The number one need for a startup is almost always money. Now there is a new path to raising capital to launch a tech business. CleanStart is helping entrepreneurs get into the crowdfunding business! It requires some new skills and new techniques, most of which are unfamiliar to people.

Last month we hosted a well-attended workshop for startup founders on crowdfunding best practices to make more people aware of what can be done. We looked to our more experienced neighbors in Silicon Valley to share information about raising capital through successful campaign strategies for both Equity and Rewards-based crowdfunding. Our attendees included entrepreneurs in a variety of industries — from clean tech, to software, to real estate, and more.

Our presenters included Manny Fernandez, cofounder and CEO of equity crowdfunding platform Dreamfunded; Michael Zeligs of StartMotionMEDIA, who has helped companies raise over $13 million through rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns; and Chris Russell, Partner at Stoel Rives, who provided insights on the SEC rules for regulation crowdfunding.

Our biggest takeaway from the workshop was the importance of developing and leveraging personal relationships for crowdfunding success. Additionally, crowdfunding is an effective tool to help entrepreneurs amplify their reach to investors beyond their network. Manny explained personally building investor confidence in you is instrumental in a positive launch of a successful equity crowdfunding campaign.  Michael strongly encouraged everyone to build an intimate connection with the people on their mailing lists. A big email list doesn’t guarantee success–we need to personally interact with each person individually to increase the likelihood of campaign success. Michael advised that using email marketing platforms like MailChimp or Constant Contact is not the best way to accomplish this and recommended using mail merge utilities that allow for a more personalized email.

Chris Russell clarified the legal requirements of equity crowdfunding. We learned that crowdfunding equity capital doesn’t skirt the formal process; there are SEC rule and regulations they are required to follow when raising any type of equity funding.

At the end of the workshop, many who attended expressed an eagerness to learn more about crowdfunding in future workshops and to get direct help from CleanStart in formulating their own campaigns. To get you started with Crowdfunding, we’ve created a Crowdfunding information Page. Check it out!

CleanStart will host a networking meetup for crowdfunding entrepreneurs of all experience levels this summer. Stay tuned! Also, plan ahead for our September workshop on Ramping up Revenue — sales is a great way (the best!) to raise capital!.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.


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