We teamed up with Crowdcube and invited four entrepreneurs to share their crowdfunding success stories. The sessions went beyond the basics, taking a closer look at how to set up a campaign that catches the eye of investors.
Meet Daisy Hill, founder of Zzish; Matt Dyson of Rockit; CEO of Genuine Impact Truman Du and founder of Chip Alex Latham – all creators of target–beating Crowdcube campaigns. They shared their insights and hacks with Crowdcube’s Luke Lang and Jonathan Keeling on how to win investment.
Looking for your investors
Your crowdfunding page should be a culmination of hours and hours of work. It’s only the tip of the iceberg for your campaign, which needs to gather momentum ahead of its public launch. When your page goes live, investors will be looking for credibility. The best indication of this is for them to see other investors are already on board.
Before Matt Dyson switched Rockit’s crowdfunding page public, they had achieved 40% of their target. Only then did he and his team deem the page ready to be shared with Crowdcube’s wider investor community.
“It’s important to make sure the preparation is really thorough. We spent weeks looking at other people’s decks, at their pitch pages; requesting more detailed documents, making sure we were doing everything to the best of our ability,” he said.
It’s important to make sure the preparation is really thoroughMatt Dyson, Rockit
During Daisy and Truman’s early investment rounds, they met potential investors in person. They set clear timelines and a clear message: take it or leave it.
It’s not just about finding investment – it’s about finding the right investors too. As Truman candidly put it, investors asking too many questions, that’s when you know it may be a waste of time.
Daisy, creator of education hub Zzish agreed. “If people get the market opportunity quite quickly, you know it’s a good thing.”
Focus on experience – not the financials
An obvious way to gain the trust of your investors is to assure them precisely where their money is going. But Truman recalled that even for financial data company Genuine Impact, their initial meetups with investors weren’t solely about the money.
“We focused on detail, targeting the people who would actually use the product,” he said. “First sell the story, second sell the founders. We didn’t talk about financials. It was all about the experience.”
Another way to get investors on board is to let them use their own intuition to discover the opportunity for themselves. Matt Dyson said Rockit’s 15-page pitch deck was “very visual, which created a lot of interest and made it stand out”.
Even if you’ve only got ten customers, the investor can see where the business is going to goDaisy Hill, Zzish
Even if the investor gets the opportunity, you still need to present your campaign as a safe bet. According to Daisy, you should have good financial projections and a solid business plan.
“Even if you’ve only got ten customers, the investor can see where the business is going to go,” she said.
For Chip, Alex recalls how they went one step further and decided to put their full financial model on their Crowdcube page. It helped the business to come across as open and transparent, which built investor trust.
Working your network
Knowing how to utilise your own connections can also lead to the investment you’re looking for. As Crowdcube’s Luke Lang explained, this is crucial.
“It’s all about this initial hustle. Having that tenacity allows you to start building a network. Then, once you have your network, it’s about casting a critical eye across it,” he said.
Rockit’s Matt decided to get in touch with founders who had raised before. He called in Rob Law from Trunki to look over Rockit’s pitch deck and provide some potential contacts from his extensive network.
By identifying and segmenting potential targets, you can present them with a more valuable and worthwhile opportunity. People become investors, then they become advocates.
Sell your story
Once you’ve met with investors, pitched and networked, it’s time to get your crowdfunding page live. You want people talking about your campaign and, according to Alex, FOMO is your greatest tool.
He recalls the story of Jeff Bezos’ lawyer who didn’t get the paperwork in on time to invest in Amazon: “No one wants to be that guy.”
Before this stage, it was all about pitches and personalities. Now you have control over the story you open up to the wider world. You can strategise, drip-feeding exciting content to create a buzz around your page.
Reflecting on Chip’s approach, Alex advises other startups to look at how you can differentiate yourself in terms of video and content.
“Your pitch is going to a broader audience. What’s going to make someone think, ‘Well this is different’?”
Your crowdfunding checklist
- Meet investors to build your credibility before going live
- It’s a pitch, not a hard sell. Work with people who get where you’re coming from
- Ask yourself: “What don’t I want to be asked?”
- Utilise your friends and connections
- It’s your story – tell it in your own way