Crowdfunding’s a great way for small business owners to raise alternative funding that’s usually not enough for VCs to be interested. An article published in September 2023 by Small Business Trends gave an overview of five types of crowdfunding, plus five benefits that crowdfunding delivers.
Crowdfunding can certainly do more than just raise money for a business, and here are more than five benefits.
- Crowdfunding can provide social proof and product validation to show that startup business founders are going in the right direction.
- It can also be used by existing businesses of any age to develop new products and expand.
- Early crowdfunding backers can provide valuable feedback as a business tries to fit all the pieces of a jigsaw together to achieve success.
- Early backers can also become brand advocates in a virtuous circle that allows customers to become investors and investors can become important customers.
- Pre-orders can de-risk the first production run of a new product, and even multi-national companies including Sony, Coca-Cola and Mattel have used crowdfunding to test consumer demand.
- Crowdfunding is very flexible and not only for consumer-facing businesses. Although it’s not exactly small these days, B2B mineral extraction company Cornish Lithium has just closed a crowdfunding round having raised £5.1m.
- Whatever type of business you have, a well planned and executed crowdfunding campaign also provides great marketing support to build awareness of a business and attract interest. Get in touch if you want to discuss your ideas.
- Crowdfunding opportunities can also appeal to everyday retail investors who choose to support companies that are active in certain specialist business sectors.
Recycled clothing is becoming more and more popular as awareness grows of the amount of waste in the fashion and clothing industry. Immaculate Vegan is an upmarket vegan and sustainable fashion platform. Encouraged by 56% year-on-year sales growth, it launched an equity crowdfunding campaign that closes/closed on September 26. Its target was £200,000 – it reached over £300,000 from more than 300 investors.
There have been many successful small business crowdfunding projects in the cycling sector. I guess they appeal to people who want to invest in businesses that may help get people out of cars and tackle air pollution.
Two years ago, the Smart Tyre Company startup in Ohio, USA, developed an airless tyre for road bikes in partnership with NASA. They claim they have both the elasticity of rubber and the strength of titanium, and made them available through crowdfunding on Kickstarter. With 16 days to go at the time of writing, almost 300 backers had pledged just short of £125,000 to order a set of the innovative bike tyres.
Scottish startup Intra Drive is also using equity crowdfunding, through Crowdcube, to help bring its new 8-speed mid-drive for e-bikes to market. The redesigned e-bike motor comes with enhanced efficiency that simplifies manufacturing; a lighter gearbox; integrated electronics; an innovative display interface; and it is easier for manufacturers and consumers alike to fit it.
Healthtech startup AudioTelligence launched a crowdfunding campaign for its hearing enhancement device. Having decided to go-it-alone rather than sell out to an established rival, their small business crowdfunding goal is £400,000 to fund the manufacture of an initial batch of 1,000 units. Feedback from these early backers will be very valuable to aid product development.
The company that owns both the Cornish Pirates rugby club and Truro City football club in Cornwall, Kernow Sport, has raised over £413,000 from nearly 500 investors by offering equity through crowdfunding. It’s the first stage of raising a £2.5m total as the main benefactor begins to wind down his personal investment in the two clubs, reported the BBC.
The legendary Filmhouse Cinema in Edinburgh is raising the first £250,000 of a total £1.25m needed to re-open with a 21 year lease in its existing building which is being refurbished.
By September 17, a 2021 Masterchef contestant was over 80% of the way to raising £35,000 through reward-based small business crowdfunding to help him open a new restaurant in Bishop Auckland, northeast England.
HouseStars is an AI-powered app that connects property owners with building trades people. It is 98% of the way to its £125,001 equity crowdfunding target on Seedrs. As at September 25 there were 23 days left to run. SEIS investor benefits are available, which for taxpayers include a rebate through the tax system of 50% of the amount invested.
Food and beverages
World Tea News reported that New York-based Leaves of Leisure, a luxury herbal tea brand with a focus on zero and low caffeine teas, has launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at growing the brand and expanding into new markets. CEO and Founder Allison Ullo hopes to raise $50,000.
Crowdfunding, through offering equity or bringing new products to market, is definitely a strong option for many small businesses with big ambitions. I am an independent crowdfunding adviser, with no ties to any particular platforms. Whatever sector you work in, crowdfunding is very flexible and could play a role to help turn your innovation and dreams in to life-changing reality. If you’d like an objective assessment of how crowdfunding could provide a solution for you, and how close you are to being ready to use it, then please get in touch. Send a message to [email protected].