So, you’ve got a great idea for a new bit of cycling kit, or have an idea for a company that will revolutionise the cycling industry, but how do you get your plan off the ground?
Crowdfunding is becoming an ever more popular way to fund projects, rather than going to the bank, and we’ve spoken to a few people inside the industry and those that have succeeded with crowdfunding to ask them for tips on how to thrive in this more competitive market.
Tips for success
1. Do your research
“There are many platforms, so do your research and go with one that suits you and your campaign best.” Joel Hughes, indiegogo.com
2. Polish your pitch
“Question everything about your presentation and don’t be afraid to ask others to scrutinize your idea thoroughly and make it as watertight as possible. People won’t invest if they don’t feel you’ve done your homework.” Luca Amaduzzi, CYCL WingLights
3. Offer perks
“Entrepreneurs should consider having a variety of perks to suit every wallet to ensure that they cater to a range of potential backers. We’ve found that the ‘sweet spot’ is $25, as they’re the most frequently claimed perks.” Joel Hughes, indiegogo.com
4. Flexible or fixed funding
“With flexible funding, the campaigner can keep all the funds, even if they don’t reach their goals; with fixed they can only keep the funds if the campaign reaches their target; otherwise, the funds are refunded to the backers.” Joel Hughes, indiegogo.com
5. Contact your investors
A number of people also recommend engaging with your backers. Many investors will email messages of support to you, others will just send money, all will provide their contact details. So it can help to acknowledge their help. Thank them!
Funding your future
Six popular crowdfunding websites that could make your invention become a commercial reality:
- Kickstarter: Leading crowdsourcing site that’s raised hundreds of millions for business start-ups but not charities or awareness campaigns. Backers can receive ‘Backer Rewards’ if the funding goal is reached. It charges a five percent fee for every successful project.
- Indiegogo: You can kick-start any project including donations for charities. It offers rewards too (called Perks) and a funding plan called ‘Flexible Funding‘, in which you could receive the fund even if the project has failed to reach the funding goal — but you pay a higher fee for that.
- Seedrs: London-based platform for equity crowdfunding (the first to gain Financial Conduct Authority approval), it focuses on seed-stage businesses with investments starting at £10.
- CrowdCube: “We’re looking to grow the business and use the CrowdCube platform for a number of reasons,” explains Temple Cycles’ Matt Mears. “It has over 300,000 registered investors — you immediately access them when you launch a campaign. Also, they’re based in Exeter and we like that they’re a relatively local group, plus we really like the presentation tools the site uses.”
- Crowdfunder: Growing, powerful rewards-based platform that champions cycling-focused campaigns including Jenni Gwiazdowski’s London Bike Kitchen project — her crowdfunder appeal brought in 358 backers who raised £18,179.
- JustGiving: Charity-focused fundraising website. Was chosen as the platform to raise funds for a private prosecution against a motorist following the death of cyclist Michael Mason.