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Florida Gives Birth to Yet Another Crowdfunding Platform, ClickStartMe

17 Mar

By Robert Hoskins

The funding craze that’s sweeping the globe is receiving a complementary makeover thanks to the genius of Tess Hottenroth, COO of ClickStartMe, the newest addition to the Crowdfunding scene. ClickStartMe is the first Crowdfunding site to offer individuals and businesses everything they need to realize their dreams, including a platform to attract supporters and raise funds, an e-commerce storefront, social media tools, expert guidance, and the added bonus of site-sponsored contests offering amazing perks and prizes.

ClickStartMe Launches Crowdfunding Platform in Florida

ClickStartMe Launches Crowdfunding Platform in Florida

Crowdfunding exploded across the Internet in 2009 as the latest and greatest way to generate support for funding-worthy projects, but the industry was fragmented and none of the emerging platforms offered would-be fundraisers a clear and comprehensive blueprint for success.

When Hottenroth recognized the need for a fundamental change in the Crowdfunding concept, she knew she had to revolutionize the industry by establishing her own innovative site. She now stands out as one of only a handful of women entrepreneurs in the male-dominated tech sector. According to the New York Times, women account for only 6 percent of the chief executives of the top 100 tech companies, and only 8 percent of venture-backed technology start-ups.

While Hottenroth takes on the challenge of being a groundbreaker with aplomb, she doesn’t see gender as an issue that will make or break a deal for crowdfunders. “People and businesses who need to raise money through crowdfunding don’t care if the person running the site wears a tie or slips on Louboutin pumps every day,” Hottenroth says. “People want a user-friendly experience that works and is fun, and we give that to them with ClickStartMe.”

Hottenroth does believe that being a female entrepreneur gives her certain advantages over her male counterparts in the Crowdfunding world. Her creative flair and her intuitive sense of public perception led her to design ClickStartMe in a way that makes the process of Crowdfunding uncomplicated and user-friendly.

“And let’s not forget fun,” Hottenroth says. “While Crowdfunding a project you’re passionate about is serious business, we all want to have some fun in our lives, and ClickStartMe definitely puts the fun in Crowdfunding.”

To inject a healthy dose of fun into her cutting-edge startup, Hottenroth took her cue from the public’s fascination with televised reality and talent contest shows like The Voice, America’s Next Top Model and Shark Tank and added contests for anyone who creates a ClickStartMe project. Each contest offers cash prizes, trips to fun locations and other valuable rewards for participating.

“Our Spokesmodel contest winner gets $5000. We are flying 10 models to Las Vegas for a finale on stage at the hottest club in the country,” Hottenroth said. “In our invention and product category, the contest winner gets a national distribution deal for their product and a television commercial produced for them. The perks make it fun for users and give them the opportunity to make their product widely visible, but they also add to the experience for donors – instead of just being funders, they become active supporters cheering on their contestant.”

It was after she returned to America and took the helm of a Florida media firm that Crowdfunding first caught Hottenroth’s attention. “Most of our media clients were small businesses, and as the economy continued to plummet, it was disheartening to see phenomenal ideas that were going nowhere because of the bad economy, and dreams that weren’t taking flight because traditional funding sources had dried up,” Hottenroth says. The 2012 JOBS Act put equity Crowdfunding on her radar as an alternative for small business, and she began to view the concept as the potential antidote for a multitude of financing woes.

The Crowdfunding platform Hottenroth envisioned wouldn’t kick people off once a funding goal was reached – it would encourage them to network, stay in touch with supporters and contribute to other projects. People would be able to sell the products they developed, the art they created, or the music they produced through an on-site store. They would also have easy access to key resources like accountants, patent lawyers, manufacturers and marketing experts to help them along their road to success.

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