11134144 403835683121685 40685686169356185 n 797x1024 - Meet The Female Entrepreneur Who Raised Over $3 Million From Crowdfunding, Not VCsKatherine Krug has raised over $1 million on Kickstarter. She’s the first solo female entrepreneur to do so.

Krug is the founder and CEO of BetterBack, a company which builds devices, notably its namesake product designed to help with lower back pain. She took to Kickstarter to secure pre-orders after putting in $10,000 of her own cash into the development of the product. Launched in 2014, she’s now raised over $3 million through crowdfunding, and more than $1 million exclusively on Kickstarter. With no outside investments thus far, Krug argues that crowdfunding is an ideal platform for female entrepreneurs who’ve only been able to secure a small slice of investment dollars.

“Crowdfunding has democratized access to capital and removed all the gatekeepers. There is not a room full of men to pitch to,” she says. “The only people you have to pitch and satisfy are your future customers. This should make crowdfunding incredibly liberating for women and other underrepresented groups in entrepreneurship.”

Right now though there are a lot more men than women using crowdfunding to secure seed funding, however. According to research by PwC and The Crowdfunding Center, women are better at raising money through crowdfunding: Women are 32 percent more successful than men at hitting their fundraising goals and secure higher pledge amounts than their male counterparts.

See: Women outperform men in seed crowdfunding, according to analysis by PwC and The Crowdfunding Centre

For Krug, who started this business out of her apartment, there are other added bonuses to raising money using crowdfunding.  She refers to it as “liberating” because “venture capital considers $100M, $500M, $750M businesses to be failures,” she says. “When you move away from traditional financing, you can build a business that lets you focus on what you love and what you want to do versus being in a race to do things other people want you to do to get an outcome that is best for investors.”

BetterBack, for instance, operates with a work-from-home team spread around the globe. “I very much believe we are at our best when we bring our whole selves to everything we do, rather than trying to balance work and life.”

Krug herself has spent four months working from places like South Africa, the Philippines, and Italy. “Each quarterly planning cycle, I set both business and personal goals,” she notes.  With a 50-50 male-female ratio at the company, Krug is not looking just for female talent.

“I try to build systems where work becomes a conduit for personal growth, not just making money. I spend time in the interview process and through one-on-ones understanding what people’s goals are in their life broadly and then I work hard to support them.”

This alternative work culture, she says, stems from the freedoms of being a bootstrapped and crowdfunded company. And she’s hoping that more entrepreneurs follow suit, particularly women.

So how did she crack $1 million on Kickstarter? She divided her time to cover three tasks: 50 percent of her time was focused on getting people to the campaign page, and the remaining 50 was split between conversion optimization (or getting people to donate) and connecting with as many backers as possible.

See also: What 10,000 Kickstarter projects reveal about Canada's entrepreneurs

“The North Star of any campaign should be getting into the Most Popular category so people browsing on the platform can see your project. The most important factor in the Most Popular algorithm is the number of backers, NOT dollars raised, over a given period,” she emphasizes.

Before launching her first campaign, she emailed 120 friends asking if they would be willing to give $1 on the day of the launch. The tactic worked: she landed up in the Most Popular category -- at least for the first day. To keep the momentum going, Krug suggests experimenting with the campaign, and see how it affects conversion rates.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more at ncfacanada.org.