Over the years, crowdfunding has become an effective alternative for entrepreneurs to raise funds for their business ideas. Crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to raise capital without giving up too much equity. This avenue also provides an alternative to those who may have difficulty gaining access to traditional sources of funding. Indeed, many have had enormous success using this approach to attract significant resources such as capital, publicity and investors to their businesses or to test market validation.
I meet with 3 African entrepreneurs who speak with me about their crowdfunding campaigns all of which, were successful. The platform of choice for these entrepreneurs was Kickstarter and they each explain why they chose Kickstarter.
Mugo Muna, founder of Borawear states, "I really did not consider any other platform other than Kickstarter. The biggest attribute that swayed my thinking is the data Kickstarter shares on its blog and the regression analysis provided me with information on how best to run a campaign. While doing my research, I learned more about Kickstarter, watched interviews with the founder of the platform, saw some campaigns go viral and saw how entrepreneurs raised millions of dollars for their ideas. Not that there was anything wrong with any other platform, but Kickstarter seemed to have a lot of blockbuster campaigns reaching over a million dollars in pledges."
Esosa Ighodaro, founder of COSIGN who successfully raised over $40,000 for her campaign also chimed in, "I conducted extensive online research on various crowdfunding platforms and surveyed friends. Knowing that Kickstarter had a larger audience than other platforms allowed my team and I to get the word out to more people. Although it was the most expensive in terms of fees, we were however willing to pay the costs to gain access to their audience."
Roye Okupe, an entrepreneur on a mission to create more African superhero comics added, "I did quite a bit of research and compared Indiegogo and Kickstarter. At the end of the day, I found out that people raising money for comics and graphic novels had more success on Kickstarter. So I decided to go with that."
Here are seven (7) things they want you to know about crowdfunding:
- Do your research. Figure out the platform that works best for you. There are many platforms out there, take the time to know what works for you, your audience, and your product or service.
Have them leverage their networks. Muna says, "to get people to do this, encourage them to take ownership of the campaign." He continues, "the simplest way to do this, is to get them to give you feedback on every piece of your campaign such as your exact wording, the name of the rewards, or on your video content. As you launch your campaign, you will be able to count on your friends and family not just because they know you, but because they are now part of your success and want to help get your idea funded."
Okupe sums it up nicely. "Never give up. You will fall, you may fail. It is inevitable, it is a part of life and it is a part of business. What really matters is how you react to these issues. I know it is cliche but nothing good comes easy. Make sure you believe in what you are doing because that is what gets you through the rough periods. Above all, believe in yourself. Keep learning and strive to become the absolute best at what you do, not just in Africa, but in the world."
Have additional tips to share: tweet @Africwomenpower or email mary (at) awpnetwork.com