How to Raise Money for Your Startup Through Crowdfunding

How to Raise Money for Your Startup Through Crowdfunding

Table of Contents

What is Crowdfunding?

There are several ways to raise capital for your food startup like angel investors, venture capital, family and friends, and lending. Crowdfunding is an alternative way, raising smaller amounts of money from a larger amount of people to help fund your startup.

Here is a picture of me in front of celebrity Shark Tank investors on the ABC hit TV show. There is a background story to this and how we got here, which I will breakdown on how crowdfunding is a great way to start your business.

What is Crowdfunding

In this guide, we’ll explore how to fund your startup through crowdfunding. You’ll learn all the best practices to reach your fundraising goals so you can launch your product and build your business.

Are you a Company?

Looking For a Crowdfunding Marketing Agency for your project? That’s what we do here at Crowdcreate. We’ve rated the #1 Top Crowdfunding Marketing Agency and have helped with some of the most successful companies in the world. Book a call with our team to learn more.

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Why is Crowdfunding a Good idea?

Crowdfunding is a great way to test if people are interested in your startup idea before you launch. You can remove a lot of risks. You can create your minimum funding goal that needs to be met to launch your business.
It’s also a way to predict how much of your product you’ll need and what you’ll need to launch. For example, if you know that you have 1,000 customers that will buy, you can plan your ingredients, packaging, and production accordingly. You can avoid lots of uncertainty and “hedge risks,” as Tanya Prive describes in her article Top 10 Benefits Of Crowdfunding.
Kickstarter

My startup, Nui (Formerly Keto Kookie) raised $80K and spent over a month ahead of the launch to prep and begin marketing. We created a landing page for visitors to sign up to our email list. Here’s a link to our campaign.

Formerly Keto Kookie
Crowdfunding is also a great way to create a community of early adopters. You get to share your story and have them as part of the creation process. The backers of your crowdfunding project get to feel like they are a part of making your idea happen. And that emotional investment in your company goes a long way as they promote your company and product to their family and friends.
On platforms like Kickstarter, backers get to discover your project, especially if it’s featured on their favorites page. That additional platform marketing can lead to more customers. But beware, you should not solely depend on these platforms to market your product.

What are the different crowdfunding platforms?

There are different crowdfunding platforms with different mechanisms. There are non-equity crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
On these platforms, you set a fundraising goal, share the details of your startup, and have rewards like a 6-pack of your food product. On these platforms, there are no promises of equity in the company.

Then there are equity crowdfunding platforms like Republic, WeFunder, Dealmaker, and Wax Invest where investors can contribute to your company in exchange for debt, equity, or safe securities. These securities must follow SEC laws and regulations. Learn more about the Top Food & Beverage Startup Investors.

On some of these equity crowdfunding platforms, you can have a Reg A, where non-accredited investors can invest in your company. Here amateur investors have an opportunity to invest early.

CROWDFUNDING MARKETPLACES

How to Create a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign?

Some people assume that they can simply put their startup on Kickstarter and expect to meet their goals. 90% of the work happens before your campaign.
As Mike Del Ponte in Tim Ferris’s interview put it, chef’s prep way in advance of dinner. His team at Soma would prep emails 2-to 3 early so all they had to do was hit send.
Create a marketing plan ahead of time and determine which channels you’ll focus on.

What Crowdfunding Campaigns made the most money?

Miso Robotics raised $16 Million on SeedInvest and raised a total of $30 Million from Crowdfunding.
Instead of reaching out to VCs and having to manage a board of directors, CEO Mike Bell, launched several crowdfunding campaigns to fund multiple rounds from unaccredited and accredited investors.
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Miso Robotics marketed those campaigns similar to what an eCommerce company would do and coordinated marketing campaigns that involved PR, affiliate marketing, and paid digital advertising.
Crowdfunding also allowed the company to avoid a down round when things got more challenging.

What Food Crowdfunding Campaigns Made the Most Money

Here are some of the most successful Kickstarters for food startups and beverage products:

  • Carnivore Snax – raised $130,000 from 1,173 backers on Kickstarter. They launched an airy and crunchy meat chip made for carnivores. They were promoted by various keto and carnivore diet influencers.
  • Sosu Sauces – raised $104,146 from 2,165 backers on Kickstarter. They created a bourbon barrel-aged sriracha sauce. Much of their buzz came from media like Vice.com, Chow.com, and San Francisco Magazine.
  • Grassfed Coffee – raised $86,035 from 1,116 backers on Kickstarter. They created the first ready-to-drink butter coffee during the height of the butter coffee craze and right at the beginning of the rise of the keto diet.
What Food Crowdfunding Campaigns Made the Most Money

Ways to Promote your Crowdfunding Campaign

1. There are several things you can do to promote your crowdfunding campaign. One thing to consider is the time and energy that is required for any of these.

2. Evaluate your strengths, whether it be relationships, writing, outreach, or speaking, and gauge where you’ll be able to have the most impact. Once you find something that works, double down on it.

3. Leverage influencers. Pre-2018, you used to be able to send food products out to influencers and if they loved it, they’d promote those for free. With the rise of the creator economy and gig culture, it’s becoming more and more difficult to request a free post. If you are unsure on how to connect with influencers, you can leverage the networks of agencies like Crowdcreate and get a free consultation.

4. That said, influencers are still a great way to get your product out there. You don’t need to get a big influencer contract. The best influencers are the ones who authentically love your product and company and who have a highly engaged community that is relevant to your product.

5. Send samples to news writers and share your story. Writers are always looking for a good story. You can hire a PR agency who have existing relationships and resources or you can do the outreach yourself. If you do it yourself, you can write a PR article and post it on prnewswire.com.

6. You can find relevant articles for your brand and audience and reach out to the writer. The key to this is timing. You want enough time to allow your writer to schedule writing their content, and not so much time that they lose interest in your project.

If you have a food startup or beverage product, here are some industry news websites where you can share your launch with:

  • Foodnavigator-USA.com: Covers food startups and beverages trends, regulation, labeling, and innovation
  • Bevnet.com: Includes beverage industry news, reviews, jobs, and events/conferences
  • Nosh.com: Reports on the natural, organic, sustainable, and healthy food industry
  • Foodbusinessnews.net – covers food startups and beverage news, trends, ingredients technologies, and commodity markets analysis

Launch paid Facebook (and Instagram) ads to targeted audiences to acquire their emails. With the Apple IOS update and the rising cost of Facebook ads, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get a decent return on your investment. Facebook ads make sense if:

  • You have great images, videos, user-generated content, and great copywriting.
  • You have a higher ticket item and great gross margins to cover to make the cost of the acquisition worth it.
  • Or you have a subscription or have a high lifetime value where you can make your profit on the backend.

7. Partner with Facebook group owners for promotions and giveaways. Find a relevant Facebook group

8. Send samples out to influencers and writers letting them know that they are launching their product on Kickstarter. By promoting ahead of time, they were able to fully fund their projects within 24 hours.

9. Go on podcasts. If you have a pretty cool product and story, reach out to podcasters who are constantly looking for guests who fit their audience.

10. Share on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great place for people to hear your story and learn about your new product on Kickstarter. Share the behind-the-scenes content. Professionals want to follow a good business story.

Digital Journal

Give your future customers a place to land and subscribe.

Create a landing page for your customers to subscribe to your email or SMS list for updates. Email is still a great way to keep your future customers in the loop about your Crowdfunding campaign.
Emails can be the most effective way to reach supporters during the first 24 hours of the campaign. Learn how Crowdcreate supported Anker to launch its portable projector campaign which raised over $1.2 million in contributions.
SMS is a notch better as people look at text messages more than their emails. SMS tends to have a higher conversion rate and people typically don’t have a throwaway phone number as they may have for email marketing.

Whether your audience opts for email or SMS list, the main goal is to capture their information, some of the basic features that your landing page should include are:

  • Visuals: The users must understand your product as soon as they scan your landing page.
  • Header: A compelling case for your business. Your brand’s mission or motto. Learn how Crowdcreate helps creators find and tell their story.
  • Value Proposition: The promise to the customer. Why should we pick your business?
  • Incentive: Why should they give you their information anyways? What they may receive in return for their time?
  • Call-to-Action: Again, emphasize your request for their contact information.
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Looking for a Equity Crowdfunding Marketing Agency for your Project?

That’s what we do here at Crowdcreate. We’ve rated the #1 Top Crowdfunding Marketing Agency and have helped with some of the most successful companies in the world.

Create pre-launch emails and SMS messages and create incentives for backing your project early.

People like to be first to back a project especially if there’s an incentive to do so. One way to create an incentive is to create an Early Bird reward that is limited to a small number of people. An Early Bird reward is a reward where there’s a special incentive for the people who back your Kickstarter early.
It’s like a Black Friday deal where the first 1,000 people can get a TV at half price or with a Playstation 5 for free. It creates scarcity and demands for those rewards. It’s also an opportunity to help fund your project quickly so you can show up in the featured section of Kickstarter.
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Keep Communicating and Doing Outreach

Once you launch, keep communicating. Communicate with your backers and those who are on the fence. Update them on your progress, and share your milestones and your wins.
Respond to comments. Backers and future backers want to know that you are responsive to them. Communication creates credibility and comfort.
If your project gets 100% funded early, leverage that story and reach out to news media outlets. Keep feeding the fire. As you get one news media outlet, use that as social proof to get the next media outlet. Consider creating a “Post-Crowdfunding plan,” as Evan Varsamis recommends in his article Nine Tips To Boost Your Crowdfunding Campaign In 2021.
Key Coffee
And as you learn what’s working and what’s not, focus on the 20% of effort that’s generating 80% of the results. It’s easy to do everything and hard to do everything well.

A Long-Term Outlook to Kickstart

Documenting your funding processes is key. You may read many guides and tips on how to successfully run a crowdfunding campaign, but your own experience can give you the next best step for your business and future funding requests.
In fact, mastering the “Art of Funding” can determine the scalability of your business in the long run. Why? You can get pretty excited by surpassing your capital goals for the campaign, but more often than not, you may run short on your operating cash flow. Most likely you could need investors again.
Crowdfunding can become a pathway to thrive but also to survive as you are “crossing the chasm” with your product or service. Rasa, a coffee alternative brand has a “$5 million revenue run-rate and 515% subscription growth year-over-year as of 2021.” Its founder and CEO Lopa van der Mersch attributes her community-owned business to her consistent crowdfunding campaigns for almost 3 years.
Rasa is now a Public Benefit Corporation and offers its product line both as a direct-to-consumer subscription and business-to-business.
A Long-Term Outlook to Kickstart
By leveraging the knowledge obtained through past campaigns, companies like Rasa have more predictable performance indicators and they can quickly become popular among investors as they go for new raising rounds in their expansions.
CrowdCreateLogoCircle 150x150

Looking for a Equity Crowdfunding Marketing Agency for your Project?

That’s what we do here at Crowdcreate. We’ve rated the #1 Top Crowdfunding Marketing Agency and have helped with some of the most successful companies in the world.

Hire a Crowdfunding Marketing Agency.

Crowdfunding is an alternative beyond raising money for your food startup. It’s an opportunity to discover your customers, create a community, develop and market your offerings, and ultimately mitigate risks.
Entrepreneurs can raise from thousands to millions throughout their campaigns. However, it requires a greater scope of work that is often underestimated; A pre-launch campaign, a live campaign management and a post-Crowdfunding plan.
Crowdcreate is an end-to-end marketing service for Kickstarter/IndieGoGo (Perk Based Crowdfunding) all the way through equity Crowdfunding raises through platforms like StartEngine and Dealmaker (Reg CF, Reg A).

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