Huffpost Small Business
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Lee Schneider Headshot

Seed Money for Your Startup Using Crowdfunding

Posted: Updated:

Your startup is so ready to launch you can taste it. You have assembled your dream team. You're interviewing prospective customers. But, like all startup founders, you have a big decision coming up about seed funding.

Should you bootstrap? Seek out angel investors? Go the venture capital route? Try an incubator?

In Los Angeles, where the state of the startup is anything but traditional, startup founders are looking to a fresh pathway to acquire seed funding. They are looking to crowdfunding.

Startups are turning to Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and other crowdfunding platforms to take their case directly to the consumer. Pre-marketing on IndieGoGo recently launched the URB-E personal electric vehicle. This is an Art Center of Pasadena project directed at solving the 'last mile' problem of mass-transit commuting. If you use mass transit you are often faced with a puzzle at the last mile: the bus doesn't go far enough, or the train stop is too far from work. You need to traverse that last mile. A personal electric vehicle that folds up small is the solution. That's the URB-E, and its IndieGoGo campaign raised double its ask. The campaign topped out at $317,784. Clearly, the URB-E found its market on IndieGoGo and it has gone into production. That's one example of a crowdfunded startup launch.

What do successfully crowdfunded startups have in common?

They use crowdfunding to discover their market, fine tuning their message to an audience of passionate fans. In the short time span of a crowdfunding campaign they quickly master the art of outreach, connecting with influential journalists and bloggers, finding the right people to connect with on Facebook and Twitter, and most importantly, making a good video. Put that all together, and with proper planning a startup can go from prototype to production in 30 to 40 days.

Kickstarter says, in their how-to materials posted to their site, that the first thing they do when looking at a new campaign is 'click play.' Alisa Cordesius of IndieGoGO, says campaigns that launch with a pitch video raise 370% more funds compared to ones without a pitch video.

Video is key to crowdfunding success, yet many startup founders don't have the pro equipment or expertise to make a good video.

One solution to that problem is being offered to the startup community at General Assembly LA on June 22. A day long workshop I am leading with Alisa Cordesius, who is Cause Manager at IndieGoGo, will give entrepreneurs the knowledge, the means and the tools to launch their crowdfunding video in one day.

For more information about the workshop, visit this link.