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FINTECH: This Is How MBAs Can Launch A Highly Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Entrepreneurs can rally support around their venture and raise finance to grow

Sun Dec 18 2016

BusinessBecause
Equity crowdfunding is an established part of the financial landscape for entrepreneurs who want to rally support around their venture and raise finance to grow.

And as more business students launch start-ups over cushy corporate jobs, some are turning to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo for novel sources of capital.

“We’ve had some students use crowdfunding to great success,” says Jeff Reid, founding director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative at Georgetown University. BS Entrepreneurship graduate Jeff Stefanis co-founded electric bikes supplier Riide while still in school. He used Kickstarter in 2014 to get 286 backers who pledged $120,000 to help bring his project to life.

Equity crowdfunding is an effective way for entrepreneurs like Jeff to judge the demand for their product and kick-start a nifty idea.

Yet many entrepreneurs make the mistake of putting their pitches online, sitting back and waiting for the money to roll in like cash from an ATM, says Goncalo de Vasconcelos, co-founder and CEO of crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom, which he founded while studying for an MBA at University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School. To make your campaign a success and raise the cash your venture needs, you’ll need to grind.  

And the work should start before your campaign is live. Launching your crowdfunding page with an initial investment is an effective way to increase your chances of success. Richard Heyns, founder and CEO of brytlyt, which used SyndicateRoom, says you should aim to raise at least 50% of your fundraising target before hitting “post”.

Start by tapping into your business school network — although it will help if your anchor investors are prominent financiers.

When you have interested people investing from the start, your product or service is perceived as more valuable. “It gets you traction,” says Richard. There’s a lower perceived risk, which can lead to further funding. After securing 70-75% of its crowdfunding target before launching its campaign, brytlyt surpassed it by 50%, raising £300,000 in 14 days.

Another way to boost engagement and get traction with investors is to include a compelling video in your pitch. In fact, placing a video on your crowdfunding page will increase your chances of success by up to 50%, according to Kickstarter.

That’s because a strong video narrative will give you a closer connection with investors. “The video is crucial to get personable,” says Charlie Thuillier, managing director of OppoIceCream, which raised £650,000 on Seedrs.

And you don’t have to be Martin Scorsese to captivate your audience; these days, you can shoot high-quality video on a smartphone.

First, look at successful crowdfunding campaigns online and play their videos for inspiration. Then write a script and make sure it hits all of the key points you need to get across. “Explain your story and product. Then try to answer the key questions you think people will have,” says Charlie. Finally, record your video in a well-lit room and remember to speak loudly and clearly. It’s a good idea to shoot a sample scene and watch it back on your computer, testing for video and audio quality.

A carefully crafted video, coupled with lead investors, will give your crowdfunding campaign momentum. But you must not leave your backers in the dark after they’ve supported your project.

Maintaining engagement is critical, says Ayan Mitra, CEO at Code Investing (formerly CrowdBnk), who earned an MBA at London Business School.

Interact with your audience by sharing frequent updates, utilizing social media outreach and sending thank-you emails. You could try posting updates counting down to significant events in the campaign, conducting product giveaways, or even hosting a contest. This will build anticipation and increase investor engagement with your campaign.

Even once the crowdfund is over, it’s important to keep your newly-formed fan base informed. “Otherwise, they will feel disillusioned,” says Charlie. This will ensure you can continue to tap into your investor base for customer referrals and for future fundraising campaigns. “You now have an army of supporters,” says Charlie. “Use them for whatever you want to achieve.”

Student Reviews

Georgetown: McDonough School of Business

Yegana

Verified

1/11/2023

Online

GWU - excellent investment for future

George Washington University is a good respected institution with strong programs in various studies, including project management, international affairs, politics, medicine and etc. The university provides students with good opportunities for internships and networking. GWU has a diverse student body and a reputation for academic excellence.

David

Verified

18/08/2023

On Campus

Safety on campus

I have had an amazing experience at Georgetown University. The classes are enjoyable, the professors are exceptional, and I feel like I am receiving a worthwhile education. The people and faculty at this institution are extraordinary, and I have discovered my true self while being here. Additionally, I always feel secure on campus, as it is the safest place in town.

Daniella

Verified

4/04/2023

On Campus

Georgetown is on top!

I've been enjoying this school so far. I wouldn't alter it, despite the fact that the school is on a hill and that it requires a lot of walking to get around it. For minority and first-generation students, there are a ton of services available. Even though the usual dorm rooms are modest, there is still plenty of area for storage. We have a ton of alternatives every day in the dining halls since they provide so many different dishes from so many different cultures

Student

Verified

1/03/2023

On Campus

Physical and mental health

Georgetown is my second home. The pre-professional counselors are incredibly helpful, and I feel supported and inspired to pursue my aspirations. We are certainly ranked as the top research university in the nation. They place a high priority on the development of the students as well as their physical and mental well-being.

Student

Verified

1/03/2023

On Campus

Wonderful university

Georgetown University is wonderful. The school's amazing diversity is one of its greatest strengths. The athletes are extremely committed to their sport, and the campus is amazing. The dorms are excellent! They are comfortable and spacious. If you ever find yourself bored on campus, you can always go off campus; it's fantastic. You'll never get bored dining in the cafeteria because the food is so delicious on campus.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Academics

The university's academics are what really set it apart; the lecturers are kind and motivating. Although it can be challenging to connect with the majority of students because they are so intense and competitive, social life and student life are what you make of them. It is undoubtedly a very difficult four years that are challenging to get through. But in the end, it strengthens you and provides you with a wealth of knowledge and incredible prospects.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Fantastic university

Georgetown university is a Fantastic university. The professors are outstanding, there are lots of ways to participate in campus life, and there are numerous groups and organizations where students can get involved. The campus is lovely and always kept clean, and there are people are willing to assist you 24 hours a day whenever you need help.

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Review of Georgetown university

Being at Georgetown university has been one of my best experiences. The Professors are knowledgeable, approachable, and very helpful. You will fall in love with Georgetown because of its daily activities, the vibrant students you will encounter, the food served on campus, and the lush surroundings. The housing and dorms are fantastic. There is no better place than Georgetown University if you’re looking to study, discover new things, make lifelong friends, and have fun!

Student

Verified

28/02/2023

On Campus

Academically challenging institution

Georgetown University is certainly an academically challenging institution, however, if you ask for assistance when you need it, the workload can be managed. Students are happy to assist one another, and most Professor want you to succeed. Student life is vibrant, the location is excellent and everyone here is friendly and welcoming.

Student

Verified

7/02/2024

On Campus

4 Years as an Expat at Georgetown University

Georgetown University provided an exceptional environment for my academic journey as an expat from Italy. As someone who initially felt apprehensive about moving to a new country, Georgetown quickly alleviated my concerns and made my transition incredibly smooth. One of the standout features of Georgetown is its diverse and welcoming community, particularly for international students. The campus is teeming with students from various corners of the globe, fostering a rich cultural tapestry that made me feel right at home. The vibrant campus life and numerous extracurricular activities offered ample opportunities to connect with fellow students, ensuring a well-rounded and fulfilling university experience. Georgetown's unique setting within the heart of Washington, DC, adds another layer to its charm. While the university is situated in the bustling city, the campus in the historic area of Georgetown provides a distinct and almost intimate atmosphere. This blend creates a truly unique feel and contributes to an unforgettable educational experience. Initially enrolled in the College with a desire to major in Linguistics and minor in Art & Journalism, I appreciated the flexibility and openness of the Georgetown education system. After my freshman year, I discovered my true passion lay in Marketing and International Business. The university's seamless transfer process allowed me to transition to the McDonough Business School, where I found the perfect fit for my academic aspirations. Georgetown's commitment to helping students explore and find their academic niche is indeed one of its most commendable qualities. The ability to explore various subjects before settling on a major is a testament to the university's dedication to fostering individual growth and success. The journey from Linguistics to Marketing & International Business exemplifies the beauty of a Georgetown education — a dynamic and supportive environment where students can discover and pursue their true passions. In conclusion, Georgetown University provided not only a top-notch academic education but also a transformative and enriching experience. From the welcoming international community to the unique campus setting and the flexibility to explore diverse academic paths, Georgetown stands out as a beacon of higher education that truly caters to the individual journey of each student.

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