Unless you are independently wealthy or have a line of investors at your door, you’re going to need capital to get your startup going. If you want to steer clear of traditional loans, crowdfunding is an option worth exploring. Crowdfunding is a way of raising money for a project through donations or investments from the public. In the case of startups, crowdfunding can be used to launch or grow a small business.
Crossfit enthusiast Joe Wilkinson ran into one issue while training members at his local gym: painful bruising around the collarbone from barbell reps. Enter his creative solution: WilkWear, a padded collarbone compression shirt made to protect your collarbone and reduce bruising.
After 10 weeks in GA’s Product Management course, Joe was able to gather a strategy and plan to research, create and launch WilkWear. To support Joe’s campaign and learn more about the product, check out WilkWear’s Kickstarter here, and forward this link to your network.
GA Hong Kong Product Management graduate, Chris Place, already had his product in place. He just needed help taking it to the next level.
Meet JUMP, “The first charging solution that fits your lifestyle.”
Chris began working on JUMP with his team at Native Union as a product designer. He came to GA to help realize the potential of the product by realizing his potential as a product manager. We recently caught up with Chris to learn more about JUMP and how his time at GA was able to empower him to take on more responsibility within the project.
Meet Jessica Stephens and Stephanie Holland, founders of Hong Kong based fashion startup, AURZA. Recently completing one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns in Hong Kong history through indiegogo, these women have caught the attention of many, including Forbes. We had the chance to sit down with Stephanie, a graduate of our 10 week Digital Marketing Business Course for a quick catch-up on how things are going post GA and where AURZA is headed next.
What is AURZA?
AURZA is an online fashion brand that allows women to design their perfect dress, which we then make for them in standard, mix and match or custom sizing.
Our aim is simply to help women like us look and feel fabulous, without compromise.
How did it start?
Jess and I founded the business at the end of last year. We were best friends from 4-18, lost touch after school and met randomly at a bus stop in Discovery Bay 2 years ago. We both had children, loved clothes but were so frustrated that we couldn’t find things that made our post baby bodies look great. Everything on the high street was never quite right and had clearly been designed with younger, different shaped ladies in mind!
We decided to use the resources that were at our door and started working with local tailors to develop our concept as we figured they had the skills and operation set up to do bespoke pieces quickly. We were wrong. The results were terrible, our friends laughed and many in the industry told us what we wanted to do couldn’t be done (at least not to a high standard that competes with the likes of Reiss and Club Monaco). So we went back to the drawing board and researched fit, pattern making and design and found 3D scanning and went through contact on contact to find a manufacturer that would work with us to create our vision. We decided to do a beta test using Indiegogo in November to generate enough orders to pressure test our manufacturing and overall concept.
Equity crowdfunding promises to open up a new financing source for thousands of capital starved businesses around the country. Many entrepreneurs are wondering what this means for them and don’t have time to digest the complex 585 page rule proposal.
For those entrepreneurs without large amounts of spare time or excess legal budgets, here is a quick list of items that you should be aware of now:
1) It’s not legal yet. The rules can still change. The proposed rules were released on October 23, 2013 and are currently in a 90 day comment period. The absolutely earliest that equity crowdfunding in the US could become legal is in the Spring of 2014, but more likely it will be Fall or Winter 2014.
2) Up to $1,000,000 in Financing. Private companies may soon be able to raise up to $1M in a 12 month period from an unlimited number of investors in small amounts (as low as $50 or $100 each).
3) Individual Investor Limits. Each investor will have a cap on the amount they can crowdfund in a year, generally between $2,000 – $5,000 for those with income and net worth below $100,000.
4) Investor Self-Certification. Unlike Rule 506(c) of Reg D, Investors will be able to self-certify their income, net worth and previous crowdfunding investments. So no worrying about checking investor tax returns or brokerage statements.
Crowdfunding has come a long way in a short period of time. What started out as a social experiment several years ago has been validated as a viable means for thousands of people to tap into their inner-entrepreneur. Recent data suggests that crowdfunding – defined here as a contribution toward a project in exchange for non-economic benefits — has enabled more than $1.5 billion to change hands and tens of thousands of projects to get funded, ranging from “passion projects” to real companies.