Decentralized Venture Ecosystem

Category Archives: Online Funding Campaigns

JOBS Act of 2012: Ten Years of Legalized Investment Crowdfunding

Crowdfund Insider | | Apr 5, 2022

Jobs Act Sherwood Neiss and Jason Best - JOBS Act of 2012: Ten Years of Legalized Investment CrowdfundingNCFA:  Congrats JOBS Act and to everyone who moved the needle back then and continues to move the needle now.  This was the catalyst to peer to peer platform finance, emergence of 'arm chair dragons', VC as-a-service, and to the popularity and growth of AltFi and Fintech broadly

The JOBS Act of 2012 was signed into law by President Barack Obama ten years ago today, on April 5, 2012. In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats joined together to help private firms raise much-needed growth capital via online securities offerings.

Under the new rules, Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF), and Regulation D 506c were created. Regulation A (Reg A+) received a key update for a securities exemption that effectively no one used prior to the JOBS Act. Firms using these exemptions were initially able to raise up to $1.07 million using Reg CF and up to $50 million under Reg + – from both accredited and non-accredited investors.  Reg D 506c, approved online capital formation from accredited investors. A new financial intermediary was created as well. Funding Portals, a new type of intermediary, are FINRA regulated platforms that are legally able to issue securities under Reg CF (along with regulated broker-dealers).

See:  Crowdfunding is Now a Serious Way for Private Ventures to Raise Capital

Now, becoming law did not mean these new rules were immediately actionable. It took the Securities and Exchange Commission years to complete everything. It was only in mid-2016 that the SEC approved the final rules for Reg CF.

Last year, the SEC improved securities crowdfunding rules by raising the Reg CF funding cap from an anemic $1.07 million to $5 million – far more in line with seed rounds. Reg A+ got some attention too as issuers are now able to raise up to $75 million in a min-IPO type offering. There were other improvements too.

Today, securities crowdfunding platforms have raised over a billion dollars – creating new jobs and allowing younger firms – frequently outside established tech hubs – to raise growth capital.

Around the beginning of 2022, CI connected with Sherwood “Woodie” Neiss, Principal at Crowdfund Capital Advisors and a key proponent in the creation of the JOBS Act who was there when the bill was signed into law, said the industry is at a tipping point as investors backed startups at a record pace during 2021.  Neiss said that the online capital formation sector is “accelerating as we’ve never seen” before.

Sep 2013:  Why is September 24th a Huge Day for Entrepreneurs? Title II of the US JOBS Act and Crowdfunding for Accredited Investors Begins

We reached out to Neiss earlier today for his thoughts on the ten year anniversary of the JOBS Act, he shared:

“It is hard to believe that ten years ago today, we were sitting in the Rose Garden as President Obama signed Regulation Crowdfunding and the JOBS Act into law. Tearfully, I sat there as he called the work that we did walking the halls of Congress, lobbying, testifying, and negotiating the final framework for Investment Crowdfunding a “gamechanger.” Today, like a proud parent, I look over the industry data, and I see how thousands of innovative pre-IPO startups and small businesses all across the United States have been able to turn to a new pool of investors … the American people.”

See:  US Investment Crowdfunding Exemptions Explained

“I’m humbled that it has already become a billion-dollar industry; how we delivered on what we promised: a balanced way for entrepreneurs to raise necessary money from willing investors while providing investors with the disclosures the regulators wanted them to see and guardrails to mitigate losses; and how it will forever change the way companies are funded going forward,” he added. “At the same time, I realize there is still much to do, and our work is not done. We will continue to be a champion for the industry, collaborate with the regulators and help scale our nation’s entrepreneurs so anyone with a great idea and a passionate group of investors can perhaps become the next unicorn!”

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - JOBS Act of 2012: Ten Years of Legalized Investment CrowdfundingThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:

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Ways you can help support Ukraine

NCFA Canada | March 2, 2022

stand with Ukraine stop war - Ways you can help support Ukraine

Below is a growing list of ways you can help support Ukraine:




Links from the Globe and Mail:  Support a verified fundraising campaign for Ukraine

If you see a crowdfunding campaign promising help to Ukraine, check it out carefully to see whether it’s legitimate. Look for an association with a registered charity that will have the means to distribute funds, as well as verification in place. Here are some resources Canadian and Ukrainian organizations are sharing:

Links from Sifted

Help NGOs build digital solutions for a crisis

Tech To The Rescue describes itself as a “voluntary movement of tech companies to help social impact organisations around the world implement digital solutions to scale up their influence”.  The organisation has launched a #TechforUkraine initiative, to help charities in the country digitise and scale up the impact they’re having.

Tech companies can help NGOs build systems for resource distribution, payments and donations, secure messaging and much more. So far, it says 350 companies and 400 freelancers have pledged their support.  It’s planning to launch an internal database of humanitarian aid from various NGOs, a Ukrainian map of Poland with an API to connect and display various forms of support and a chatbot in Ukrainian aggregating useful information from various sources.

👉  The organisation is inviting companies with tech skills to register here.

Get building

Similar to the #TechforUkraine initiative, but for individuals (rather than companies) with tech skills wanting to lend their help, Ukraine Global Taskforce was launched by Gustavo Iwanaga, a Google engineer based in Germany.

He says the purpose of the coalition is to “come together (irrespective of background) and work on various projects globally that will altogether minimise the impact of the war”.

Iwanaga says he has over 300 people in over 48 countries working on projects, from managing the food chain to prepping first aid kits. One goal is to develop a mobile app that will provide Ukrainians with digital solutions and support authorities with real time data.

While Iwanaga’s keen for anyone with skills to sign up — from full stack engineers to UX designers — he’s called out for people in HR to help structure the team.

👉  Interested people can sign up using this form.

Donate a skill

Ukraine Tech Collective matches international software developers with job vacancies left by Ukrainian software engineers who are involved in the war effort.

“Kind of an NGO version of maternity cover,” the initiative aims to make sure developers in Ukraine continue to get paid and small businesses can stay operational.

👉  For more information click on this link.

Hire Ukrainian tech workers remotely

Remote Ukraine is a new employment platform. It matches companies with highly trained tech talent who are looking for work as they try to escape violence in Ukraine. The work can be posted in the form of one-off tasks, short-term contracts or full-time work.

The site also handles payments, so whether you’re looking for short-term or long-term tech support, it seems like a pretty seamless way to hire Ukrainians.

Host Ukrainians in your home

Got a spare room? Sign up on We Help Ukraine if you’re able to host a Ukrainian who needs a place to stay. The platform was launched on Sunday and founder Hugo de Sousa tells Sifted that it’s been “an overwhelming experience” to see how many people have come together to build it in such a short period of time.

👉  Register your interest here.

72 - Ways you can help support Ukraine How your startup can show solidarity. Ukrainian founders have created this guide for businesses that want to "support Ukraine and help stop the war, without firing a bullet".


72 - Ways you can help support Ukraine Other ways the tech community can help. Here are a number of things you can do right now, from helping NGOs build digital solutions for the crisis to offering space in your home for Ukrainian refugees.


72 - Ways you can help support Ukraine Ukrainian tech leaders to follow on Twitter. Sifted has put together a list of people from Ukraine’s global tech community who are sharing their views and experiences from both inside the country and further afield.


72 - Ways you can help support Ukraine #TechForUkraine. Tech To The Rescue’s campaign aims to connect Ukrainian non-profits with tech companies to help them design digital solutions to coordinate humanitarian aid.

72 - Ways you can help support Ukraine72 - Ways you can help support Ukraine Are you a hacker? A Ukrainian cyber startup has launched a new global hackathon and is calling for volunteers to help expose Russian software vulnerabilities.

From National Bank of Ukraine:  NBU Transfers Money From Special Account for Military Needs

As previously reported, the NBU has opened a special multi-currency account to raise funds for the Ukrainian military after the authorities imposed martial law in Ukraine in response to Russia’s armed aggression and the threat to Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity.

Funds from a payment card can be remitted here.

As before, funds can be wired through a bank account using these payment details.

From Global Blockchain Business Council

While we cannot and do not specifically endorse any of the below mentioned means of support, we encourage everyone to consider how they can assist those who are suffering due to this unprovoked invasion

  1. According to a recent Bloomberg article, and GBBC’s anecdotal assessments based on member feedback, more than US$30mn has been raised in BTC, ETH, USDT, DOT, and DOGE (which has just been officially added). A CryptoPunk NFT, valued at ~US$200,000 was also transferred to Ukraine’s Ethereum wallet. GBBC member Merkle has created a dashboard tracking crypto donations. Here’s the Twitter post calling for cryptocurrency donations posted by the Ukrainian government on Twitter. According to CoinDesk, by Monday morning, ~$6.5 million worth of ether had been moved out of a government wallet to a Kyiv-based crypto exchange to help fund the purchase of critical supplies for evacuees, local military personnel, and the government. The Ukrainian government also announced via Twitter that it will be conducting an airdrop on March 3rd at 6pm Kyiv time to donors that have contributed to its official crypto addresses, this could be the world’s largest crypto airdrop to-date.
  1. Additionally, several DAOs have been set up to raise funds and coordinate aid, including UkraineDAO, set up by Russian art collective Pussy Riot, members of PleasrDAO, and Trippy Labs. set up by Russian art collective Pussy Riot, members of PleasrDAO, and Trippy Labs. The Ukrainian flag NFT being auctioned by the DAO has been sold to a pool of donors for ~US$6.5mn. Proceeds are expected to support Ukrainians affected by the invasion. Whether you agree or disagree with governments using and receiving crypto, the rate at which projects have been deployed and raised money in a crisis is precedent setting. Furthermore, there are DAOs in development that will seek to verify and record information related to the crisis as evidence of war crimes.
  1. On February 25, Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, announced on Twitter that Ukraine is creating an “IT army” targeting key websites and assets in Russian cyberspace. The “army” is organized under a Telegram chat, where tasks and cyber targets are posted. According to Minister Fedorov all types of digital talents are needed. As of writing, the IT army has more than 275,000 volunteers.

Nicholas Kristof on substack

That said, people keep asking me about Ukraine, and here are some suggestions:

Doctors Without Borders is just a first-rate organization that was already workin in Ukraine and is now figuring out how best to respond to the war there. I’ve seen Doctors Without Borders at work in many war-torn countries and have enormous respect for their courage and commitment. Once when I was fleeing an area in Darfur that I felt was unsafe, they were arriving. They’re the real thing.

International Medical Corps is similar to Doctors Without Borders and also does great work in Ukraine. It has a reputation for staying after the emergency is over to help build local capacity.

Kyiv Independent is a news source in Ukraine that many of us turn to understand the devastation unfolding there. It is raising money through crowdfunding on GoFundMe.

Save the Children is active in Ukraine and has a fund to support kids caught up in the conflict there. It’s a terrific organization and has a network on the ground.

Plenty of other aid groups do fine work and may be asking for your support. But see if they actually are on the ground in Ukraine or are simply helping people who have left the country.

While there are more options, I think your investment in any of these organizations I name above will be money well spent.

StartupCraft Founder (linkedin announcement)

Today we are happy to announce that we have launched the project to help Ukraine through the NFT collectibles campaign - Cossack Club.

If you can buy an NFT yourself or share a word in your network - that would be great!

We connect through the network of local volunteers and this help often saves people's lives. We are going to send updates on the social networks, Discord, and Telegram about the progress.

The main page is here:


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Ways you can help support Ukraine The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:

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Crypto’s humanitarian side in the time of War

Vox | | Mar 1, 2022

crypto exchange in ukraine - Crypto's humanitarian side in the time of WarCryptocurrency is now a more mainstream part of the global financial system, which means that — for better or for worse — it’s inevitably a part of international conflict, too. This is on full display as Russian forces invade Ukraine. Millions of dollars in crypto have flowed in to support Ukraine’s army and hacktivist groups. Even the Ukrainian government is now soliciting donations in crypto and has already raised more than $15 million. Some Ukrainians are also turning to crypto as an alternative to Ukrainian financial institutions, which are limiting people’s access to bank accounts and foreign currency. In a scenario where governments are in chaos, it’s difficult to rely on traditional banks, and there’s fear of surveillance. So a relatively anonymous system where no government is involved is appealing.

“The fact that it can’t be frozen, the fact that it can’t be censored, and the fact that it can be used without ID is very, very important,” Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer at the Human Rights Foundation, told Recode. “And they are why bitcoin is such an important humanitarian tool.”

See:  Amid Russian invasion Ukraine’s official Twitter account posts pleas for crypto donations

Just how useful an avenue crypto is for people in crisis or organizations in need of donations is up for debate. You need a relatively sophisticated understanding of technology to use crypto, and if you weren’t already set up for it, the onset of a war might not be the moment to try to do it. Plenty of donations to Ukrainian groups are flowing in just fine using more traditional currencies.

Ukrainians are using crypto — but there are limitations

Right now, at least some Ukrainians escaping the country seem to be taking their crypto with them, which they hope to convert back into fiat currency once they arrive to safety. Others seem to be looking toward crypto as a way to store their wealth as Ukraine’s economy collapses; the country’s central bank has already suspended electronic cash transfers and is blocking Ukrainian citizens from withdrawing foreign currency. Trading on the Ukrainian crypto platform Kuna reached its highest level since May 2021 this past Friday.

“In Ukraine right now, you can download a bitcoin wallet open source — totally unconnected from your ID — and you can generate an address via a QR code or an alphanumeric string,” Gladstein explained. “You can paste that to me, I can send you $1,000, and it goes through in a few minutes.”

See:  Pomp: We Should Not Normalize Economic War On Innocent Civilians

Using crypto in the middle of a crisis isn’t necessarily easy. For one thing, you need an internet connection and a working device. You also need to know how to use crypto, which has a steep learning curve and is something people aren’t going to be able to pick up quickly in moments of crisis.

“It might work for some people, but they need first to unfreeze their assets, transfer them into digital currency, and then manage to get out [of the country], which is actually the main problem right now,” Coppi said. “And then when they’re out, hope it hasn’t devalued too much.”

Continue to the full article --> here

NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Crypto's humanitarian side in the time of War The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:

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Amid Russian invasion Ukraine’s official Twitter account posts pleas for crypto donations

The Block Crypto | Michael McSweeney | Feb 26, 2022

crypto ukraine donations - Amid Russian invasion Ukraine's official Twitter account posts pleas for crypto donationsUkraine's official Twitter account issued direct appeals for cryptocurrency donations on Saturday amid the ongoing invasion by Russian military forces.

As of press time, the official account, @Ukraine, has shared three such messages, though the first two were deleted. The addresses posted – for bitcoin as well as ether/USDT – remained consistent, though the wording of the appeals changed in each iteration. It is unclear whether the messages were purposefully deleted and reposted or if the inclusion of cryptocurrency addresses triggered controls put in place by Twitter following the 2020 account hackThe donation addresses were also shared by vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov's verified Twitter account as well as in his verified Telegram channel.

When reached via a press contact email listed on its website, The Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation, which Fedorov leads, told The Block that:

"The communications channels of the Ministry Of Digital Transformation of Ukraine and Minister Mykhailo Fedorov are secure. We are not hacked. This is [the] official position and messages we want to share.  We are trying to contribute to the Ukraine’s victory and raise the awareness of international society on what’s happening in Ukraine. In every possible way we can," the representative continued.

Ukrainian diplomat Olexander Scherba also shared the Ukrainian account's donation appeal.

See:  Medvedev Says Russia May ‘Nationalize’ Foreign Assets in Response to Western Sanctions

Blockchain data indicates that the BTC address has garnered a total of 9.78612041 BTC as of press time, with the earliest transaction being posted on February 24.

Roughly 85 ETH has been sent to the listed address. Data from Etherscan indicates that donations have also been made in the form of USDT, USDC, as well as several non-fungible tokens.

Still, the messages have raised concerns about their veracity, especially given that the Russian military has conducted cyberattacks during its invasion. Among those expressing caution was Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who urged people to avoid sending donations absent additional verification.

Justin Sun, founder of Tron, wrote on Twitter that he spoke to the Ukrainian embassy of the World Trade Organization, claiming that the embassy confirmed the messages.

See:  Giving block reports, Crypto philanthropy jumped nearly 16x in 2021

Elliptic, the blockchain analytics firm that has been tracking donations amid the Ukrainian invasion, said Saturday that $5.1 million worth of crypto has been donated in recent days across nearly 3,000 donations.

Continue to the full article --> here

NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Amid Russian invasion Ukraine's official Twitter account posts pleas for crypto donations The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:

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Freedom Convoy Continues, Fundraiser Raises $542K in Bitcoin | Jamie Redman | Feb 8, 2022

freedom trucker convoy - Freedom Convoy Continues, Fundraiser Raises $542K in Bitcoin

PM Justin Trudeau Insists Trucker’s Protest ‘Has to Stop,’ Florida Governor to Investigate Gofundme’s Actions

The Freedom Convoy 2022 is still ongoing as thousands of people have surrounded the parliament buildings in downtown Ottawa, Ontario. The protest started on January 29, as Canadian truckers objected to the new coronavirus vaccine and testing rules.

On Monday, after falling ill with Covid-19, while being fully vaccinated and boosted, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed parliament for the first time since he caught the coronavirus last week. ​​”Individuals are trying to blockade our economy, our democracy, and our fellow citizens’ daily lives. It has to stop,” Trudeau insisted.

See:  Giving block reports, Crypto philanthropy jumped nearly 16x in 2021

Trudeau’s statements follow the American crowdfunding platform, Gofundme, shutting down the Freedom Convoy’s fundraiser and telling the public it would be returning donations. The fundraiser raised $9 million for the truckers before Gofundme shut it down and the decision was met with criticism. After Gofundme reversed the Freedom Convoy’s fundraiser, Florida governor Ron DeSantis promised to investigate Gofundme’s decision. “I will work with [Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody] to investigate these deceptive practices,” DeSantis said.

Hundreds of Thousands in Censorship-Resistant Crypto Raised Since Gofundme Reversed Truckers’ Fundraiser

Three days ago, News reported on cryptocurrency advocates reacting to Gofundme’s decision and two crypto-infused fundraisers. A Bitcoin cash (BCH) supporter started a Flipstarter fundraiser in order to raise 100 BCH for the truckers and so far, the Flipstarter has raised 24.10 BCH or close to $8K using today’s exchange rates. Another fundraiser our newsdesk reported on was crafted by a Twitter account dubbed: “Honkhonk Hodl.”

See:  Bank of Canada Staff Paper: Bitcoin Adoption and Beliefs in Canada

Honkhonk Hodl’s fundraiser — hosted on the Tally platform — has raised $541K or 12.41 bitcoin (BTC) so far and people can donate onchain or leverage the Lightning Network to send support. 53% of the BTC donors donated to the Freedom Convoy’s fundraiser onchain, while the rest utilized the Lightning Network. According to an interview with one of the fundraiser’s founders and the Toronto Star reporters Alex McKeen and Grant LaFleche, the fund’s keys are being held by five different individuals.

Continue to the full article --> here

NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Freedom Convoy Continues, Fundraiser Raises $542K in Bitcoin The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:

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Fintech Fridays EP56: How We Raised $426 million Using Rewards Crowdfunding

NCFA Canada | Jan 21, 2022


NCFA FF EP56 Zach Smith Funded Today  - Fintech Fridays EP56:  How We Raised $426 million Using Rewards Crowdfunding

EP56: How We Raised $426 million Using Rewards Crowdfunding

Featured Guest:

ZACH SMITH, CEO and Co-Founder, Funded Today (LinkedIn)

Zach Smith is a serial entrepreneur having never had a "real" job his entire life. He's always starting, selling, running, and managing businesses. Mr. Smith loves helping others turn their dreams, ideas, and inspirations into successful companies. This passion led to his creation of Funded Today, LLC, the world’s most successful crowdfunding firm. Funded Today has now cumulatively raised over $426 million and counting for 4,000+ crowdfunding campaigns across the world and in 2018 was the 27th fastest-growing-privately held company in the United States on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list, and #2 in Utah. Chances are, if you've seen a successful campaign on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, Zach Smith and Funded Today have been the driving factor behind its success!

Mr. Smith graduated Summa Cum Laude as the valedictorian from Weber State University's Goddard School of Business and Economics, with a business degree specializing in accounting. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and has been featured in numerous publications including Mixergy, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, and Forbes. He is the author of the Amazon bestseller, Funded Today: The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding, and is also a sought-after keynote speaker at CrowdCon, Import Summit, the Canadian Crowdfinance Summit, Converge, and many others.

Zach is a curious soul who craves knowledge and learning and never stops asking questions. Zach enjoys real estate investing, angel investing, private lending, playing competitive indoor soccer, competitive over-the-board chess, basketball, tennis, spikeball, reading and listening to business biographies and autobiographies, traveling, and working with entrepreneurs. He is married to the beautiful and talented opera singer, Courtney Bergen, has a doll of a daughter named Elliot 'Ellie' Jane, a little baby boy on the way due in early March 2022, and a gorgeous goldendoodle named Arwen, and resides in the glorious city of Ogden, Utah.  To get in touch via email:

About Funded Today

Funded Today helps startups to succeed, especially through the fast-paced world of rewards-based crowdfunding. Since mid-2014, it has emerged as the world’s largest crowdfunding agency, and among the most successful, having served 3,751+ entrepreneurs worldwide with its consulting, creative, and/or marketing services, which helped 1,637+ campaigns to raise $426,632,695+ altogether on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. You may visit its reviews website to read and/or watch dozens of testimonials from its many satisfied past clients.   For more info please visit the website:  Funded Today

About this Episode

Checkout this not to be missed episode with NCFA Founder Craig Asano and Zach Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Funded Today.  In 2017, Zach delivered a keynote at NCFA's Canadian Crowdfinance Summit in Toronto after raising $150 million dollars.   Fast forward to today, and the Funded Today machine has raised north of $426 million USD and counting.  In this episode, learn what it takes to be a serial entrepreneur -- "It's not really about how much money you raise on the platform, it's about what you learn from the money that you've raised."  They discuss the story of Funded Today, pivoting, diversifying investments, being strategic, doing what you love, and of course how to raise millions of dollars with rewards-based crowdfunding including a couple of real life examples.  If you have an innovative project, gadget or piece of hardware, or have an app or board game and want to know if you can crowdfund dollars for it in 2022, tune in now....grab a cup of your favourite and dig in.  Enjoy! 

Funded Todays Logo Green - Fintech Fridays EP56:  How We Raised $426 million Using Rewards Crowdfunding

Subscribe and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more podcasts here:

Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4


Fintech Friday Transcript of Episode 56:

Zach Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Funded Today

Intro: Welcome to fintech Friday's a weekly podcast brought to you by the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and partners. Covering all things fintech, blockchain, AI and alternative finance.


Craig Asano: [00:00:02]  Hello, everyone. My name is Craig Asano, the founder and CEO of NCFA Canada, welcoming you to season four, Episode 56 of Fintech Fridays, a weekly podcast brought to you by NCFA partners where we sit down with incredible people in the fintech and funding community around the globe to talk about trends, product innovations, developments and challenges. Today, we have an absolute legend joining us from the rewards-based crowdfunding space. I'd like to introduce Zach Smith. He's the CEO and co-founder Funded Today. Some of you may have remember him from keynoting at the 2017 Canadian CrowdFinance Summit in Toronto. That was an illuminating talk. We also have that hosted somewhere on NCFAs YouTube channel. I think Funded Today may have also that hosted but Funded Today is the world's most successful crowdfunding agency. In the past seven years, Funded Today has cumulatively raised a whopping $426 million dollars. Yes, I said that they're approaching and counting and growing towards half a billion dollars. That will be a day. They've worked with 4000 plus crowdfunding campaigns around the globe, and they were ranked in 2018 one of the fastest, I think, the twenty seventh fastest privately held company in the U.S. on the prestigious five hundred list number two in Utah, where they hail. Chances are, if you have seen a monstrous, successful rewards based crowdfunding campaign, whether it's on Kick or Indiegogo. Zach Smith and the team and his partner have Funded Today have probably been the driving factor behind its success. So with that introduction, Zach, I'd like to get into the podcast. Welcome to the show!


Zach Smith: [00:01:56] Hey, thanks for having me, Craig. Appreciate it. Glad to be here. It's nice to kind of be back and talking to some Canadians. I spent a couple of years of my life in Toronto, so it's always good to give back to that community.


Craig Asano: [00:02:07] Two years? Did I missed it? What were you doing in Toronto for two years?


Zach Smith: [00:02:11] I was just doing a service mission for my church, so. You are back when I was a kid.


Craig Asano: [00:02:18] You're a man of many talents, I can tell you, because I've got a long bio and I only read a fraction of it. You even speak Mandarin Chinese says, Here you do. You're fluent. How did that come about?


Zach Smith: [00:02:30] That was also in Canada. So another wonderful thing the country of Canada is given back to me.


Craig Asano: [00:02:36] Well, you know, for the listeners here at Fintech Friday, Zach is also a lifelong learner. He's involved with angel investing, lending. He's an avid athlete. He's involved with just a like a ton of different sports, and he's a sought after speaker. So we're thrilled to have you here today, Zach, and want to kick things off by just, you know, tell us a little bit more about yourself what it's like to be a serial entrepreneur. How did you first become an entrepreneur?


Zach Smith: [00:03:05] Yeah. So it's kind of how I introduced myself. Anytime somebody says, Hey, Zach, what do you do? I say, I'm a serial entrepreneur. Now, not a serial killer. None of that Netflix how to make a murder stuff or anything. But for me, a serial entrepreneur is really simply, you know, it's an individual who's always working, but what looks like work to others feels like play for him. And rather than renting out time as an employee, they run small businesses and then they assume all the risks and rewards of those ventures. And so for me, being a serial entrepreneur is kind of intrinsically what it means to be me. I mean, I believe in I believe everything about entrepreneurship is kind of like, if you had to say who Zach Smith, serial entrepreneur, is kind of what I want to be associated with my name.


Craig Asano: [00:03:54] So that's your legacy. Well, what kind of businesses as a serial entrepreneur are you naturally gravitate towards?


Zach Smith: [00:04:02] Oh, I mean, sorry, I've got a little bit of a cough going on here, but basically I own 17 different businesses at this point in time, so things have transpired quite a bit even in just the last little while. So it ranges for me from a diesel mechanic repair shop out of my hometown of Ogden, Utah, to a gold and silver mint, a privately held mint that makes gold and silver coins and bars and sells them all around the world. And then, of course, Funded Today, which is, you know, in some ways, probably still my favorite most exciting company. I own a construction company. We're building a lot of single family homes, so it varies quite a bit. What am I attracted to? I think it would be 'pivoting' and making the right move at the right time to whatever business, I think makes the most sense when we talk about heavy inflation. Historically, gold and silver have been pretty good for that. When we talk about real estate, America is seen 20-29% increase in prices over the last couple of years in terms of appreciation of home value. So I'm always kind of keeping attention to trends, and I'm trying to attach myself to those trends to capitalize. And I did that with crowdfunding, too. Nearly a decade ago with Funded Today, I was the very first I was early on with email marketing before that was even a thing. I was very early on with Facebook advertising. I was early with Instagram advertising. I've always kind of been an early adopter, not the earliest adopter, but early before in terms of applicability, being able to apply these things to whatever needs to be applied to take advantage of that trend while it's hot. And when you do that because of scalability and because of like the connectedness of the world you can achieve, like exponential astronomical results in a very short period of time across all those industries that I mentioned.


Craig Asano: [00:05:43] That's incredible, is there a social bent to I mean, I get the economic pursuits and being surfing the edge of the curve, taking the risks, building and scaling. I mean, pivoting to actually how Funded Today, the story of how it was formed and how it evolved to the world's most successful or the world's largest, however you want to describe it. Four hundred and twenty six million is a big deal. What was the journey like? How did it go?


Zach Smith: [00:06:12] Yeah, it's a great story. And as I and you'll have to reference back to that presentation that I gave at the Canadian CrowdFinance Summit as well. But but very briefly, the story of funded today started actually with a pivot, believe it or not. So that's a that's a good Segway. Essentially, I was I was operating like an attorney or an accountant. I was billing on retainer and I had a client from my hometown, reach out to me and say, Hey, Zach, I can't pay you five hundred bucks an hour or whatever it was. I was charging at the time. But have you heard of this thing called Kickstarter? Have you heard of this thing called Indiegogo? I'd like you to take my invention, and she was a seamstress. She had just made this little running pouch called the Ru Sport and had put it all together and had created a prototype or two just by sewing it up. And it's essentially a wallet that attaches to your waistband with magnets and hold your car, your keys, credit card glue energies. If you're like a marathon runner, things like that and it doesn't bounce, doesn't chafe. So it was a cool little product and she's like, I wear it and I run 20 marathons a year or something. I'm like, Oh, wow, crazy. She's like, I can't pay you your fee, but I could pay you a percentage of all the money you raise. And I actually hadn't heard of crowdfunding because I was doing email, marketing, e-commerce, set up, early stage stuff like that, one that was still just kind of catching on before before.


Zach Smith: [00:07:27] Even like Clickfunnels and and Shopify and things like that became huge. And so I said, OK, let's give it a try. And so thirty five days later, for this particular product, we launched it on Kickstarter. We made a video, we designed a page and we raised them one hundred and fifteen thousand one hundred eleven dollars or something like that. And that was crazy. Six figures in 30 days, kind of thing. And suddenly everybody was knocking down our doors and say, Hey, how did you raise money for this crazy little wallet invention? We want you to raise money for our little widget. We want you to raise money for our new thing. And one thing led to another. Because of the scalability, because of the little formulas and secrets that we have kind of figured out before everybody else, we were raising money like nobody else could, and no one really knew how we were doing it. Essentially, it was through lookalike audiences and Facebook advertising and email marketing and some of those other things I was doing in my other company. But I had applied it across a very hot and growing industry at the time, crowdfunding rewards based crowdfunding specifically. And then it just went crazy from there, to put it mildly, and it still has. I mean, four hundred twenty six million now and counting as of just a couple of days ago.


Zach Smith: [00:08:31] You can follow the timer on our website. We keep it updated. It funded it today. If you ever want to refresh the page, it's kind of fun. Anyway, that's kind of how it went. We had a lot of stories and things along the way that that led to that, but it was one story like that thousands of people knocking down our doors and suddenly maybe being like, Oh, I guess there's something here. Truth be told, I didn't even immediately start the business Funded Today. I was working on some things and still going back to my business after I had raised the money for the Ru Sport product. And because of so many people reaching out to me, it was kind of like, Oh yeah, I better do something with this. So it wasn't as intuitive as you'd think that I was. Raise a bunch of money. Oh, let's go do this a bunch more times. It was more everybody reaching out to me and me, trying and trying and trying and seeing success after success, after success and then starting a business which worked out kind of cool. And that's how you should find your market. By the way, it was an easy lesson to learn because the customers were coming to me. I didn't have to do any outreach for our first thousand clients. They all hired us, essentially.


Craig Asano: [00:09:33] That's the beauty of crowdfunding. There's just that social networking element, and you know, how so how big? Obviously, I know that the funding meter and since the Canadian CrowdFinance Summit in 2017, I believe it was, I think you were at one hundred twenty six million around there, maybe $150 million. So you've tripled it since then. We'll talk to like this channel talks about startups, talks about scale ups. What was the trajectory? I mean, obviously it was explosive, but how did you operationalize it? Did you? Are you managing a large team now? And I know you've got a partner, Thomas, right? Could you talk a little bit about that?


Zach Smith: [00:10:13] Yeah, it's actually very insightful that you have those numbers. So 2018 turned out to be Funded Today's best year ever, and that year we were the second fastest growing, privately held company in America, and we made the prestigious Inc 5000 list. And so it's cool to hear you kind of say those numbers and I'm like, OK, where did we go? How do we get there? It makes sense because 2018 ended up being our our our biggest year at that period of time. So anyway, the scalability just kept going and going and going. And then I think we had a little bit of a plateau. And I think we've kind of reached a point where everybody knows about us. And so unless we're tied to a platform, we're tied to Kickstarter, we're tied to Indiegogo, we're tied to rewards based crowdfunding. So whatever platforms work on there, we're tied to that. And we can only grow as big as new inventors and inventions grow, essentially, which is one of the limiting factors of our market. Like, Hey Zach, why? Why isn't this a billion dollar company? Well, because there's not one hundred thousand new inventions. There's two to five thousand a month kind of thing, you know, and there used to be eight to nine thousand a month.


Zach Smith: [00:11:16] So it's kind of tapered off over the last couple of years as far as new people average inventions on the platform. So we grew, we grew pretty quickly. I think at our high we had 70 plus employees. Now we've made it a little bit more of a smaller team. We've become more efficient. We systematize lots of different things. And so by by being systemize, it's actually. Good or bad, it's made us be able to be more efficient with less employees, but still deliver good results, so I've kind of like that. Thomas is actually I would call him a serial entrepreneur as well, and he has taken on a couple of different businesses. He's essentially going after spammers with his with his law degree, and he's got a pretty interesting enterprise. And I don't know how much I can share about everything that he's doing because he's he's got some pretty big cases, but he's working against against litigating, against some pretty big clients around the world to try to make it so you don't get so many spam phone calls and fixing that industry.


Craig Asano [00:12:12] This is a huge problem.


Zach Smith: [00:12:14] Yeah, he's doing some pretty cool stuff there.


Craig Asano: [00:12:16] I, you know, my my dad got a call and they prey on seniors. He's 80 this year and basically they they want to get access to your computer, drop a widget, a code and then keyloggers and then drain your bank. It is. Yeah. So somebody's got to tackle it. I'm glad Thomas is doing it.


Zach Smith: [00:12:36] If you want information on that, if anybody listening or if you reach out to Craig, let me know and I'll connect you to directly to Thomas. He's got a he's got an app, he's got a pretty efficient team and. A full transparency, he has won some lawsuits for me when I was a beta tester where I would just turn people in who were spamming and he took care of it. So it's very effective and I made money on it too, so it's surprising how good it worked.


Craig Asano: [00:12:57] Wow, I'll have to look into that. But well, one thing you were just talking about when we're talking about scaling and the journey, and it's intricately linked to these platforms. So Kickstarter, we all remember when they passed your first billion and it exploded. And and I'm thinking back to the day 2017, you guys had a blow off top twenty eighteen. Yep, we're now 2022. What is happening on Kickstarter and Indiegogo? And are there competitors, real competitors and what is that impact to Funded Today's future? What do you think? What's the strategy?


Zach Smith: [00:13:36] Yeah, great question. So essentially, yes, because of our success, just like you see across every industry, whether you look at e-commerce, social media, marketing, all those types of things, there's thousands of different people in there, and it's probably hard to distinguish who is actually the best. When you say, who's the best that email marketing, who's the best at social media marketing? Who's the best agency? Who's the best coach for speakers or clients? If you want to do something there, who's the best person that can help you in your personal weight loss or fitness journey? A lot of those things have become so saturated it's very hard to stand out. We still stand out at Funded Today as far as crowd funding goes, but we do have lots of competitors. But over the last three years, I would say there's only maybe two or three that have been able to maybe make it through COVID or whatever other changes there were in the market as far as as far as that goes. But for a time, especially in 17, 18, 19, 20, those four years, I swear there was like 50 new companies that popped up and they were kind of doing like the Walmart model where they would come in and charge very little and, you know, maybe not deliver that good of results, but they would do something. And it did hurt us in the sense that we couldn't be like the apple of the market and charge high prices for great results. We had to actually meet some of those demands and things. And then the industry has changed a bunch as well. In terms of Facebook marketing, it's not nearly what it used to be as far as knowing what to do and how to do it, and it requires way more effort and way more, which is good. And that's why we've been able to stand the test of time to all of these things have been good for us because now all of those competitors. I don't know if they died or they just moved on to something else or what. And then we've gotten really good in email marketing. Believe it or not, email marketing is still incredibly efficient. And I remember just last year, probably two or three months ago, we raised one hundred and sixty seven thousand dollars for just one product. And, you know, in their 30 day period just on email marketing and so very, very, very effective. Imagine if you could send out emails and essentially make that much money from two or three emails. So we've built up massive lists of audiences that way, and we nurture them and take care of them and just follow all the principles of a good, good email hygiene and good email marketing. And that is done well, too. So in the past five years, as far as Kickstarter goes, the biggest change I've seen is less products because it's the same thing for Kickstarter. So inventors saw the same thing. They would see us raise a million dollars for a wallet, $2 million for smart luggage and then 50 other wallets and smart luggage would pop up. And so Kickstarter backers, I think, got savvy and said, Wait a sec, there can't be this many wallets. There can't be this much smart luggage because everybody was trying to do the same thing. Oh, this agency is doing really, really well. Let's start an agency. Oh, this product's doing really well. Let's launch a product. And so I think they got saturated with products, and I think some of those products didn't do so well. And then I think a lot of products had issues with fulfillment and delivering and then compound that with all the worldwide supply chain issues and COVID and everything else. And I think that hurt a lot of things, people. I mean, Amazon is such a behemoth and they can do the one or two day shipping. And so some people will just wait. But the problem with waiting is then new ideas and products can't be brought to life because these people are going to crowdfunding because they don't have money and they need to make money to bring these products to life. And so when you add all those things together, it makes it interesting.


Zach Smith: [00:16:38] And then probably the biggest change for crowdfunding has been board games, board games and those types of things. Dungeons and Dragons type stuff, characters, figurines. I talked to a guy who's raised millions of dollars. I actually went to a little board game conference at his house. It was kind of fun. They put together this little thing and we played a bunch of board games. These guys are like professional board gamers. I mean, it was an incredible experience. I'm more on the, you know, I play chess a lot, but then mainly I'm other sports like basketball, soccer, tennis, pickleball, spike ball, things like that. And so going to play board games was actually exhilarating. It was a lot of fun to play with these guys for five or six hours because they they knew everything about board gaming. And I mean, they were talking like strategy and monopoly kind of thing. Anyway, long story short, I was talking to this guy and he said, Yeah, you can't be a board game company if you're not on Kickstarter anymore. And that was not even a thing five years ago. So now if you're a board game company and you're not on Kickstarter, you pretty much cannot make it. That's how much Kickstarter has influenced board gaming at large, and I think it's been relatively a good thing from what I understood from him.


Craig Asano: [00:17:34] And it's amazing. I mean, I think when it launched, as you said, any gadget, anything innovative but copycats, were there supply chain issues... It's interesting how something that stood the test of time, or maybe it's the novelty of a board games, but it does make sense. There's a community. There's almost an equivalent number of backer Kickstarter communities as there are Reddit communities, it would seem.


Zach Smith: [00:17:56] Oh yeah, for sure. Absolutely. It's crazy.


Craig Asano: [00:17:59] Like, is there a geography that in some reasoning that like, let's talk about the backers in 2022 to make sure they like games? I always thought that people want to see companies. Their ideas come to fruition, so they back it. They get a deal, they get a discount, they test product. Sometimes maybe early. Maybe it's the first iteration. Is that still hold true? Or another way of saying this, like which kind of products are not working on Kickstarter that used to work on Kickstarter that our listeners need to know?


Zach Smith: [00:18:33] Yeah, that's a good question. The ones that work the best still are definitely board game means and techie I talk about ubiquity, plus something unique leads to huge chance for success. And so, you know, smart luggage is an easy one to talk. You know, a smartwatch is easy to talk about if you look at Pebble. That was the first smartwatch before Apple Watches and Samsung watches and all the smart watches were a thing, but it's a watch. Everybody likes to tell time, they need to know the time, and so a watch is ubiquitous. That's what that word means, essentially. But how did they make it smart? Well, they made it so it could do things that smart things could do. You could look at your text messages, you could check your heart rate, you can do all these other things right. And so those types of products are still the best. That's what you want to be able to do. You want to take something that's ubiquitous and then you want to make it unique. But the problem is a lot of people iterated too much on that. And you know, you get like these smart scales that can do five hundred metrics for your body. I have one and I'm like, How much did I weigh today? It gets a little overkill sometimes, too, you know, with all the different iterations and stuff, and you've got to focus on what's really going to matter. I like my smart. I like my smartwatch most for the pedometer feature. I like to be able to, you know, and to check my heart rate, and I liked it. It's monitoring my sleep. Those three things are awesome. And so when you're iterating on a ubiquitous item, don't iterate to create five hundred things that no one's ever going to check. It's got to be meaningful in their life now. I think that's the new word I would add in. How do you create meaning behind it? So it's not just a bunch of tech jumble mumbo jumbo that's being harvested for data and sold to big companies or something, right? It's got to mean something to me. I like to see if I can get 10000 steps a day and if my heart rate stays this after a soccer game and it's this resting and how did I sleep? What matters in that sense, is how you should go about it. And then in terms of what's not working, I'd say books aren't working nearly as well as they used to. Not that they weren't amazing, but it just seems harder and harder to raise money for books. Different indie type projects are a little bit harder to to raise money for.


Craig Asano: [00:20:30]  Why do you think category like that books? Is it that different than board games? And if they're using the messaging and making it meaningful and all of these insightful things, why books like I'm just trying to get my head around of the trends for the hot sectors or the not hot sectors?


Zach Smith: [00:20:54] It could it could be a chicken or the egg thing to a lot of people used to run books and they'd raise money on there. And then they raised whatever they did and then they never went back. And so if you never go back, you eventually lose the backers because they're not paying attention to it either. I think you could say something similar to leave for like Hollywood and movies. You actually had some pretty cool things on there trying to think Bridget Jones diary. That doesn't sound right. So right? It wasn't all right. I don't know which one it was, but there's a couple of projects like that that are actually big names, and they started out as Kickstarter projects. You don't see that anymore. You don't see, like Russell Crowe getting on there saying, Hey, help me fund this new movie, right? You saw that a little bit with Kickstarter, but you don't see that as much anymore. So again, the backers that got excited about that aren't there anymore.


Craig Asano: [00:21:35] The influencers.


Zach Smith: [00:21:36] Yeah, yeah, you don't see as much influencer marketing, I would say maybe that's different to an influencer marketing people have kind of caught on to that. Oh, you've got a million Instagram followers. Are they real? Are they fake? Are they? If I pay you fifty thousand bucks, did I actually get fifty thousand in return? I think metrics, just like I actually I kind of I kind of said this was going to happen and and it has to some extent, just because you have a million followers on Instagram doesn't mean someone's going to give you fifty thousand. Now people are more savvy and they understand that they'll they'll look at your last 10 posts and they'll be like, Wait, why does he only have one hundred likes on his last 10 posts if he's got a million followers or an Instagram, change their algorithm, too? So some of these people that do have a million plus followers on Instagram, just like Facebook did, they've pretty much restricted the organic reach. And by restricting the organic reach, influencers don't have nearly as much power and they have to be like everybody else, and they have to rely on ads and ad costs have gone up and that makes it more expensive. And so those things have impacted as well.


Craig Asano: [00:22:32] So if influencer marketing and the shifts in and sort of Facebook marketing and awareness and everybody knows what rewards based crowdfunding is about, I mean, how should entrepreneurs looking to raise some capital for x y z business approach and use crowdfunding to best to take the best from it? What are their strategies because it's obviously a stepping stone to early capital that can be built upon, and I think it's still true that you can connect with a wide variety of stakeholders that can bring more than just capital. They're not just backers, they're still ambassadors and all those good things like maybe we'll ask a question in this way. What are some of the things that entrepreneurs looking to use rewards based crowdfunding need to know or underestimate, or they haven't thought about that they should know the context of is it right for me and how can I do this and maybe also touch upon and this is like a multipronged question for sure, the DIY approach versus working with a company like Funded Today.


Zach Smith: [00:23:41] Great question. And let me couch my last thought on influencers as well with with one point. I think about this because I was reading something just a little bit before our podcast interview, Craig. Elon Musk Elon Musk tweeted about allowing merchandise to be bought by Dogecoin, which is for Dogecoin, Dogecoin, whatever you want to call it, it's basically a cryptocurrency meme coin or something that's taken off over the last couple of years. It went up 18 percent with one tweet from him. And so if you are the right influencer like Elon Musk, you can influence billion dollar markets incredibly well, and so influencer marketing works, you just have to be way more selective in terms of who you're reaching out to like if you can get Elon Musk to say something positive about your company. Yeah, you're going to make tens of millions of dollars, probably with one tweet. It's that crazy. So anyway, now as far as as far as your question in terms of how can we make crowdfunding successful today, number one, crowdfunding still is really good for validation. We call it the due diligence and product validation period. You can come you can come to us with an idea and we can tell you in 30 to 60 days or less after, you know, you spend a couple of thousand dollars kind of thing. Where else can you spend three thousand dollars and in 30 to 60 days know whether you've got a million dollar business or whether you need to fix some things. That's the most powerful thing for crowdfunding, in my opinion. It's not, and it never really has been, even though it's exciting to talk about how much money we've raised. It's not really about how much money you raise on the platform, it's about what you learn from the money that you've raised. Even these multimillion dollar projects we worked with pivoted, changed and adapt and adapted at least the ones that are still around and are very successful and created new products and iterated and talk to their customers. And that's the powerful part about crowdfunding. You reach out to your customers. Let's say you raise $100000 like the Ru Sport did. One hundred fifteen thousand Hey, what did you like about this? What did you not like and what and what did they do? And they've changed and the Ru Sport is still around. I just got an email from them yesterday that they read the Disney World Marathon and they were wishing everybody Happy New Year. So it's still a very successful company that's running today. And why? Because they talk to their customers, they iterated. I mean, they're at Disney and they've got the Minnie and Mickey Mouse version of their of their sport, right? That's a simple little pivot that they made that allowed them to get even bigger than they were when they first crowdfunded. And so iterating, talking to your customers, gathering that feedback now, let's say you fell. Let's say you're on a project and you needed to raise $100000 and you only raise $10000. Will you reach out to that group of ten thousand dollars and you say, Hey, why did you back my project? And then you figure out why they liked it, and then you look at your messaging and figure out how everybody else didn't realize that's what you were saying. And then you tweak it and then you launch again. Or if you raise no money. Then you figure out, well, that must not have been something anybody liked, and then you launch a new idea. And that's the power of crowdfunding for a couple of thousand bucks. Ten times over, you're twenty thousand dollars out and you finally have a winner. I think that's what's exciting about crowdfunding. Where else can you iterate and pivot and change and get that immediate customer feedback before you really spend any money? And then if you do raise tons of money now you have all this money that you can use to bring your product to life because you didn't have to buy any product before you begin, which is also exciting. And that, to me, is still why crowdfunding has a huge place in the entrepreneurial journey.


Craig Asano: [00:26:52]  You know Gofundme. Yeah, for sure. You never talk about them. I know you're working sort of exclusively with Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but I understood that GoFundMe grew very rapidly. I guess it's out of California. They've got an army of marketers. Yep. What? Compare and contrast that with like a Kickstarter communities?


Zach Smith: [00:27:17] Great. Great question. Gofundme. And last I checked, and it's probably still the case. They're the behemoth in the in the world. And it's not rewards based crowdfunding, though. As far as I know with GoFundMe, you give money to somebody who's asking for it just because you want to. Hey, I've got cancer, please or help. What I normally find is, in fact, I can give you a good example. I had a friend of mine. He fell off a roof and he died. And this was over the last couple of days, and he donated all of his organs and everything to charity. And he, when he died, when they when they took him off life support, he only had like 20 minutes or 13 minutes, some crazy amount of time to make it happen or whatever anyway. Some of his friends and family put together different GoFundMe links for him, and last I checked, I think they'd raised like fifty seven thousand dollars to cover his funeral costs. All these other things because they kind of told the hero story of this guy who was a really good dude who gave all of his organs away. And let's let's help him out so that he doesn't have any so that his family and his friends don't have any any trouble with that. That's how I see the appeal of a Gofundme. It's the emotional appeal, and you can get that in crowdfunding as well. But when you're like, Hey, help me bring this amazing wallet to life that I thought of doesn't have the same sense of this guy donated his organs to charity because he died, falling off a roof while he was working. Did you know what I mean?


Craig Asano: [00:28:32] Yeah. Well, one is donation, right? Yeah, that's a true cause-based crowdfunding and rewards is the more the entrepreneurial they're trying to build a business


Zach Smith: [00:28:41] That cause has that virality factor. Look, I'm telling you about this on the podcast. I saw it before you from 50 other people that had shared it. You're not going to get that with a wallet like unless you tell a really good story, unless you really make that emotional appeal. Incredible what you should do. You absolutely should try to integrate those cause based notions into your own Kickstarter or Indiegogo project, but it's very hard to do. And I think that's why I Gofundme is the behemoth as far as crowdfunding goes.


Craig Asano: [00:29:10] What is corporate crowdfunding still happening? Let's take a Canadian brand like a Canadian tire. They want to see. They need products for their shells, and they want to know if a product, whether it's sourced from Amazon or crowdfunding market, is going to be successful or not. So they do crowdfund. They validate. They test. It's a great use case for crowdfunding and then they have an agreement and they say, Listen, we'll buy a whole container stock shelves and you get your money and we did it through corporate crowdfunding. Ok? Do you see much of any of that going on?


Zach Smith: [00:29:45] You know, I see I see people who reach out to us who have products that would go into like a Canadian tire type place who raise money on crowdfunding. And then they're like, Look, we raise two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in the last 30 days on crowdfunding and then they get on Shark Tank or what's the Canadian one called Dragon Dragon? Then, yeah, Dragons Den. Yeah, they get on shows like that. And then that leads to opportunities across there. I haven't. I actually, I've seen Samsung. Samsung has actually run projects themselves on crowdfunding platform, specifically Indiegogo generally, and then they determine how those perform, and then they use those metrics to determine whether or not, how they if they want to scale it or build out on that. But most of the time, it's people like you and I who come up with a good idea. We run it on a rewards based crowdfunding platform, and then we take that success story with us and create press pitches for all the places that we want to get it as far as retail goes.


Craig Asano: [00:30:36] Yeah, yeah, that's that's true to the cause, the origin, the genesis of crowdfunding, rewards based crowdfunding, I think, is a way to get. What are some of the most memorable or strange campaigns you've worked on in the last couple of years or not worked on? You've seen them and you're like, OK? And how much of the reason like I want to, you know, cover some different ground here on this podcast?


Zach Smith: [00:30:59] Ok One one.  It's a good question, and I am trying to think right now to see. I remember I remember somebody who ran a project for a pickle. Let me let me see what it was about pickle. Kickstarter.


Craig Asano: [00:31:11] Wasn't it the potato salad?


Zach Smith: [00:31:14] Potato salad was memorable, for sure. Yeah. Oh, what was the pickle one? I think it was something like the potato salad one is a great one to it. It was kind of that was early on in crowdfunding. That was why was that years ago? Yeah. He basically wanted to make the most amazing potato salad recipe, and I guess I could be getting this thing wrong. But and he said, Give me, give me money and I'll make you. I'll test them out. I'll taste them all. I'll make the best one ever and you'll have the best recipe in the world when I'm done or something like that. And everybody thought, That's cool. He's crowdsourcing the best possible potato salad recipe, which isn't a bad idea for a lot of things like How often have you been on Facebook and said, What's the best this? You know, that's kind of what he did. And he and he made money on it. Believe it or not, I'm trying to think of the pickle one. But you know, it comes to mind. For some reason, he was like selling different pickles or something. But what's it called them?  I don't know.


Craig Asano: [00:32:01] Well, look in the NFT space, they're selling JPEGs, and I know there's a lot more that's going to happen with with non-fungible tokens, these NFTs. But they're getting a lot of money raised for some weird things like, you know, the ape NFT and others. But sticking on the crowdfunding like the I have a good idea here. Let's try to have a fictitious company and walk us through your approach. Some of the things and advice that they might have to consider for crowdfunding. So I'm just going to come up with like a pet app, like a dog or cat app, call it a dog cat app. And that provides health advice and connects these pet owners to vets. And they need some capital. They want to raise money. Would you say crowdfunding is right for them? What would you say to them?


Zach Smith: [00:32:53] Yeah. So the first thing I would say and we talked about this earlier, what things are doing well, what things are not doing well. The first thing is apps generally do not do very well on Kickstarter, but they do really well if you pair them with hardware. So the first thing I'd say with this particular product is how can we create a hardware item? And I've got just the idea. It's something that they wear around their leash that does something as far as dog care goes. My brother actually has something for this with his golden doodle. It, like tracks all the steps the dog takes and the dog takes like fifty thousand steps a day. It's just crazy, like how much dogs are moving around, especially his dog. I guess it's got a good backyard to play in. But we do something to pair a hardware item for the pet with this particular app. That's the first thing that we do. Next thing we do is we design a video and a page. And again, when we talk about hardware and we talk about apps, what is going to make this hardware in this app really great. You know, if we connect, if it connects them to online vets, when they have problems, then let's hope it's measuring some sort of vitals. So what can we measure on dogs as far as vitals go? Maybe it, maybe it can do something with, I don't know, taking pictures. Maybe it's doing something like that. I don't know. You'd have to get creative here. Maybe it's doing heart rate. Maybe it's checking for certain signs of a healthy dog and what makes it good? Maybe it can somehow track the fur of a dog or something. Or maybe it notifies you, you know, when you need it, when you do something like that. I don't know all the different things, like the crazy stuff that's happening as far as the smartwatch that I wear is even it's like, how is it doing a lot of this stuff? And apparently it's pretty accurate. I take it to my doctor when I go in, and he said he doesn't even have to do anything because I just send him the data from my app and he's like, OK, let me just confirm. And he confirms everything is right. So I think doing that is kind of cool too. Maybe it, maybe it saves on medical bills. I just had to pay three hundred bucks for my dog because she had something wrong with her on something, and it would have been nice if somehow we caught that proactively and it sounded like we could have. So if an app can do something like that, combined with some hardware element that is communicating with the app, that's the best way to make it happen. And then all you do is you make amazing VIDEO You make an amazing page, meaning all the design and the ad copy and you appeal emotionally, which is easy to do with dogs. I love my dog, most dog owners do, and I was not a dog person at all before I. It's been two or three years now since I've had a dog in my whole life. I was like, I'm never going to dog. It's a pain in the butt. It's hard. It's still, yeah, it is. For the most part, I have a pretty good dog still, but you got to go on a walk every day. Well, it's good to go on a walk every day because now you can, you can walk your dog. Maybe that's what it does. Maybe the I mean, as I continue to talk through this, you can kind of see how my mind works. So it's a great question. I appreciate you asking this one. But OK, the app says, Hey, what are you doing, man? Your dog hasn't walked in two days. It's a really good app like your dog needs to get out and walk. And so do you, buddy. You're getting fat. That's a really good thing, right? That could be a very good app. This might be an idea here. So somebody, somebody steal it I'm not going to knock on a pet.


Craig Asano: [00:35:41] Well, if you know someone with that hardware, I know someone with that pet app, we could connect the two.


Zach Smith: [00:35:47] It could honestly be really good. My wife's always like crap. Ari hasn't had a walk in three or four days because it's cold here in Utah now, too, so you don't want to go outside that much, but you should walk your dog. So maybe that's what it does. Maybe it's a really simple thing, just like you're like my watch, actually right now. Just a second ago, it said, Hey, get up and moving. You've sat around for whatever right? The app could shoot you a push notification and say, Look, your dog hasn't walked. Go take her on a walk. What we might be that might be enough. That literally would be enough to probably sell millions of copies of this thing if the price was right. The emotional pill was good, and all those things are like good nowadays, everybody wants to get healthier. You've got COVID and so everybody's thinking about what they can do to protect themselves. Well, getting outside and walking is a damn good way to take care of yourself, right? They even say if you get coronavirus, you shouldn't be laying down as much because that's how the pneumonia can happen. So look, now I'm making the emotional appeal. I mean, we've almost got this thing done, Craig. You start, let's start a project.


Craig Asano: [00:36:39] Let's do it. And how much are we raising if we do this and how?


Zach Smith: [00:36:42] And here's another I always like to try to raise millions.


Craig Asano: [00:36:46] Is this stuff? Yeah. If you only raise one hundred thousand, it's not moving the needle when you've raised four hundred twenty six million and you're almost half a billion. How much of this stuff has to be real, like, I've built the app, those versus I don't want to say vaporware, but you know, the intentions are good. I'm getting into the back of a napkin versus, it's here. Yep.


Zach Smith: [00:37:06] Great question, because then you're talking about costs, too. It's like, Well, this would be awesome, but I don't have two hundred fifty thousand bucks to make whatever it is, right? It's probably not that expensive because there's so much. The good part is there's a great book called 'Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal' Everybody should read it. Listen to it. Essentially, you could probably take a lot of this technology is probably available on Android or something, and that's allowed to use and maybe get this thing most of the way there without really having to spend too much money. But Kickstarter is pretty strict with prototypes. You've got to kind of show them that it does something. Specifically, Indiegogo has a cool little button on theirs that says, Hey, this is an idea on the back of a napkin, and I like that. I wish Kickstarter would do that, too. And you can choose different options within Indiegogo, depending on what your product is, and so you're not misleading your customers. If we came out and said, Hey, this thing already works, it's ready to go and then we take two years to send it to them, we told them we were going to take three months. That's one of the reasons why Kickstarter has not Kickstarter specifically, but why Kickstarter brand has been tarnished a little bit in some sense and Indiegogo as well. That's why Indiegogo made this pivot is because people were told they're going to get a product in three months and two years later, they still haven't got anything or it's not what they said. It was so great question, and it's absolutely something you need to do, but I wish they just had a button, and I wish backers could look at that button and say, Oh, OK, do I want to support this thing? It sounds really awesome. It looks like the likelihood of it happening is 50 percent sure. Let me throw a hundred bucks at it, right?


Craig Asano: [00:38:27] The probability of yeah, exactly operationalizing to a real, you know, brick and mortar, not a brick and mortar business could fully be a digital business, but it's not vaporware. Well, exactly. It's amazing with this. I've got another one for I had a call. Ok, it's a U.S. company. They are doing retrofitting of commercial buildings. This is all in the cleantech space. An example of a retrofitting is as simple as they're using incandescent light bulbs. We can just switch over to LEDs and it's 8x saved and there's lots of buildings and they also run programs. They get into surely the back systems of a commercial building. And apparently the U.S. is several years ahead. This is all in the carbon capture, carbon abatement area, but Canada just hasn't got their stuff together. So there's a group interested. They mentioned crowdfunding. They reached out to me. We had a good initial call. But what is your thought process to, you know, let's do a crowdfunding to raise awareness because ultimately consumers and others that are involved with this, not just building managers, I think if you're living in a condo, you can go to your building manager and say, we should be doing this because we're not doing our part. And it's it's this is the sustainability area as well.


Zach Smith: [00:39:45] So it's an awareness campaign. Are we hoping to raise money here or just spread the word and get a lot of people talking about this?


Craig Asano: [00:39:49] Well, we're we're there to raise money and then grow that need into a much bigger project. And maybe the government, maybe a larger private equity sort of institutional firm can get there and say, Listen, we've got like the numbers stack up the unit metrics, but there's 10000 buildings, OK, if we got half of them and we retrofitted them, here's the numbers.


Zach Smith: [00:40:13] And are we raising money for this particular company that does the retrofitting?


Craig Asano: [00:40:17] Well, that's a good question. Maybe some of the savings go to the consumers. Maybe some of the savings goes to reduce condo fees because the property manager realizes that we've got a, you know, a better long term sustainable plan for retrofitting their building.


Zach Smith: [00:40:32] And in this case, in this case, since the market has been defined as ten thousand. I did like how you said consumers and property owners could make money from it. That could be a crowdfunding element because we got to think of what reward we're giving because this isn't Gofundme, this is Kickstarter or Indiegogo. And so the reward could be if you join early, you're going to get this savings versus once we raise all this money, you're not going to get the savings. So act now and get the savings forever kind of thing. Be one of our early adopters. However, I would maybe hurt myself and I would say, why don't we just reach out to these ten thousand buildings and build this amazing PR campaign for them and get all their names, emails, phone numbers, addresses, whatever and build this whole targeted email personal campaign to all of them and just see how many we can get interested in this sort of thing and just reach out to them directly. Now we could do that through. Funny, too, because if we have data on them or if we can gather that data, then we can build targeted Facebook ads specifically to that particular subset of people. And if I can get all their names, emails, phone numbers, addresses, I could literally target just those ten thousand people and hit them up hundreds of times with all kinds of different messaging. And I may not even need crowdfunding to do something like that. I could arrange in person meetings where I have salesmen and people come in and close, but I would probably approach something like that and that in that regard, maybe.


Craig Asano: [00:41:41] Yeah. Well, like one of the ideas was we have Home Depot. It's like a hardware type store. But you know, you get some volunteers, you have them spread the word, the awareness cause, and they do this with refrigerators that are old cars or, you know, take them off the road, join this program, get a replacement for free. And there's a savings. There's a benefit. It's good for everybody, sort of like a win win if if it's if it's done properly. But you know, I'm just picking your brain, you know, this is this is the time to do it. But it's very interesting. You know, at the end of the day in 2022, what do you think is the main difference between a successful campaign and an unsuccessful one? And I want you to address the question of a DIY approach versus working with a company like Funded Today because obviously you guys know your stuff, it must come with a cost. But you're raising more money than they can ever do themselves, no doubt. So what do you think?


Zach Smith: [00:42:41] I'll hurt myself again, and I'll say as much as possible, if you're looking to save money, raise as much money as you possibly can on your own, find someone at your local school. If you're in high school, your high school or college who can make a video for you, find someone who's going into design that can design a page for you. You can look at every single case study Funded Today's done there on our website. If you want to see all the four hundred twenty six million dollars we've raised, just go to our website Fundacao today and then click on the tell you exactly what button is. Let me just look it up right now. Click on the Get More pledges. Learn more. It's a blue button and then scroll down midway on that page and you can start seeing every project we've worked with and you can click on those projects, look at the video, look at the page and then tell your people exactly what they need to do by analyzing all those and then launch your project. The other thing you can do is read my book. It's only like ten bucks or something, and you can listen to my podcast. I've got 40 free episodes. If you did all of that and then launch your project, you're well on your way. And now here's the best part, and this is where I come back in higher Funded Today after you've raised all the money that you can now. Conversely, you can hire us for all of these things up front. You know, call us three to six months before you plan on launching. We'll make you a video, we'll design you a page. We'll do everything that I teach in my podcast. We'll do everything that I teach in my book, and we'll make you. We'll give you the very best chance to succeed without you having to do all of that legwork yourself. So it's just an opportunity cost tradeoff.


Craig Asano: [00:44:03] I love it. Well, I think our listeners have have learned a ton here, we're going to move to perhaps one of my favorite parts of the show. It's these rapid fire questions where we're going to fire a quick question expecting, you know, a quick off the top of your head response. You're ready for something like that.


Zach Smith: [00:44:22] Yeah. Let's see what we can do.


Craig Asano: [00:44:25] So what's the one thing that you would chalk up funded today's success to?


Zach Smith: [00:44:30] Hmm. Good question. I read something recently from essayist Nassim Taleb, and he says there are two great addictions heroin and a monthly salary. So how does that answer that question, in my opinion? It answers the question because we were one hundred percent operating on performance. When the Ru Sport reached out to me, I made no money if I didn't raise them any money. And so because we were entirely motivated by performance, we were able to get very creative to try to raise as much money for our clients because the more money we raised for them, the more money we raise for ourselves. And I had a joke that I said years ago, and I guess it's still appropriate today. I make more money from broke, poor, starving student entrepreneurs than anybody else in the world. How? Because I only get paid when they get paid, and once they get their check from Kickstarter, they write me a check. And so I'd say maybe it's that. And then the other thing is, if I had to say one more thing, it's pivoting every single time throughout my life that I've had successful businesses, even with what I believe are going to be some successful businesses with those 17 companies that I own now, in addition to Funded Today.


Zach Smith: [00:45:33] It's been pivoting with funded today. What did I do? I was doing e-commerce and email marketing, and I pivoted into crowdfunding and it took those same things into this new industry. Where can you take those same things that are working in whatever business you have now and be thinking two to three years ahead? So that when whatever you're doing now stops working or doesn't work as well? You can go on to the next thing. And I've done this with Funded Today multiple times, even during the coronavirus, when everything else was really, really struggling and things were shut down and things were bad. We integrated email marketing in a way that hadn't ever been done before, and we have the biggest, most successful newsletter and email list in all of crowdfunding. And we raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes five six hundred thousand dollars a month from that newsletter alone, which is huge.


Craig Asano: [00:46:16] That was in a rapid response.


Zach Smith: [00:46:17] No, sorry about that.  I just thought if I talk really fast, it still counts as rapid.


Craig Asano: [00:46:25] I've come up with a follow up I actually like. All right. The million dollar question is like, Well, if it's such an interesting thing and everybody's got to be in the edge of the seat for this one. What do you and you've been in crowdfunding space for a long time and you went from email, marketing, crowdfunding and the industry is maturing, if not matured. And so what might the next pivot be? Hmm. Because people want to join you.


Zach Smith: [00:46:47] Crowdfunding or just like, OK, good pivot. Well, I've given I've given a few away and I hate to act like a prophet or something because I'm never. Then I look really stupid. But again, if you don't like, if you don't own up to what you say, then you're not really committal anyway, you know. So let me let me make some predictions. I guess I'll do a Gary Vaynerchuk thing, huh? I love my predictions are a self... What is that? What does that word? Selfish, selfish in a way? Yeah, self-fulfilling, sure. I'd like some of them to come through. I'd love to see real estate continue to do well because I'm heavily invested in real estate, especially single family homes, particularly in areas that are a little bit lower priced. So I'm early there. I'm hoping that I'm hoping that trends continue where people moved west from New York and California because they make so much money there and they they can get a three thousand square foot house in America where I live for five six hundred thousand dollars and it would be like $4 million in California for that same type of thing. And so they'll pay my prices, which are amazing for me, and they'll think they're getting a steal of a deal, which maybe they are not necessarily now, but maybe 10 years from now when Utah continues to grow and expand the way it has. Utah was number 10 in the top 10, I think, like three or four in the nation last year as far as job growth goes. If those things continue, I feel like real estate has huge potential in Utah. The other reason I love Utah is because of our mountainous landscape. It's hard to build. You can't go build ten thousand homes in Utah in a year, no matter who you are, because it takes excavation, it takes rock work, it takes rock crushing. It takes all these other things that make it a little harder to jump into and it's kind of capital intensive. And so somebody like me who has millions of dollars of play and leverage to credit different lenders and different things, I can take advantage of that where maybe a someone who's a little bit more younger can't just jump into the way that I did. And so I like real estate a lot. The other thing I like is I like gold and silver. I feel like gold and silver has potential. I feel like with the. What was it? Was it JPMorgan or no, it was Goldman Sachs or like, I can remember who it was. But there was this big lawsuit a year ago, year ago, year and a half ago, where they were basically artificially holding down the price of silver. And that's been revealed and things like that. Well, that should allow the price to actually reflect what it needs to be. And if that's the case, not only do I sell gold and silver, but I'm also buying up my inventory supplies. It should, it should increase in value. And then everybody wants to know my opinion on bitcoin, and I don't want to piss off. So many people says it's such a hot topic. I don't see the use cases yet as much like bitcoin, specifically Dogecoin. And again, that's not to say I'm not investing in I am. I'm investing in bitcoin. I've got I've got different holdings and a lot of those different types of things. I do think blockchain. Blockchain technology is here to stay. I just don't know if what everybody's doing right now, what are we doing right now? It seems like get rich quick schemes. And believe me, I even have like fear of missing out. I will tell you one thing I've never had fear of missing out. I've never felt like I didn't execute strong off any of my business because I've never been like, Man, I wish I would have done more to Funded Today in 2017 and 2018. I haven't felt that way because I felt like I did as much as I could have done. I made as much money as I possibly could have. I helped as many clients as I could with bitcoin and some of those others I'm like, Oh, I knew about that 17 years ago or something. I did whatever it was like. I remember I remember a guy who worked for one of my earlier companies, and he was telling me about bitcoin. His name was Ramin and Gilbert, and he's like, Hey, you should get into some bitcoin or something, you know? And it was back when it was a couple of pennies. And now what is it, forty fifty thousand dollars? So do I have regrets on that? In a way, but I also am still thinking it's so speculative that why is it actually worth money until someone can? And believe me, I'm not just saying this like, I'm naive. I probably know more about bitcoin and blockchain and all that than most of you listening to this. So I don't think I'm just some idiot who's like hiding behind my screen here and hasn't studied at all. I have. I've read thousands of things on. I've read the white papers I've looked at and I and I have money in it, but I have money that I can afford to lose. And that's the difference. I believe on things like this that are speculative, that are changing 15 to 20 percent every day, you probably should only put in money that you can afford to lose. And that's what I've done, and it's significant for me, but I don't necessarily believe in it.


Craig Asano: [00:50:47] Well, there's no question it's a risky asset, but trying to stay that these rapid fire questions. This a whole other episode.


Zach Smith: [00:50:55] I'll be quick.


Craig Asano: [00:50:57] One piece of advice you'd give to a budding entrepreneur?


Zach Smith: [00:51:01] Fail fast. Really simple. Fell fast like it's OK to lose. You're you're young. If you're an entrepreneur and you're young, you're calling yourself. If you're young, fell fast. Like, you probably don't have that much money if you lose it all. Who cares? You're probably getting supported by your parents. Awesome. Take advantage of that time when you get older, like me or Craig, or we have family and kids to support. It's scarier to take big risks. Elon Musk told a story where he was bankrupt, where he was two weeks from bankrupt in both of his businesses in a Tesla and SpaceX. That's a crazy risk to take, and he had like he was going to lose all of his PayPal money. That's how much of a risk he took. I wouldn't dare to do what he did there. So do it while you're young. Take these big risks. And then once you've been successful, take some of that risk off the table and in and diversify and invest in other things.


Craig Asano: [00:51:44] I love it. What is the next question? If you had one wish, what would it be?


Zach Smith: [00:51:52] It's kind of trite, but I think it would be great to have joy like pure utter bliss and happiness and not just like momentary because I believe we all have momentary fleeting moments of that type of thing. But it would be great to just have peace of mind and confidence and no worries and no risk and just joy for a really long period of time. Like just to be very joyful, not not all the time, because I believe you need that holistically harmonized aspect to understand how good it is to feel joyful. But most of the time, ninety ninety five percent of the time be great to just be joyful.


Craig Asano: [00:52:22] Do you meditate?


Zach Smith: [00:52:23] Yeah, I do.  Not, as well as I should, though.


Craig Asano: [00:52:25] That's it just being in the zone, you know, letting some of it go existing for for just so in. What's your favorite movie your book?


Zach Smith: [00:52:47] Yeah. You know, I like stoicism quite a bit, and it kind of goes to that joy thing too, because it helps you get rid of a lot of the worrying. So I like meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I was a big I'm a big fan of autobiographies, too, though I like I like Steve Jobs. I like shoe dog. I liked Washington a life. If you go back to like some of the early founders of America, things like that are pretty cool. Favorite movie, huh? Geez, I saw Dear Evan Hansen recently, I really liked it. That's apparently polarizing, but it was. I cried. I watched it last year and I cried. I never do that in movies. It was a great movie. But you know, classics like Shawshank Redemption probably remember the Titans. If you're looking for just an ultimate feel good, we can do it. We're the underdogs and just kind of blending in a lot of the different things that are still really important to fix in our countries nowadays. To remember, the Titans tackles a lot of that. So probably stuff like that.


Craig Asano: [00:53:37] Well, there you have it. Stuff that you but if with Omicron here, if you do, you get away. Do you get any holidays? Like would you go somewhere? Where would you go?


Zach Smith: [00:53:45] Not as much, if not as much. I've kind of been keeping it pretty close to home the last couple of years just because, again, I kind of don't want to piss anybody off, too. So I'm trying to just stay within my own thing and do my own thing. But yeah, we get I get outside, I go walking a lot. I go into the mountains, Utah. It's nice for that kind of thing, so you can kind of get away and not be around a lot of people still. And that's been working pretty good.


Craig Asano: [00:54:07] Perfect. And last last question, when the hell are you going to be back up to Canada? So you Funded Today and NCFA can do a roadshow.


Zach Smith: [00:54:17] We didn't make that happen as soon as as soon as it's clear and people feel good about coronavirus and some of those different roadblocks. Let's get it on the calendar and make it happen. I love going up there and it's man how long and 2017. Probably last time I did go up there, so let's be awesome to get back


Craig Asano: [00:54:30] we could crowdfund some real estate. Yeah, let's do it. That's what we need to do.


Zach Smith: [00:54:35] Well, we need to talk about that. I heard Canada is hotter than America, even as far as real estate goes.


Craig Asano: [00:54:38] So it is bonkers. It is bonkers. But maybe, you know, there's a good story there. We can help first time homebuyers get access and figure out for them and others how it could work. So it's a win for everybody.


Zach Smith: [00:54:49] But that's the play, by the way. Craig, yes, but the play was I should have brought that up. If you can find a way to like, get first time homebuyers to qualify for homes because they're getting priced out. Even in Utah, probably only 20 to 30 percent of people can afford the median price of home right now. That's worrisome. That's scary. If the problem is, you can't really reduce your cost that much. So if anybody can innovate or figure that out, whether it's tiny houses or some townhome type of setup, you can make millions of dollars and actually help a lot of people.


Craig Asano: [00:55:13] Well, that's that's what we're thinking in the crowdfund real estate context. So something we could take offline. But really, I want to thank you a ton, Zach. It's it's been an absolute blast. The last, last last question, I guess, is how can everyone get in touch with you if they have questions, they want to connect with you, they want to learn more and they just can't wait till you come up to Canada next. How do they how do they get in touch with you?


Zach Smith: [00:55:37] Yeah, you can give me on any of the social platforms. Most of the time I'm real Zach Smith or though real Zach Smith, but I'm also I'm I'm just real. Zach Smith Aureole Zach Smith. Get me an email, Zach@Funded.Today. Zach had funded today all my websites today. If you want to see a list of all my companies agile, That's, agile holding group,, you can look at everything I got going on and see if any of those interests you. We always have job openings, we always have internships, so hit me up. We'd love to help you. You got a great idea. Funded Today is where you want to start.


Craig Asano: [00:56:08] Well, there you go, guys, and ladies and gentlemen, Zach Smith, CEO and co-founder of Funded Today, has successfully raised four hundred and twenty six million dollars and counting, and we're going to have you back when you hit half a billion. Sounds like a blast unless the real estate idea just catapults us to a billion, right?


Zach Smith: [00:56:28] For sure.


Craig Asano: [00:56:29] So that that was incredible. Thanks for sharing your time and expertise. I had a ton of laughs here, so we we will see you soon, Zach, and thanks so much for joining.


Zach Smith: [00:56:41] Likewise, thanks again for having me.


Craig Asano: [00:56:43] So if you're new to Fintech Fridays, please check out some of the incredible past episodes on the site. Think you'll be surprised what you find? We look forward to seeing you next Friday for another episode of Fintech Fridays. Have a great week and everyone.


Outro : you've been listening to Fintech Fridays brought to you by NCFA and partners. Tune in weekly for the latest fintech Friday podcast by subscribing to this channel. The National crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada is a non-profit actively engaged with social and investment fintech sectors around the globe and provide education research industry stewardship services and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers. For more information please visit Oh yeah.


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With $1.6mm Seed Raise, CAARY Appoints Senior Fintech Investment Strategist John MacKinlay as CEO to Lead U.S./Canada Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns

Caary Capital | May 25, 2021

Caary capital card - With $1.6mm Seed Raise, CAARY Appoints Senior Fintech Investment Strategist John MacKinlay as CEO to Lead U.S./Canada Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns

Fintech startup CAARY has unveiled a corporate credit card for SMEs which is the first of its kind in the Canadian finance industry, allowing businesses to qualify based on funding and revenue as opposed to credit history.

TORONTO, May 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CAARY CAPITAL LTD. (“CAARY” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that after raising a total of CAD $1,600,000 from accredited investors in Canada in an equity seed round, the Company has launched equity crowdfunding campaigns for Canadian and U.S. investors on FrontFundr and Fundable. In January 2021, senior fintech investment strategist John MacKinlay was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Company to drive development of the product, its market, and partners, as well as to lead investment rounds and oversee early-stage commercialization of CAARY to build market share in the Canadian SME payments category, in which over CAD $40 billion is transacted annually. CAARY’s minimum viable product (“MVP”) is set to launch in July 2021, and has been developed to help Canada’s more than 1.2 million small and medium-sized businesses (“SMEs”) overcome common hurdles in business credit, expense management, and payments.

See:  Fintech start-up Hardbacon secures $1.1 million thanks to equity crowdfunding

Mr. MacKinlay has over 25 years of experience in the banking sector, acting as a strategic advisor, senior executive, investor, and entrepreneur. After several years as a banker and Strategy Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PwC”), Mr. MacKinlay led the Banking Strategy Practice for IBM after they acquired PwC Consulting in 2002. Subsequently, he joined National Australia Bank (“NAB”) to lead Strategy & Corporate Development in the Americas. Subsequently, Mr. MacKinlay returned to PwC where he led and developed its Canadian Financial Services Advisory practice. In 2016, Mr. MacKinlay joined OMERS Platform Investments (“OPI”, the innovation arm of the OMERS pension fund) where he created the investment strategy for OPI’s Financial Services division and led their investments.

An overview of the CAARY solution (set to fully launch in September 2021) and its value proposition to Canadian SMEs is provided below.

Innovative Application Process: Canadian SMEs are often discouraged by the “black box” business credit card application process, which can take weeks to complete and generally requires a personal guarantee. CAARY primarily considers a SME’s cashflow and assets and never requires a personal guarantee, but can deliver same-day approval.

CAARY Mastercard®: Upon approval, virtual CAARY cards can be issued near-instantly for immediate use with unlimited supplementary cards. Physical cards are also available upon request.

Self-Serve Administration: SMEs will have the option to add/lock/remove cards at any time of day through an online dashboard. Permissions can also be adjusted for individual cards to include card-specific spending limits and merchant restrictions (e.g., by category or named merchants).

AI/ML-Driven Expense Management: Obviating the need to retain receipts and reconcile expenses each month, cardholders receive a notification via SMS, email, or the CAARY app each time a transaction is posted to their card. By responding to this notification with a picture of the receipt or invoice for that charge, CAARY uses an artificial intelligence (“AI”) and machine learning (“ML”) system which extracts the data and can transmit it to accounting platforms such as QuickBooks and Xero.

See:  Understanding the Differences Between Crowdfunding Investing & Traditional Canadian Investments

Near-Instant Money Transfers up to USD $50,000: As an alternative to cheques and wire transfers, CAARY will offer SMEs the option to make near-instant transfers of up to USD $50,000 (~CAD $60,000) to business or consumer recipients through a linked bank account, even outside of Canada.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - With $1.6mm Seed Raise, CAARY Appoints Senior Fintech Investment Strategist John MacKinlay as CEO to Lead U.S./Canada Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:

Latest news - With $1.6mm Seed Raise, CAARY Appoints Senior Fintech Investment Strategist John MacKinlay as CEO to Lead U.S./Canada Equity Crowdfunding CampaignsFF Logo 400 v3 - With $1.6mm Seed Raise, CAARY Appoints Senior Fintech Investment Strategist John MacKinlay as CEO to Lead U.S./Canada Equity Crowdfunding Campaignscommunity social impact - With $1.6mm Seed Raise, CAARY Appoints Senior Fintech Investment Strategist John MacKinlay as CEO to Lead U.S./Canada Equity Crowdfunding Campaigns

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