Crowdfunding: A Tale of Two Campaigns
Crowdfunding is considered an alternative to traditional angel and venture capital funding that has helped get many business ventures off the ground. The basic idea of crowdfunding centers on pitching a business idea to a large group of people and seeking financial support. Although crowdfunding has existed for hundreds of years, it has recently gone to online platforms. The most successful platforms to date have been Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which have helped many ventures raise initial funding. This case is concerned with two different startups, one started by a twin sister duo (Marla and Annie) and the other by a Babson College student (Hanson). Enerchi Bites is a startup featuring a new food product that was developed out of a passion for fitness and yoga. Identical twin sisters (Marla and Annie Feldman) started experimenting with different combinations of foods with a chia-seed base. Once they had developed three different flavors, they began distributing their products at various yoga conventions. They quickly built some buzz about their new products and were faced with the problem of scaling their new venture. They decided to try a Kickstarter campaign where they would attempt to raise $10,000. They figured this was the amount they needed to help scale up their operations. After the completion of the Kickstarter campaign, the sisters found the final results disappointing as they netted only about $5,000 after expenses from advertising and the rewards that were due to the campaign backers. Think Board is the creation of a Babson student, Hanson Grant. This business venture was born out of one of Hanson's earlier ideas. He had created white board t-shirts. He found that the t-shirt idea was not going to work and was thinking through how to use this to his advantage until his friends connected the dots for him. If he put pieces of the material together, he ended up with an oversized dry-erase board that could be printed to feature any pattern. With the interest from his friends, Hanson thought that he could use Kickstarter to gauge the market and the opportunity. He planned to raise $10,000, but his intent was more focused on marketing his new product. He successfully raised the money and more important than that, his focused marketing paid off as he was contacted by a news station to give an interview. The publicity made the campaign worthwhile for Hanson.