On September 16, a General Assembly held a panel discussion on how to crowdfund your idea. The panel consisted of the following:
- Maryann Hwee, Executive Director of FringeBacker,
- Martin Kessler, Head of Marketing of Ambi Labs
- Stephanie Holland, founder of AURZA
- If you are looking for a fund to start your business, the speakers suggested Kickstarter would be a larger platform to raise funds than Indiegogo but with a higher setup fee.
- To reach your target early, the two alumni crowdfunders suggested early bird promotions will help accelerate the process.
- The emphasis on preparation before the campaign launches is very important in the sense that you need to raise awareness of your project. This would mean contacting media to publish articles about you and your fund-raising project.
- Maryann emphasized that anyone with a need for funding can use Fringebacker to start their project. It is not limited to profession or products.
- Having a video on the site is a must. A 2-3 minute video about your services or product would increase understanding and interest in your campaign.
- Ask friends (and friends of friends) to help with website design or video production. You may be surprised that talented people around you are willing to help.
- After the campaign ends, keep your backers updated with the progress. Consider doing a monthly newsletter or video where they can see the production process of the product. You can set up an alternative email such as a support email where you can handle the queries separately.
- One question the audience had is others copying your idea before the launch.
- Martin said that this has happened to him in the past but his quality was better and the key customers would always buy from you as opposed to knock offs.
- Stephanie shared that she is not afraid of people copying her ideas because her services and oferings require so much work that people who are not passionate enough about the fashion market would simply not enter. The fact she had to work with the suppliers, their production schedules and quality check the products in China is not a commitment everyone can make.