Below is an article by Forbes entitled "Crowdfinance Your Company: Advice from an Entrepreneur Who Got More Than $5 Million in Commitments"
Crowdfinance Your Company: Advice from an Entrepreneur Who Got More Than $5 Million in Commitments
Kaiser Moreno, Forbes
May. 20, 2015
Although oil prices have been trending upwards in recent weeks, many producers are still cautious and have cut back on exploration and drilling operations until prices rebound further. And yet it is an energy company, Ascenergy, that is currently ranked #1 on CNBC’s Crowdfinance 50 Index and has raised more than $3.5 million with another $2 million committed. This three-year-old energy startup has secured more financing than companies that operate in such hot areas as technology, healthcare or organic food.
Serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Ascenergy, Joey Gabaldon, tells us how he did it:
On choosing crowdfunding as a financing mechanism: We started with a “friends and family” offering in 2013 and raised about $900,000. Then we chose crowdfunding because it can be a very fast route to market without the expenses associated with other methods of fundraising. Most broker-dealers, for example, charge considerable upfront fees, monthly fees and success fees, while many crowdfunding sites charge nominal monthly fees from $100 to $300.
When selecting sites, we spoke with several other entrepreneurs, attended crowdfunding workshops and conferences and spent about a month reviewing more than 100 sites to find the three that we decided to work with. We started in July 2014 with Equitynet and Crowdfunder and then added Fundable.
We chose these sites because they are among the leaders in the crowdfunding industry. Crowdfunder has some excellent features to create a social buzz across their network, such as linking current investors to the offering. This provides transparency and “social proof” of the validity of the offering. They also periodically send newsletters on highly rated, vetted companies. Equitynet has other strengths, such as multiple ways to sort deals based on popularity, location, industry and funding traction. They also have a good business plan feature that helps investors vet the company.
On how to present the company on a crowdfunding site: Anyone can get started on a site within a few hours. That said, it’s important to invest as much time as needed to create a positive first impression. We spent hundreds of hours on our offering before posting it online, and we frequently refine our posting as we learn more about how to improve our messaging and appearance. Having some kind of “stamp of approval” by financial institutions that have performed due diligence is also a huge plus. Crowdfunding is like any successful sales campaign. To reach your audience, you must understand their needs, what they are looking for in an investment and their short- and long-term goals.
The crowdfunding started slowly. But once you start getting traction with your outbound marketing efforts, inbound becomes the main source of capital. Our largest investors range between $200,000 and $800,000. We are nearing our goal and will be closing the offering soon.