’s won it’s spurs and is making great inroads, in an attempt to ‘gild the lily’, it not only marred that record but led to more irresponsible lending, with all the misery that can entail. If this combination is copied elsewhere it is vital that this is done responsibly.

barry-jamesBarry James is the co-founder of TheCrowdfundingCentre and the Social Foundation. Founded in 2012, the organization was created to further research, education and policy initiatives into the new, post-crash economy and “Crowdnomics”. James also created “Crowdfunding: Deep Impact”, the UK’s first national conference held in February 2013 which led to the influential Westminister Crowdfunding Forum. James is a frequent speaker on crowdfunding, entrepreneurship and innovation. He has recently created CrowdPowerTools.
Cartoon Crowd Links, Layered System Close-Up

Published: Apr 20, 2015 | Marc Prosser | Forbes

Why Small Businesses Are Not Yet Embracing P2P Lending and Crowdfunding

If you read business news, you might think that crowdfunding and peer2peer lending are very popular sources of business financing just by the volume of media coverage that they get. But P2P and crowdfunding platforms are relatively new to the lending space and make up a tiny fraction of business loans. Here, we explain how popular P2P loans and crowdfunding are compared to other sources of financing and why small businesses still haven’t warmed up that much to them.

Peer2Peer & Crowdfunding Lending In The Overall Loan Market

Peer2Peer lenders bring investors and borrowers together in an online platform. Borrowers say how much they need to borrow and provide some basic business information, and individual investors decide whether to fund the loan. P2P loans are like ordinary loans–they carry an interest rate and must be paid back within a certain time. Popular P2P lenders include Lending Club and Prosper.

While Peer2Peer lending is generally for established businesses, crowdfunding is more for startups. Early stage businesses can pitch an idea, and ordinary people as well as wealthy investors (sometimes hundreds) can donate small amounts of money to the project. In exchange, the business owner offers donors some small incentive (e.g. free t-shirt with the company logo) or a larger benefit (e.g. equity in the company). Kickstarter and Circle Up are popular crowdfunding companies.

While these are certainly innovative ways for businesses to raise money, the great majority of small businesses don’t use P2P lending or crowdfunding. In a survey conducted by Manta, only 2 percent of small business owners reported using crowdfunding. Another poll from Gallup-Wells Fargo found that just 3 percent of small businesses used crowdfunding.

CITVoice

Why Don’t More Small Businesses Use P2P Lending and Crowdfunding?

  • They’re hard to qualify for

Even though crowdfunding sites market themselves as being a go-to source of funding for startups, in reality only a few startup ideas are crowdfunded. CircleUp rejects 98 percent of startup applicants because they wouldn’t provide a good return on investment for investors. Another Crowdfunding site rejects “idea stage” companies and prefers more serious businesses.

If you are an existing business, Peer2Peer lenders can also be difficult to qualify for. Peer2Peer lenders require you to have a good credit score (600 or higher), and you should be in operation for at least 2 years.

Alternative lenders, like OnDeck, are actually easier to qualify for because they have lower credit score requirements (above 500), and you only have to be in business for 1 year.

  • Peer2Peer lending can be costly

Even though it may be the most innovative source of funding, Peer2Peer lending is definitely not the most affordable. APRs for one popular Peer2Peer company, Lending Club, range from 14 % to 19 %. This is cheaper than alternative short-term lenders, but banks and SBA loans are significantly cheaper. Granted, banks take a lot longer to issue loans that Peer2Peer sites, but if you can wait and you can qualify for a traditional bank loan or an SBA loan, that will be the less expensive option.

  • Technology

In the Manta survey, many small businesses said that they didn’t use crowdfunding because they didn’t understand the technology or didn’t trust the service being provided. While this may certainly be stopping some small businesses from using crowdfunding or P2P lending, these sites actually aren’t difficult to use. Any business owner can create an account on Lending Club or Kickstarter and pitch their business idea or seek out a loan. I think the distrust stems from a lack of knowledge that crowdfunding and P2P lenders should address by doing a better job of reaching out to the small business community.

  • Too many cooks?

One last reason why small businesses might not be successfully using crowdfunding or P2P lending is because famous ideas are crowding out the little guys. For example, director Spike Lee and actor Zach Braff have used Kickstarter to raise funds for their films! Some people believe this is fine because investors have the right to choose which project to support with their money, regardless of who is leading the project. On the other hand, some people argue that this destroys Kickstarter’s stated mission of bringing visibility to projects that otherwise wouldn’t get off the ground.

Conclusion

Crowdfunding and Peer2Peer lending have the potential to revolutionize the lending space if more businesses catch on to the trend. However, as of now, it still makes up a very small slice of the small business loan pie.

Crowdfunding-Pay-it-Forward-DIY

When your crowdfunding campaign succeeds, it will be because of the network of concentric circles you built around your friends and family, stretching out to people who may not know you but who are inspired by your idea.

When your campaign ends, your community doesn’t have to.

At the beginning of crowdfunding, when there were far fewer campaigns, there was a possibility of being “discovered.” Even then, having existing social capital – networks that can be mobilized through online sharing – was crucial to success. Now it is one of the only avenues through which campaigns can succeed (unless it is one of the rare campaigns to receive national media attention). As “discoverability” has ceased to be something the mega-sites can offer, their only value now is as a medium, as a platform, even with all their associated faults.

Today, social networks are considered tangible valuable assets, and these assets are denied by mega-sites to the majority of crowdfunding campaigns.

The BidOkee DIY model leaves this network asset information in the hands of proponents, allowing successive rounds of fundraising, stretch goals and on-going revenue. This model permits and encourages the nurturing of the crowd – the networks built and sustained by the campaign initiators – as an on-going asset and community. This is the least that should be expected in a customer service-driven culture. Yet it is fundamental to the crowdfunding mega-sites that this crucial data be withheld from the campaigns and exploited by the mega-sites. This is not sustainable and proponents will soon be demanding fairness on this front.

BidOkee’s DIY model is tailored to precisely address this pain point and help campaigns build concentric circles of community networks. Our model is social@thecore, tangibly rewarding backers for sharing with their networks through a four-generation referral system and building communities that can later be mobilized for campaigns initiated by backers themselves. It is a sort of open-source crowdfunding with a pay-it-forward mentality of crowdfunders helping other crowdfunders.

The pay-it-forward philosophy of BidOkee is about a collective community assisting each other with resources to advance each campaign so that the over 60% of failed campaigns within the industry can become a majority of successful campaigns.

We all know that the crowdfunding industry is growing, with over a million projects launched annually. And now the big consumer and retail companies are getting in the game. Therefore, it is becoming more remote for a grassroots crowdfunding campaign to succeed – unless a new model of cooperation is created that allows successful campaigns to help new campaigns launch.

We know that getting a crowdfunding campaign off the ground can be hard work. Nobody knows that better than people who have successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign. So, when your campaign ends, BidOkee lets you pay it forward by mobilizing your network of supporters to move to another campaign you love.

It could be your campaign. It could be a friend’s campaign. It could just be a campaign for a product you think is cool. It’s totally up to you.

That’s revolutionary. On crowdfunding mega-sites, when you’re campaign ends, your network of supporters disappears. Not on BidOkee.

BidOkee is a building cooperative model of crowdfunding. We are building a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform that lets anyone build and run a successful crowdfunding campaign with built in mechanisms for successful sharing, collaboration and cooperative use of resources. And that is why BidOkee is set up to hare over $100 million in revenue with our crowdfunding clients annually.

Our cooperative model lets you share your success with others by paying it forward.

First, though, we want you to help us succeed so we can help you succeed.

BidOkee is crowdfunding for crowdfunding. We have built the platform and are now raising capital to turn this revolutionary tool into a do-it-yourself crowdfunding site that lets anyone build and launch a successful crowdfunding campaign.

If you help us meet our goals, we’ll help you meet your goals. That’s the pay it forward model driving the BidOkee project.

Crowdfunding-Cooperative-DIY

The future of crowdfunding will be powered by a cooperative DIY SaaS system model that resolves numerous pain points in the crowdfunding industry.

BidOkee provides the freedom to develop stand-alone, branded, customizable DIY crowdfunding sites that integrate seamlessly with ecommerce and etail platforms, and incorporate loyalty programs, gamified features and a revenue sharing model.

Vancouver-based Quilageo Inc. has launched a prototype version of the world’s first gamified crowdfunding platform called BidOkee.

Scott Steinberg, author of The Crowdfunding Bible, featured BidOkee on NewsWatch TV. As Scott declares, “this could change crowdfunding as we know it.”

“There is massive proliferation of crowdfunding sites,” says Eyal Lichtmann, CEO of Quilageo. “There are over 450 crowdfunding platforms worldwide and hundreds of thousands of campaigns launched annually.”

Crowdfunding is growing massively, 1,000% in the last five years. Of this growth, donation-based crowdfunding comprises the majority of giving, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 444% compared to equity crowdfunding, which is growing at a rate of 168 percent. By 2020, crowdfunding is expected to reach $500 billion in funding per year generating $3.2 trillion in economic value.

“However, a majority of crowdfunding campaigns fail,” says Lichtmann. “An astonishing 81% of unsuccessful projects fail to reach 20% of their funding goal. And nearly 60% of all crowdfunding projects are unsuccessful. There is a systemic problem in crowdfunding if a majority of campaigns are continuously failing. Therefore, there is a need for a new model in crowdfunding – one that provides a greater chance of success and changes the paradigm to a more cooperative model.”

BidOkee’s objective is to crowdfund for crowdfunding. They are raising funds through their prototype site to build an easy-to-use, do-it-yourself, “DIY” crowdfunding SaaS model platform with additional features and none of the limitations, barriers or commissions that define existing crowdfunding mega-sites. It’s the user’s brand, their site, their design, their campaign, and their network. The features don’t just stop there.

“The platform we are in the process of building includes gamification, which drives loyalty and engagement” says Lichtmann. “Campaign backers can enter contests and bid on real, valuable products in live online auctions.”

BidOkee intends to provide opportunities for campaigns to promote and sell their products in the auctions, in contests or through direct purchase opportunities where thousands of backers from thousands of campaigns will utilize their loyalty points to further the success of start-up ventures.3 Industries

BidOkee will also be providing start-up campaigns access to shared revenue beyond donations. The model looks to share revenue generated from general product sales, advertising, sponsorships, virtual revenue and market lead revenue streams. This will equate to millions of dollar’s worth of shared revenue with campaigners annually and can grow significantly, contingent on the number of active campaigns and users of the site.To ensure a greater chance of success, BidOkee looks to provide a pay-it-forward philosophy so campaigners can assist each other with the ability to share best practices and cross-pollinate users between campaigns.

As Darryl Burma, CEO of Crowdmapped.com says, “BidOkee will definitely disrupt the industry. It is doing something we have not seen before and is a game-changer.”

“The more we share our story, the more excited people get” says Lichtmann. “All we need now is for the start-up community to support our ideas so that we can finalize building the BidOkee DIY crowdfunding platform for their use.”

Crowdfunding-Gamified-DIY

Gamification is the application of game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve goals.

BidOkee provides all of the same benefits of other crowdfunding sites with the addition of loyalty rewards that can be used in a gamified process for the acquisition of real-world goods.

A highly sophisticated and robust auction and ecommerce platform and contest generator is built in to the BidOkee gamified crowdfunding model, allowing campaigns to integrate cool rewards into their site. Through the etail, gamification and loyalty rewards components, BidOkee is able to structure a revenue-sharing model with campaigns. Through advertising, sponsorships, product sales, affiliate offers and the sale of virtual gamified components, BidOkee aims by year five to be providing in excess of $100 million dollars in shared revenue with start-up companies. It is sort of like a cooperative model.

That’s something you don’t see every day.

BidOkee is building a new model for DIY gamified crowdfunding. It’s a revolution.

We have a prototype. Check it out at www.BidOkee.com! Help make it happen – we need your support.

Crowdfunding-SocialCurrency-DIY

BidOkee is revolutionizing crowdfunding.

We are building a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform to let anyone create their own, stand-alone, customized crowdfunding site.

And we’re building in gamification, e-commerce and multiple revenue streams beyond direct pledges to share with each campaign. Our goal is to be sharing $100 million annually with our campaigners. It is sort of like a cooperative model.

One of the ways we are fomenting revolution is through the building of network value and social currency.

In traditional crowdfunding, backers are only as good as their wallets. BidOkee wants to open crowdfunding up to everyone. To do this, we have created a “give or get” DIY crowdfunding model. Backers can pledge their own money or get friends to do so.

If backers have thousands of followers on Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, Twitter or YouTube, they are influencers and provide a network value – and should be rewarded for it.

In today’s world, a user’s network is a valuable asset. But is rarely treated as such by crowdfunding platforms. Traditional crowdfunding campaigns do not reward users for their influence or network value.

BidOkee builds social currency through rewards and social functionality components that benefit and reward each user, which in turn benefits each DIY campaign. As BidOkee’s social currency increases, so does the status and influence of its users (similar to why people do not delete their Facebook accounts). This will provide significance to what users place on their BidOkee accounts and allow for high retention, acquisition and redemption rates on the BidOkee platform.

BidOkee is ready to make big waves in the DIY crowdfunding ocean.

We have a prototype. Check it out at www.BidOkee.com! Help make it happen – we need your support.

Crowdfunding-Competition-DIY

It’s been a wild ride so far. Here is the story of how we got here.

When we went looking for a crowdfunding platform for our revolutionary project, we were brutally disappointed. We ran into one brick wall after another trying to find the right combination of tools without too many restrictive rules.

In the end, to find exactly what we needed, we had to build it ourselves. In the process, we had an epiphany. If we had to build our own crowdfunding platform in order to get what we need, there must be plenty of others in the same boat.

The vast majority of crowdfunding campaigns fail to reach their goals. We believe part of the problem is systemic. Any craftsperson knows that to get the right results you need the right tools.

As we progressed through the sometimes-daunting process of building the crowdfunding platform to meet our specific needs, we slowly came to understand that what we were building had unlimited potential.

To make a long story short, we are now building a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform so that no one will ever have to go through the challenges we have overcome.

The beta version of our platform is now live at www.BidOkee.com. You can try it out, see how it works and pledge to help us turn this unprecedented gamified crowdfunding platform into a do-it-yourself (DIY) tool for anyone to build their own easy-to-use, drag-and-drop, technologically sophisticated crowdfunding tool that anyone can use to build exactly the campaign they need to succeed. Fully customizable, brandable, flexible, with plenty of optional features to tailor the site to deliver success. Our platform will be an affordable, flat-rate subscription model so you don’t have to share a percentage of your raise.

In addition to ease-of-use and flexibility, our DIY crowdfunding platform will provide a multitude of revenue-generation points so that campaigns can raise funds the traditional crowdfunding way or through a whole range of alternative revenue streams.

More than this, the platform will offer components and features previously unknown on any crowdfunding site. Our gamification aspects reward backers with points they can use to buy real stuff or bid on valuable prizes in a live online auction. The rewards are an important part of our platform’s stickiness and virality.

Some of the greatest inventions and discoveries in human history have come when people were looking for something else.

BidOkee is proud to join this illustrious club. We hope you’ll join us.

Crowdfunding-8Problems-DIY

Crowdfunding is growing massively – over 1,000% in just five years.
Like a lot of new industries, though, crowdfunding faces a do-or-die moment.

There are inherent challenges in crowdfunding as it exists today that probably hold the seeds of failure for the entire model. Like the promising software programs and platforms of a decade or two ago, the crowdfunding mega-sites of today may be destined to be mere memories tomorrow.

Here’s why, in eight simple numbers.

Lack of flexibility
Crowdfunding mega-sites are take-it-or-leave-it, one-size-fits-all cookie cutters.

Time limits
Arbitrary time limits are among the main reasons why more than half of all crowdfunding campaigns fail.

All or nothing
Raise your entire goal amount of get nothing. Another arbitrary rule that contributes to failure, not success.

Monuments to failure
Want your unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign to remain online forever as a monument to failure? Well, that’s one way the crowdfunding mega-sites are willing to oblige you.

Secrecy and control
Crowdfunding sites maintain control of the user data for the networks and community you build.

Acceptance barriers
After you’ve investigated the hundreds of different types of crowdfunding platforms out there to find the one that best suits you, you can ask politely to join. The answer is often no.

Inherent competition
Want your campaign to be viewed right next to hundreds of featured competing projects? Crowdfunding mega-sites seem perfectly built to undermine your success by putting you up against hundreds or thousands of other projects.

Lack of features
Want to tweak your campaign site? You can’t. Want ecommerce features, cool tools, loyalty rewards or anything fun? Forget it. You’ll take what the crowdfunding sites offer and you’ll like it.

Until something better comes along, these are the eight main problems that define crowdfunding today.

Hoping for something better?

 

Crowdfunding-CSR-DIY

Corporate social responsibility is a new bottom line.

Especially for younger consumers, supporting businesses that do good in the world is a priority.

When BidOkee is completed, it will integrate CSR opportunities and charitable giving seamlessly into the design of our platform. Campaigns can offer backers the opportunity to allocate a percentage of their pledges to charities – BidOkee’s structure allows a single featured charity, a choice among several causes, or even a contest in which backers can vote for the charities they want the community to support. This can be a winner-take-all vote or the funds can be distributed based on proportion of votes received.

The benefits are numerous.

The CSR component helps great causes, obviously.

It also makes a proud statement by the campaign about what issues and causes are important to them.

And it is especially effective as an engagement and virality tool, encouraging backers to spread the word through their networks to build support for their chosen charity.

This is just one of many amazing components BidOkee will make available to crowdfunding campaigns when we launch our unprecedented do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform.

We have a prototype. Check it out at www.BidOkee.com! Help make it happen – we need your support.

crowdfunding-for-big-brands

MarketingProfs | Richard Swart | Sep 19, 2014

When UC Berkeley decided to offer its executive education course on corporate crowdfunding, some faculty members wondered what relevance crowdfunding had to major brands. Especially because the original intent of crowdfunding was to help struggling small businesses—not billion-dollar brands.

However, many companies are starting to realize that crowdfunding represents a unique marketing opportunity for forwarding-thinking companies to dramatically strengthen consumer ties with their brand. Crowdfunding can also be used to drive innovation, and it is the newest (and probably most effective) form of crowdsourced product innovation.

Crowdfunding is the collection of finance from backers (the “crowd”) to fund an initiative, and it usually occurs on Internet platforms.

Since emerging in 2008, crowdfunding has become a multibillion-dollar global industry with thousands of platforms offering funding opportunities to entrepreneurs, community organizations, and lately major corporations, such as Dodge, Honda, Coca-Cola, American Express, and DC Comics.

Corporations with access to debt and securities markets don’t need to use crowdfunding to finance operations for growth capital. However, what smart CMOs and CEOs have realized is that crowdfunding does a remarkably effective job in helping to drive marketing initiatives to existing customers and acquiring new customers. 

Forget the hypothetical value of a social media mention, such as a Facebook like.

When you can get a customer or social follower to contribute cash to a corporate-sponsored campaign, you have the deepest form of social media engagement possible.

What Strategic Corporate Crowdfunding Looks Like

The first model of strategic corporate crowdfunding is not to create an opportunity for customers to finance the purchase of your product for themselves but usually for a social cause or community organization.

Dodge did a fantastic job with its DodgeDartRegisty.com campaign. (check out Video)

The registry allowed customers to have backers fund parts of the car. For example, a customer’s aunt could buy the steering wheel.

The magic of this model was revealed when community organizations started trying to fund the purchase of Dodge Darts to deliver food to the homeless and to provide access to transportation in women’s shelters. The campaign then went viral with more than 1,000,000 social media impressions.

Though fewer than 40 cars were purchased directly, the company engaged and mined data from tens of thousands of potential new customers and saw sales more than double the following quarter.

Video:  NCFA interview with Richard Swart, UC Berkeley Directory Crowdfunding Research, on Global Crowdfunding

Dell used a similar logic by having customers fund the purchase of a laptop for first-generation, low-income college students.

The second model of strategic corporate crowdfunding is to use crowdfunding campaigns for community projects for entrepreneurs whose missions align with the company.

Honda used a campaign on Indiegogo.com to raise funds to save the American drive-in theater. This marketing strategy is about social engagement and brand positioning.

Kimberly-Clark uses a hybrid model with its Huggies MomInspired campaign. The company provided grants to moms to develop innovative products for children. What Kimberly-Clark created is an external R&D laboratory, which led to significant opportunities for revenue increase.

Huggies now learns from its customers—without focus groups or formal market research. Its cost per social impression is 40% lower than other forms of marketing, and the company has not had a single negative social comment.

Continue to the full article –> here

 

Crowdfunding-NewsWatch-DIY

BidOkee – Cooperative Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is growing massively, 1,000% in the last five years.  Between 2009 and 2012, crowdfunding expanded at a compound annual growth rate of 63%.  As of 2014, the crowdfunding market was estimated at $16.6 billion in funding per year. Of this growth, donation-based crowdfunding comprises the majority of giving, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 444 percent compared to equity crowdfunding, which is growing at a rate of 168 percent. By 2020, crowdfunding is expected to reach $500 billion in funding per year generating $3.2 trillion in economic value.

“However, a majority of crowdfunding campaigns fail,” says Eyal Lichtmann, CEO of Quilageo, the company behind BidOkee.”81% of unsuccessful projects fail to reach 20% of their funding goal. And nearly 60% of all crowdfunding projects are unsuccessful. There is a systemic problem in crowdfunding if a majority of campaigns are continuously failing. Therefore we need a new model in crowdfunding that provides greater chance of success and which changes the paradigm to a more cooperative model.”

We have a prototype. Check it out at www.BidOkee.com! Help make it happen – we need your support.

Crowdfunding-ReapRewards-DIY

Successful small businesses on sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo tend to raise more money on subsequent projects

Here’s a secret for budding entrepreneurs using crowdfunding platforms to finance their projects: It pays to go back for seconds.

Consider the success rates on Kickstarter, the New York-based online platform where users make contributions on projects in exchange for rewards, like an early version of the product.

On average, people raising money on the site for projects are successful in meeting their goals 38% of the time, according to Kickstarter. But new data show that those with one successful project under their belts have nearly double the chances of success—73%—of reaching their next funding goal. And those with five projects have a 91% likelihood, according to the six-year-old site.

A similar trend is under way at Indiegogo, a San Francisco-based crowdfunding site created in 2008, said Chief Executive Slava Rubin.

Read the rest of the article here.

Crowdfunding-Empowering-Startups-DIY

BidOkee is establishing a cooperative model through which networks, resources, connections and best practices are shared between campaigns to realize crowdfunding’s original potential.

BidOkee’s CEO, Eyal Lichtmann, contends a major problem with crowdfunding is that small campaigns are being pushed aside as big corporations look to dominate the industry.

Approximately one million crowdfunding campaigns are launched annually. Over $20 billion in crowdfunding transactions will occur this year – a 100% increase over last year – according to EquitynetA World Bank report estimates that, by 2025, this number will spike to $300 billion annually, while others estimate as high as $500 billion, with up to $3.2 trillion in economic activity.

Entrpreneur.com reports how difficult it is for start-ups to get funding despite the proliferation of crowdfunding worldwide. Currently 90% of the world’s online population has access to crowdfunding and $1,400 is raised in donations every minute. Still, only 3% of all start-up funding comes from crowdfunding.

And E-commerce Times reports that Fortune 500 firms are actively experimenting with crowdfunding as a product launch and testing platform, potentially pushing out the small players. UC Berkeley is actually looking into providing courses for corporate executives wanting to launch crowdfunding campaigns. In addition, many charities, NGOs and scientific and health research projects are also looking to crowdfund their projects.

“As a result, traditional crowdfunding platforms, and the industry as a whole, are becoming very crowded,” Lichtmann says. “With more and more competition, including consultants and corporate campaigns, the bar is getting higher for small businesses. The cost and effort to successfully execute large campaigns is becoming prohibitive for many small firms and entrepreneurs. As crowdfunding platforms get bigger, start-ups are getting pushed out.

BidOkee-3Industries-Slide“Breaking through the barriers is an uphill battle,” Lichtmann continues, “especially now, as small start-ups are being eclipsed by hundreds or thousands of campaigns launched by deep-pocketed Fortune 500 companies and established organizations. The biggest advertising and marketing firms, scientists and crowdfunding consultants are taking over. The bigger the crowdfunding site, the less a small start-up can compete.”

Dr. Richard Swart, the director of research on crowdfinance at UC Berkeley, indicated there are Fortune 100 companies that are thinking about launching a crowdfunding campaign.

Corporations have enormous resources to launch and build support for their crowdfunding campaigns and that is driving the cost of crowdfunding services higher for the little guy. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Dodge and DC Comics are using crowdfunding for marketing purposes, with the deleterious effect of marginalizing smaller players seeking to raise funds on the same platforms while at the same time driving up marketing, PR, consultancy and production costs within the industry.

“Crowdfunding was intended to enhance the start-up experience and bypass the onerous process of finding traditional investors to launch an idea or product,” says Lichtmann. “It was not intended as a marketing platform for established or already successful companies.”

An example, he says, is the Pebble watch, which already had sufficient cash on hand for their project but wanted the additional exposure Kickstarter offered.

“And now the biggest consumer companies in the world are moving into crowdfunding as a platform to market test and pay for their product launches,” says Lichtmann. “This is counter to the whole notion of crowdfunding, which was supposed to assist start-ups penetrating the vast expanse of the marketplace.”

Some activist-commentators are calling out the commandeering of crowdfunding by multinational behemoths, though not everyone agrees, and a healthy debate is beginning.

“The survival of crowdfunding requires a true cooperative model that has the best interest of the small player in mind,” he says.

Lichtmann’s company, BidOkee, has launched a beta version of what will be a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform based on a cooperative model.

“The DIY model we are building allows people the freedom to share, cooperate, assist, collaborate and utilize more human resources through cross-pollination of projects and ideas to yield infinitely more unique possibilities,” he says.

Scott Steinberg, author of The Crowdfunding Bible, featured BidOkee on NewsWatch TV. He declared: “This could change crowdfunding as we know it.”

Combining DIY with a cooperative model may sound contradictory, Lichtmann acknowledges.

“But a do-it-yourself model is about being wholly independent,” he says. “And the cooperative model is about relying on the goodwill and assistance of others. And that is the exact formula BidOkee is looking to propagate.”

BidOkee is establishing a cooperative model through which networks, resources, wisdom, advice, connections and best practices are shared between campaigns.

“If we reach our goals, we hope to share over $100 million annually back with campaigns,” he says. “But that number can grow higher. In addition, we are looking at cross-pollination opportunities that allow one successful start-up crowdfunding campaign to assist another start-up campaign with backers, users and other resources.

Also, with the integration of loyalty rewards through a gamified system, campaigns can have access to tens of thousands of additional leads for their campaigns. We want to change 60% failure rates to 80% success rates. That is what we are striving for.”

As Darryl Burma, CEO of Crowdmapped.com says, “BidOkee will definitely disrupt the industry. It is doing something we have not seen before and is a game-changer.”

BidOkee is currently developing the beta platform into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, which will give anyone the opportunity to launch their own independent, self-directed crowdfunding campaign with tools and features no other platform offers.

“We are now crowdfunding for crowdfunding and hope people will support our campaign to get this model to market” says Lichtmann. “We think this is the future – a future that realizes crowdfunding’s original potential.”

RaiseHope

RaiseHope | Sabrina Nicosia | April 15, 2015

RaiseHope_imageCanadian crowdfunding site RaiseHope.org has partnered with CanadaHelps.org to help charities capitalize on the booming crowdfunding phenomenon.

CanadaHelps, a donation portal for the more than 86,000 registered charities in Canada, has partnered to provide charitable tax receipts for anyone that crowdfunds for a charity on RaiseHope.org.

“This partnership further strengthens our offering for charities,” explains Apostolos Sigalas, Founder of RaiseHope, “Now anyone can crowdfund for any charity in Canada and offer their contributors tax receipts at no additional charge. No other rewards-based crowdfunding platform in Canada is offering this service. It’s pretty amazing.”

“Traditional forms of donor engagement can be time consuming, labour intensive & costly. continues Sigalas, “Charities now can encourage their networks to crowdfund for them in their own unique way – and it’s all done virtually through their online social networks.”

For many Canadians fundraising for their favourite charity meant waiting for the annual walk or gala. Now do-gooders can create an online crowdfunding campaign in just minutes & customize it so that it’s a reflection of their personality by adding fun Perks like “Give $30 to my campaign and I’ll bake you a dozen of my famous cookies”.

This partnership also adds a layer of security for crowdfunders & contributors alike. All of the funds raised for a verified charity on RaiseHope are given directly to the charity. This eliminates the risk of fraud – which has been a rising concern for charities & their supporters.

“Crowdfunding represents a significant opportunity for traditional charities,” says Craig Asano from the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada. “It allows them to stay current with the latest online fundraising tools that are unlocking channels to new donor markets including millennials.”

In addition to providing an automated tax receipting process through CanadaHelps, RaiseHope also allows charities to register as a Partner Charity for free. By doing so, charities get access to exclusive features like detailed donor data & analytics, 3rd party campaign tracking, and a customizable profile page from which all of their supporter’s crowdfunding campaigns are launched.

For more information or to register your charity for free visit RaiseHope.org or contact fundraising@RaiseHope.org

CONTACT INFO

Sabrina Nicosia                           Shannon Craig

nicosia@raisehope.org              shannonc@canadahelps.org

416.840.9800 x24                      416.722.8768

 

The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country.  NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 950+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada.  Learn more About Us or visit www.ncfacanada.org.