How your business can start a crowdfunding campaign

How your business can start a crowdfunding campaign

The crowdfunding market is currently booming, with the global market value estimated to reach an incredible $28.8 billion by 2025. Running a crowdfunding campaign presents a load of opportunities to businesses, especially for start-ups looking to launch their first product.

Jack Wrangham, founder of Drone AG, decided to venture into crowdfunding to launch Skippy Scout, an app for farmers that uses drone technology to scout crop conditions out in the field.

Jack used his connections with companies like our client, McCreath Simpson & Prentice (MSP), kept active on social media and engaged with the farming community to generate interest in Skippy Scout.

We caught up with Jack to find out why he chose to use a crowdfunding campaign for his agri-tech business, the biggest challenges he faced and what he thought of the overall experience.

Why did you decide to use a crowdfunding campaign for Skippy Scout?

“Engaging and working with the farming industry in particular has always been important to us, and as farmers, it’s one of our USPs. So, it made sense to give that sector the opportunity to become investors as well.

“It’s also a good way to verify we’re on the right track – if our target customers are investing, then we’re along the right lines!”

How did you go about spreading the word about Drone AG and Skippy Scout?

“We attended larger tradeshows and a lot of smaller open days, demo days, crop trial days and conferences. Talking face-to-face is always a benefit in the agri industry – farmers trust it a lot more than speaking over the phone or by email with someone they’ve never met.

“We did also use email and social media. I would say the most powerful method for us was face-to-face conversations and, off the back of that, we secured a few good articles in key press titles and magazines too.”

How important was social media to the success of your crowdfunding?

“I find it a hard one to quantify. But many in the agri industry are on and actively use social media these days, so I think it was very important.”

Which crowdfunding platform did you choose and why?

“We chose Crowdcube, mainly because they are one of the biggest crowdfunding platforms in the UK. They came to us recommended by others that had been successful, including a few companies in the same industry as us.”

What was your experience of approaching companies (like MSP) to support your crowdfunding campaign?

“We have ties to MSP and have been working with them for a while. I think investment was kind of a natural step for them considering the benefits we both get out of it.

“But, generally, crowdfunding and an early round of investment like this aren’t for companies, it’s much more for individuals. Especially when you consider that tax incentives like EIS/SEIS only apply to individuals, and these are key to reducing risk in early stage investment.”

What was the biggest challenge you faced during the crowdfunding campaign?

“Getting those that said they were interested to actually get involved. Everyone is very busy, especially those in a position to invest a larger amount, so nailing them down and getting it secured takes time – when you’re on the clock it can be a tad stressful.

“You feel like you’re constantly bugging people (which I hate) but you have to do it!”

And how did you overcome it?

“We set up a schedule for four weeks prior to the launch, and then into the four-week public raise period. It included follow-up schedules, and many, many lists.

“The key was keeping on top of it all and getting back to anyone as soon as possible after they made contact. Then, like I said, following up – a lot! We had a lot of questions and some required long in-depth answers, but these were always the ones that paid off.

“Content was also very important – images, video etc. We spent a lot of time on the videos – 30 second clips and testimonial videos for social media really helped.”

How important was feedback from the companies testing Skippy Scout?

“Very. Without feedback we have no confirmation that we’re on the right lines. It’s why we opened the app up for testing so early, with a just functional version given to those testing it.

“It also meant that industry experts got a hold of it early, and they gave us not only valuable feedback, but also testimonials, which helped a lot in the campaign.”

What are the next steps for the Skippy Scout campaign?

“We’re now getting into development of the next version of Skippy Scout – the first fully featured version, which we will start testing soon, with the full release next year.”

Need some help spreading the word for your tech or agri business? We are experts in generating genuine connections that pay dividends – get in touch with us today for a chat.

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