Category Archives: Crowdfunding Best Practices

How to Boost your Crowdfunding Campaign with SEO

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NCFA (About Us) Member Guest Post | May 18, 2017

Many people who do crowdfunding tend to neglect SEO for a variety of reasons. Many prefer to turn to tools like social media and video to attract more visibility. However, SEO can be a very powerful tool as well, and in this article, we’re going to give you a few tips on how to use SEO to push your crowdfunding campaign.

Tags are Still Important

While much fuss has been made about the uselessness of keyword stuffing when it comes to tags, they are still there for a reason. Some methods of old are pretty much irrelevant, such as using a variety of long tail keywords for Meta tags, for instance, tags can be a powerful SEO for any crowdfunding efforts, especially on the local level. Try to use location tags as much as possible so you can appear in searches in your particular region. Also, try to be relevant. If you’re not a non-profit, don’t use “non-profit” as a tag. This might actually do more harm than good. If you’re struggling with tags or keyword research, you could work with an SEO agency to help. However, focus on hiring people that are well versed in crowdfunding; don’t stay local. If you find an NYC SEO company that seems more qualified for this type of project, go for it.

Create a Dedicated Website

You will need a viable website if you really want to get results with SEO. And you shouldn’t cut corners either. Even if this is a temporary project, you could still use the website for launching later on. Make sure that the site is professionally made and that your project is front and center.

See:

Video works very well for crowdfunding, so having a video explaining your project in detail is a great way to get people’s attention.  The site needs to load fast, have a nice clear design and be mobile friendly as well. Also consider investing in an https domain, as they tend to be favored by search engines. Make sure that it is optimized for the right keywords, but don’t overdo it. Keywords should focus on your company’s name, brand name, and products. Also, make sure that it is cross-linked with your crowdfunding page as well, and reference them through any social media platform you're using to trigger social signals.

Optimize your Crowdfunding Page

Your crowdfunding page needs to be optimized and follow pretty much the same rules as your main website. You should do everything in your power to generate organic backlinks to your campaign by releasing good content through the right channels and with sustained social media marketing efforts.

Make sure the keywords you choose are as specific as possible. If you’re funding a solar panel venture, don’t go for generic terms such as “green energy” for instance, as it may include things such as biofuels, wind power, recycling, etc. Use specific terms such as “photovoltaic” or “solar cells” if you want traffic that is as targeted as possible.

As you can see, SEO can be a wonderful tool for crowdfunding, as long as you do it the right way.


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 1500+ 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 at www.ncfacanada.org.

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Top Tips for Crowdfunding Your Student Business

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NCFA Canada About Us | Guest Post | Mar 8, 2017

Crowdfunding for students

As a student, you might feel that you simply don’t have the time or the funds to start your own company, which is a shame as many of the best business ideas come from the student population. However, even if you might not be able to go down the traditional route when it comes to starting a business whilst you’re still at college, there’s no need to put off getting started, as there are plenty of alternative ideas to choose from. We’ve put together some top tips to help you crowdfund your student business.

Move Your Degree Online

If you are serious about your new business, then moving your degree program online, either partly or in full, can provide you with more time and money to invest into your business and your crowdfunding campaign to get it started. With online degree programs offered in a huge range of topics from engineering to business management or an MSN administration degree, it’s likely that your college already has some kind of distance learning option in place that you can enquire about. If you have not yet started studying for your degree, then applying for an online program means that you’ll have the flexibility that you need to get going with your new start-up from the beginning.

Get Students Involved

Whilst you are at college, you have the perfect access to a wide, diverse target audience of students. As a student, you might be thinking of a business venture that provides a solution, or something fun, for the student population. If this is the case, then where better to start your crowdfunding campaign than on campus? Advertising your business in the college library, gym, or in other public areas can be a good way to generate interest.

Get On Social Media

Today, one of the best ways to grab the attention of your audience and potential crowdfunders is through social media. As a student, you may already have an advantage on many older entrepreneurs, as you may already be quite active on social media. Don’t forget to get in touch with societies and clubs that are led by students at your college and ask them to advertise – many will be willing to get involved with all kinds of student-led activities on campus.

You can also join a range of start-up crowdfunding sites online to ask for help from the general public. If you do this, don’t forget to share the link on all of your social media pages!

Get an App

These days, there’s an app for everything, so creating an app for your business is a great way to generate interest and encourage people to crowdfund so that they can start using it as soon as possible. Since apps are so convenient for the user, it’s no surprise that app-based businesses are often the ones that do best.  Whether you are studying for a business degree or completing your RN to MSN online, starting a business as a student isn’t as difficult as you think!

See: 

 

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 1500+ 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 at www.ncfacanada.org.

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Tips on How to Crowdfund a Canadian Tech Startup

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NCFA Canada | Guest Contributor | Feb 24, 2017

You are the future of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is one of the most effective ways to generate the capital required to start a tech startup. However, many tech startup owners are unsure about how to take advantage of crowdfunding and how to establish their business in this way. Below are some tips that will put you in a better position and allow you to crowdfund a Canadian tech startup with more confidence.

Preparation

Like any business activity, the more you prepare, the more likely you are to succeed. You need to ensure that you have the technical skills and the business skills required to create a business that can benefit as much as possible from crowdfunding.

For instance, if you think your business skills are below par, it's a wise decision to start a business-related course like a masters in project and program management degree. If you choose to complete an online MSMPP program or a similar course, you can study whenever you like and wherever you want to study, so you can also be working in your business at the same time, without too many disruptions.

In most cases, similar crowdfunding campaigns have been completed by other startups, so it's a good idea to take the time to check out the results of these other projects. If they succeeded, there's a good chance your crowdfunding campaign will succeed as well.

Understand Your Market

It can't be overstated how important it is to understand your target market. You should find out what your target audience likes, what they need from you, their age group, interests and any other considerations that could affect your crowdfunding project. Once you have this information, you will make more informed decisions about whether or not to go ahead with a particular crowdfunding campaign for your tech company.

See:

Choose a Project That a Large Number of People Are Interested In

Ideally, you want to attract the attention of as many people as possible. In most cases, these people will only be interested in projects that they understand. This means your project has to cater to the needs of a wide range of people.

Use the Right Platform

Today's Canadian tech startup owners have a wide range of crowdfunding platforms to choose from. However, like everything in life, some crowdfunding platforms are better than others. Before you choose a crowdfunding platform, it's once again a smart decision to research the most popular platforms and find out which ones are the most active and have the potential to raise the amount of money you need for your tech project.

Let People Know About Your Venture

It's vital to let as many people as possible know about your crowdfunding campaign. Create a social media campaign, a news story about your project, and any other marketing methods you believe will work, as this will give you and your new business much more exposure and increase the interest shown by potential crowd funders.

Unfortunately, many startup owners are not aware of the potential of crowdfunding or hesitate to create such a campaign. However, following the tips above will increase the likelihood that you will succeed and raise the funds needed to get your startup off the ground.

Look Who's Coming to CCS2017!

Feb 28 - Mar 1 (Toronto)

CCS2017 speakers

 

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 1500+ 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 at www.ncfacanada.org.

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Getting Press for Your Startup

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Y Combinator Blog | Michael Seibel | Sep 20, 2016

news-and-press-release

Michael Seibel, Y Combinator CEO, on press strategies for startups.

The best press advice I ever got was from Mike Arrington and M.G. Siegler while they were speaking at an SV Angel CEO conference. They said:

Treat PR like biz dev.

Once I heard that, everything clicked. Before then I’d wasted mental energy thinking there were special rules for talking to the press and getting great stories for my company. I needed cool and catchy subject lines for my emails. I should have a list of a hundred reporters that I blast with new story ideas. I should write press releases. Needless to say most of these efforts ended in failure. Sound familiar?

Treating PR like business development means developing relationships with reporters as people, getting introduced through warm connections instead of cold emails, and creating a fair value exchange. Here’s the process I advise YC companies to follow when they’re ready for press.

See:  The A to Z guide to media relations for crowdfunding

Step One: Generate News

Many founders pitch reporters profiles and stories about their company that could be written today, next week, or next month. Everyone wants a “profile piece” on their startup but most of the time those stories aren’t valuable to reporters. What makes a valuable story is news.

What is News?
News is timely. It makes more sense to talk about it today rather than tomorrow. News attracts attention now and that’s what reporters want. News for most startups can be broken up into these 4 categories:

1. Product Launches and Features
These are things coming out today. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, today. Think Instagram Stories or Facebook Timeline. Typically you are looking for user facing features. In my last company, Socialcam, we would reach out to the press when we released video filters, the ability to add soundtracks to videos, or user profiles.

2. Product/Sales Milestones
This could be hitting a million users, $100k MRR, or maybe a million guests per night. It’s important for this number to be as big as possible (relative to your size of startup) and I’d recommend you sandbag this number – i.e. wait until you’re 25% past the milestone to announce – so that you’re that much closer to announcing the next milestone.

3. Significant BD Deals or Customers
Did you just get a team at Airbnb or Instacart to start using your product or service? Did you partner with GM to build a network of self-driving cars? If you have their permission you should consider announcing it.

4. Fundraising
For better or worse, fundraising is conflated with traction/success so it is a topic people want to read about. If you have raised an angel round or series A/B/etc. most reporters will consider this news and potential employees will notice it, too.

Note: Many of the examples I’ve used might seem a little aggressive for an early stage startup. My goal is not to discourage you but to provide examples that will be generally understood. If you have any new product, milestone, deal, or investment round you should strongly consider pitching it.

Step Two: Make Your Own Press Contacts

Reporters want to talk to CEOs and co-founders–not PR people. As an early stage startup founder you should be building reporter relationships and making pitches. Your success rate will go up and you will actually spend less time and money on PR. Take it from me–we spent over $100,000 on PR agencies and PR people as an early stage startup before we figured this out.

How Do I Make Press Contacts?
Don’t spray and pray. It’s stupid.

See:  2016 NCFA Directory of Digital Funding Portals, Investment Platforms and Service Providers

The best method to meet a tech reporter is by having the CEO or a co-founder get a warm intro. If you’re a YC founder, the YC founder network is super helpful for these. The reporter you want to meet has definitely written about someone you know. Have them intro you. Proper etiquette is to ask your friend for an intro to only one reporter. If you aren’t a YC founder, make friends with other startups and reach out to your startup community for warm intros.

Here’s what should be in your intro. The reporter should be able to read it and reply in thirty seconds.
– News. Describe your news in one sentence.
– For an exclusive: Let the reporter know you’re offering an exclusive.
– For an embargo: Say when you’re making the announcement. Include the date and time.
– A request for a twenty minute call. Be courteous. You don’t need to meet in person.

When you get the reporter on the phone, be ready with three to five reasons why your news and your company is important. Make them clear and then, at the end of your call, offer your notes and any relevant collateral (screenshots, graphs, logos, pictures, etc). This will provide you with an opportunity to be courteous and provide reporters with the language you prefer.

Step Three: Pitch Those Contacts an Exclusive

Almost all startups should be offering their story as an exclusive to one tech reporter at a time. Your target audience – investors, potential employees, motivated customers, early adopters – exist in high concentration in just a few tech outlets. Getting blanket coverage across a bunch of tech blogs is often not worth the struggle and can piss people off when embargoes are broken.

Continue to the full article --> here

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 1500+ 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 at www.ncfacanada.org.

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Presentation Deck: 2016 Small Business Forum Crowdfunding 101+ Workshop

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NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Oct 26, 2016

crowdfunding-101-workshop-slide

Oct 25, 2016, NCFA Canada delivered an hour Crowdfunding 101+ workshop at the 2016 Small Business Forum at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. This is an annual trade show hosted by Enterprise Toronto that attracts thousands of small businesses each year looking for funding, mentorship, tools, products and services to help them launch and grow. The presentation provides an overview of Crowdfunding markets, both regulated and non-regulated, case studies, deal characteristics to help startups and scaleups understand if Crowdfinance is right for their business. The deck also provides some insight into practical keys to success with planning, executing and following up on a crowdfunding campaign or investment round.

 

2016 small business forum crowdfunding 101 workshop

1. CROWDFUNDING COMPREHENSIVE INTRODUCTION 101+ Date: Oct 25, 2016 Prepared for: 2016 Small Business Forum, Enterprise Toronto Prepared by: National Crowdfunding Association of Canada

2. OUR AGENDA 2016 Small Business Forum: Enterprise Toronto PART 1: CROWDFUNDING OVERVIEW • What is Crowdfunding and why is it a game changer? • Crowdfunding examples and market growth • Is Crowdfunding right for me? Pros/cons for SMEs PART 2: PRACTICAL KEYS TO SUCCESS • Pre-Planning and Strategy • Executing a Campaign • Post-Campaign • Common mistakes PART 3: Q&A (15mins)

3. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum National Crowdfunding Association of Canada 1500 Subscribers 3200+ Followers 1300+ Members 90+ Platforms 20+ Providers 45 Portals 2016 2015 2014 2013 Oct 2012

4. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Part 1: CROWDFUNDING OVERVIEW 1. Seeking Capital • Online marketplaces that connect companies to investors • Consultants (social media, marketing, advisory services) 2. Funding Portal & Enablers 3. Investors Retail or Accredited Individuals or organizations seeking funding Definition Raising capital online to fund all sorts of projects and ventures such as startups and scaleups (using the internet, social media and technology)

5. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Crowdfunding Part of the Capital Stack Crowdfunding isn’t a stand alone funding source. Crowdfinance includes retail, angels and VC participation too One big difference…Crowdfunding platforms are evolving & can scale – Chance Barnett, CEO of Crowdfunder

6. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Crowdfunding Case Studies Source: Kickstarter Campaign page 1. Innovation and Economic Growth Pebble Smart Watch (Great Canadian success) • Goal was $100K; Viral success preselling 69,000 watches raising over $10 million on US portal Kickstarter • Owner and Waterloo Engineering student, Eric Migicovsky, started company in U.S. Oculus Rift – Potential for Equity • Raised $2.4 million (goal was $250K) • Crowdfunding as an economic generator and on-boarding ramp to follow-on investment • March 25th news report Oculus was just bought by Facebook for $2 billion

7. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Crowdfunding Case Studies 2. Community Development in Canada Invest YYC, Calgary, Alberta • Platform: InvestYYC (www.investyyc.com) • Launched Jan 2013 • Funds raised $650,000 across 47 projects • Average raise $13,892 3. New Product Development & Marketing “Coolest Cooler”, Portland, Oregon • Platform: Kickstarter • Launched Jan 2014 • Goal was $50K; raised over $13 million from over 62,000 backers

8. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Global Growth in 2014 ($13.2 billion) Past Prediction

9. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum $36 Billion USD Source: Cambridge University and Nesta UK • World Bank Forecasts worldwide $96 billion annually by 2025

10. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum • Growing market but small compared to the US • Impact of Canadian banking oligopoly $200 Million USD Source: Cambridge University and Nesta UK

11. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum NCFA Canadian Crowdfunding Directory Reward/Donation: Equity-based via Dealer: • Steady growth in portals • Equity and Debt emerging • Fintech is all the rage • Real estate crowdfunding emerging Consumer and Small Business Loans:

12. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Basic Crowdfunding Models < $10K $10 - $250K < $100 - $350K+ < $250K - $3M+

13. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Rewards Sample:

14. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Equity Sample:

15. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Lending Sample:

16. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Regulated vs. Unregulated Markets < $10K $10 - $250K < $100 - $350K+ < $250K - $3M+ RegulatedUnregulated • Not issuing a security • Portals, transactions and participation is global • DIY approach to raising capital from an online community • Early seed stage type funding or community capital • Platform fees range from 0% - 9% • Regulated by provincial securities commission and other regulatory bodies • Many financing ‘exemptions’ or tools can be used, some have caps • Work with licensed Dealer-brokers (gatekeepers) • Fees are higher than unregulated (success fee, listing, carried interest management fee)

17. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum • Wide distribution over the internet • Low cost, efficient, transparent capital • The `great equalizer` • Media/PR, awareness • Increase customer engagement and • Evangelize backers into investors (customer acquisition) • Reduce risk by getting feedback on new launches (product or ventures) • Market research Access to Capital Marketing Platform Validation • Raising funds via crowdfunding markets is a very public and transparent • Protect your IP and speak to a lawyer • Crowdfunding takes a lot of effort and commitment • The majority of Ideas fail to reach their funding goal • How will this affect your companies brand? Expose your Idea Resourcing Failure Crowdfunding Pros/Cons Benefits Risks For Companies

18. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Seedrs Portfolio Analysis (253 deals mid 2012 - 2015) Most popular category (of total 15): • Food & Beverage (11%) • Finance & Payments (11%) • Travel, Leisure & Sport (10%) Investors Returns • Platform Investors IRR 14.44% (Tax relief adj 41.87%) • Investors with 20+ investments outperformed overall market Is Crowdfunding Right for Our Business? 40% Digital Business 40% Hybrid20% Non-digital 60% B2C Businesses 10%20% B2B

19. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Trends in Crowdfinance & FinTech • Crowd is Growing more Liquidity: Syndication of investment opportunities (retail, accredited, angels, VCs, institutions) • FinTech Innovation: Improving transparency and removing information barriers that exist in private markets, data driven. Blockchain, ICOs, smart contracts • Regulations are opening up (OSC LaunchPad – Innovation Sandbox) • Companies are staying private longer (rather than going public)

20. PART 2: PRACTICAL KEYS TO SUCCESS “The harder I work, the luckier I get” Samuel Goldwyn

21. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Crowdfunding Lifecycle Planning & Strategy • The greater your planning efforts, the greater your chance of achieving your funding goal • Do not launch a crowdfunding campaign if you are not ready. (3 months) (40 days – 90 days) (Ongoing) Post-campaign • Your campaign is done but now you have to deliver on your promise • Fulfillment • Ongoing customer engagement Campaign Execution • Daily execution of tasks outlined in the campaign plan • Control, monitor and adapt Feedback Loop

22. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Success Factors SUCCESS 2. Network Strength • Sizeable online network and social media presence? • Will media/PR and influential bloggers cover your story? 1. Quality Idea & Pitch • Unique, enterprising and clear value proposition (conveyed online in a simple manner) • Get others excited about your story? • Clear funding target and specific goals? 4. Key Docs and Content • Compliant and necessary for investor review 3. Strong Committed Team • Is your team credible, committed and willing to deploy the resources and time to execute effectively? • Time management HARD WORK! 5. Marketing Campaign & Incentives • Planning and strategy with ability to execute through launch to post campaign

23. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum • Build your crowd before you launch • Recommend content generation and social media workshops • Develop an online strategy for your business • Start with internal networks • PR Push: Build rapport with media folks, journalists and bloggers • Attend industry networking and community building events to grow your crowd • Evaluate your internal networks social reach to forecast a realistic ‘Funding Target’ based on conversion rates (i.e., 2%) • Prime your network before you launch (reach out, engage) • 20-30% of your campaign funding will come from your internal ‘friends and family’ network • Understand the difference between ‘Keep what you Raise’ vs ‘All or Nothing’ funding types Low Mid High Planning & Strategy Assess the Strength of Your Network and Establish Realistic Funding Target

24. Funding Lead Strategy, resourcing, fulfillment Build Your Funding Team Team Strength? Content & Media Manager Key message, content distribution, channel selection, engagement Compelling Spokesperson Spokesperson, media engagements NCFA @Money Forum • Is your Team 100% Committed and credible? • Do you have family and friends that can support? • Outsource? Legal, Accounting and Compliance Documents, resumes, valuations, trademarks/patents, incorporation etc.

25. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Equity Planning & Strategy • Key Milestones that impact business valuations • Minimum capital required to reach each stone? • What securities will you offer in which jurisdictions? • Funding platform you want to work with? Solid Capital Raising Plan • Business plan, portal compliance, financial statements • Investor term sheet, subscription agreement, pitch deck • Video, prepared PR releases, email responses etc. Prepare Key Documents (offline / online) • Identify potential investors, prime the pump, range investor potential to commit • Network, keep all doors and opportunities, road show, leverage PR/media, do not just rely on portal • Treat everyone you deal with, with respect Prepare for Outreach Campaign • Have them review to ensure compliance and credibility • All documents, offline and online and remediate where necessary Contact Legal and Other Professionals Getting Ready for an Equity Crowdfunding Raise

26. Planning & Strategy Not everyone needs a reward Altruism, especially for donation-based Reward Considerations Budget and timing Rewards cost money (shipping fees!) Bundle rewards Group rewards together Special – Scarce, Creative, VIP Limited quantity, unique experience Leverage in-kind from partners Use good will from donated contributions Types of Rewards Product Social Experiences Financial » Services VIP Access Add/update New Rewards Test market and iterate!

27. Targeting your networks Marketing campaign Engaging with your networks and prospects Reaching out to media and bloggers Asking networks to: 1. Learn about the project 2. Share 3. Invest 4. Champion / help promote 5. Support / volunteer Constantly monitor with analytics Are contributions happening? Make changes Daily Task List Online & Offline Feedback Loop Campaign Execution NCFA @Money Forum

28. NCFA @2016 Small Business Forum Post Campaign Thank You Messages Thank you team and backers/investors Positive Reinforcement Contributed to success of project Fulfillment Deliver on your promise Start to fulfil rewards right away Manage expectations Transparency Equity Considerations Shareholder Register Company Minutes Annual reporting requirements to shareholders Nurture New Relationships Ongoing communications and engagement Foster sense of community Develop integration plan Digital experience that moves people

29. Common Mistakes • We underestimated the time commitment involved • We didn’t test our campaign sufficiently • We launched before we were ready • We didn’t develop an accurate budget • We didn’t consult legal counsel or professional providers • We didn’t account for taxes • We tried to do everything on a shoestring • We didn’t realize how important the video was • We didn’t understand liability exposure (eg. misrepresentation) and intellectual property • We had little to no traction so we gave up • We blamed it on the portal

30. PART 3: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

31. PART 3: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Booth #135Booth #135

32. Join Us Education & Research Market Access Crowdfunding Infrastructure Capital Raising Prep Services Support and Leadership Advocacy GET IT IN TOUCH Canadian Crowdfunding Industry ncfacanada.org crowdfundingsummit.ca

 

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 1300+ 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 at www.ncfacanada.org.

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Which type of financing is right for your startup? The Pros and Cons of Equity Crowdfunding

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Techvibes | Brenda Bouw | Sep 12, 2016

pros-and-cons-of-equity-crowdfunding

Having a great idea for a business is one thing.  Getting the financial backing to grow, scale and make it a success is quite another.  Most entrepreneurs approach funding in stages, starting by dipping into their own savings, going cap-hand to friends and family, taking advantage of government grants, crowdfunding and potentially seeking angel and venture capital.  The best funding option depends on the business, its track record and growth plans.  Some companies stay self-funded forever, while others need the capital injection and expertise from outsiders.  Getting the right investment in the right sums at the right time can often make the difference between a startup's success or failure.

Techvibes has put together a list of common investment options for startups, and the pros of cons of each covering

  • Boot strapping
  • Government grants
  • Angel investing
  • Crowdfunding
  • Equity crowdfunding
  • Venture capital

Click to view the full article --> here

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 1300+ 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 at www.ncfacanada.org.

 

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White Label Crowdfunding 101: Part II – Players & Profits

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Crowdfund Insider | Bret Conkin | Sept 9, 2016

So you want to start a Crowdfunding Portal…

In White Label Crowdfunding 101: Players & Profits, (Part II of our three-part series) we will introduce some of the primary white label vendors, sample sites and criteria for vendor selection to help you navigate the options.

In Part I Pros and Cons, we covered how white label crowdfunding works, benefits, applications and pros and cons versus building custom solutions. In Part III, Marketing & Ops, we will cover advice for the successful management and marketing of your new crowdfunding platform.

See: Crowdfunding Platform Patreon Raises $30M in Series B Funding

The Players (General Vendors)

A) Katipult (Calgary, Canada | Prague, Czechia)

Positioning: Crowdfunding software for private capital markets. Compliant platforms active in over 20 unique regulatory environments.

Roots: Custom software development house JOI Media.

“We have been building, maintaining, and iterating sophisticated crowdfunding software systems for private capital markets for over 8 years. We are a company that prides ourselves on acting as a technology partner rather than a software vendor, which is exactly what our clients are looking for.”

Key Features:

  • Complete White Label Platforms since 2008
  • Real Estate or Investment Crowdfunding (Equity or Debt)
  • Reg D 506 b and c, Reg S, Reg CF, Reg A+ and Intrastate (USA)
  • Compliant for Canada, UK, Australia, Italy, France, Africa, others
  • Robust investor, issuer and administrator tools
  • Many 3rd party integrations

Geography: US, Canada, UK, Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, Middle East.

Applications: Real Estate Crowdfunding, Equity & Debt Syndication, Investor Management, Private placements, Listings.

Sample platforms: InvestaCrowd, IntroCrowd, BrickRaise

Other Nuggets:

“Many of our clients use the software for operational efficiencies as we streamline many pain points in both the capital raising and investor servicing processes.”

Claim track record of ROI in as little as 6 months.


B) CrowdEngine (Salt Lake City, UT)

Positioning: A white label solution without compromising customization.  Offer the most solutions in industry.

Key Features:

  • Compliance EngineTM, a unique equity crowdfunding rules engine to let clients configure as they see fit.
  • Robust equity feature set including back-office, payments, 3rd party integrations.
  • Conduct offerings for national, intrastate and international rules all at the same time on same portal.
  • Easy, step-by-step checkout and dashboards.
  • Drag and drop website builder/CMS.
  • Dedicated launch manager, tools and support.

Roots: Started in 2012.  Built ground up, scalable white label solution. Founders have online marketing backgrounds.

“CrowdEngine saw the need when we started in 2012 To provide a scalable, compliant solution to meet market demand.. which is why our technology is so superior, it’s built from the ground up as a white label platform.”

Geography: US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, other English speaking countries.

Applications: Equity crowdfunding, Real Estate crowdfunding, Single-raise campaigns, Perks, Non-Profit.

Sample platforms: Florida Funders, CrowdOut Capital, Crowdventure

Other Nuggets:  Claim 150+ portals launched.


C) Improve In (Buenos Aries, Argentina)

Positioning: Rapid deploy crowdfunding/crowdlending functionality.

Roots: Customer software development house and certified partner for Crowd Valley API.

“The solutions we provide can me implemented in any scenario or sector (real estate, p2p lending, etc.). We believe the current markets are changing and need solutions to be implemented very fast in order to change their strategies. “

Key Features:

  • White label product for fast Minimum Viable Product (MVP) implementations since 2015.
  • User-friendly front-end web platform for acquisition and investor management.
  • Web platform connects to Crowd Valley API for compliance support and workflows.
  • Crowd Valley backend API has over 100 enterprise clients
    Wide range of programming languages and technologies offer extensive customization
  • Wide range of programming languages and technologies offer extensive customization

Geography: US, UK, South America, Latin America, other English/Spanish speaking countries.

Applications:  Investment crowdfunding (Equity and debt), IT Solutions, Business process consulting, Outsourcing and recruiting, Training

Sample platforms: CrowdBuilt

Other Nuggets:

“We offer the capability to move to a fully custom solution in the future, if it suits the client.”

The Players – Real Estate Only

See: Should I invest in crowdfunded real estate?

D) GroundBreaker (New York, NY)

Positioning: A Launchpad for real estate ventures. White label platform for real estate capital raisers to market their deals, raise money and manage investors.

Roots: Pivot in 2014 from initial marketplace offering.

“While running a real estate crowdfunding marketplace, we were not able to accommodate every deal that was pitched to us… Clients asked us if they could license our software to streamline their own fundraising operations without depending on their deals being approved by a third party and while protecting their intellectual property.  We realized that in the not so distant future, virtually all real estate capital raisers would adopt a similar technology.  So we made a full pivot.”

Key Features:

  • Complete White Label Platform
  • Real Estate only (equity or debt)
  • Compliance for Reg A, 506 (b) and (c), Reg S, Title III or Intrastate
  • Investor verification, escrow, online distributions, stock certs, audit trails
  • Custom web design and programming available
  • 30 day turnaround for web design

Geography: US, some other English speaking countries.

Applications: Real Estate Crowdfunding, Investor Management, Private placements.

Sample sites: Commercial Funding Exchange, VestMunity, CrowdTrustDeed

Other Nuggets:

Offer SaaS model where capital raisers can operate on a subdomain and launch a deal in under 30 minutes.


E) Investor Management Services (Charlotte, NC)

Positioning: Offer tools that help Commercial Real Estate (CRE) owners manage their assets and investors more effectively and add efficiency to back office functions.

Roots: Commercial Real Estate Company. Part of Quiet Stream Financial portfolio of companies.

“The IMS Platform was initially developed in 2014 to solve one main problem. There is a lack of transparency between sponsors and investors. In today’s world everything is managed and monitored online: bank accounts, stocks, 401k, etc. Why not commercial real estate investing?”

Key Features:

  • Focus on commercial real estate owners
  • Robust feature set for investment workflow, management, reporting
  • Investor dashboards, document access, CRM and activity tracker
  • Distribution waterfalls and processing
  • Sponsor dashboards, portfolio valuation, loan tracking

Geography: USA.

Applications:  Commercial real estate, Investor management, back-office.
Sample clients:  Phoenix Investment Funds, Aion Partners, Pensam Capital.

Other Nuggets:

Over 100 commercial real estate owner customers with $77B in combined assets under management.

 

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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 1300+ 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 at www.ncfacanada.org.

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