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Starting a University Equity Crowdfunding Ecosystem to Build Better Alumni and Local Community Relationships

12 Mar

Crowdfunding Sites Provide Alumni with a Personal Way to Begin Investing in their Alma Maters’ Promising Startups and Reap the Benefit of Making a Lot of Money if They Invest in the Right Projects

By Robert Hoskins

Stimulating Alumni and Local Community Engagement

Establishing an Equity Crowdfunding Ecosystem is a great way for colleges and universities to reconnect alumni with their alma maters and engage them to begin investing in the school’s future.  

Unlike giving donations to a school with no idea of how the money is going to be spent, investing directly in equity crowdfunding campaigns not only gives alumni a way to give back to the university that that helped launch their careers, but also provides them with a personal way to begin investing in creative projects that are near and dear to their hearts as well as reap the benefit of making a lot of money if they invest in the right projects.

Building an Equity Crowdfunding site to market college and university projects to alumni and the rest of the world can help:

  • Build Better Relationships with Alumni;
  • Migrate Alumni from Blind Donations to Targeted Equity Investments;
  • Generate Substantially More Revenue to Finance School Programs;
  • Increase Long-Term Return on Investment; and
  • Produce Much Better  Global University Marketing Opportunities.

Equity Crowdfunding Sites are Great Marketing Tools

Not only do crowdfunding campaigns provide a great opportunity for students to raise money for their startup companies, but the marketing that is done to drive investors to their crowdfunding profiles is a great way for colleges and universities to market their school’s brand name and recruit new students in a similar manner to running TV advertisements during college football and basketball games.

The difference, however, is that instead of producing a bland 10,000 ft. overview of a college’s academics, research and development facilities and a fly over of the university campus, each equity crowdfunding campaign has the opportunity of demonstrate exactly what is actually going on inside their R&D departments, computer science data centers and bio-tech wet labs. It is a new way to streamline the Technology Transfer process.  

Equity Crowdfunding is a much more cost-effective way to bring new technology and businesses to market and can earn schools substantially more money via equity investments than licensing agreements or royalty deals. 

Entrepreneurship Centers, Incubators and Accelerators

In addition, crowdfunding sites allow schools to promote the fact that they are now offering entrepreneurship centers, co-working spaces, incubators with mentorship programs and accelerators that can help raise money to fund new startups.  Equity crowdfunding ecosystems and alumni angel networks will make is possible to attract more millennials, smarter entrepreneurs and aggressive startup high-tech and bio-tech companies seeking a fertile environment in which to launch their business ideas.

For example, look at the successful marketing campaigns that the Coolest Cooler or the Pebble Time SmartWatch crowdfunding campaigns are generating for Kickstarter.  Not only are they transforming Kickstarter into a global brand, but with 18 days left to go the Pebble Time SmartWatch has raised over $17 million. These marketing, PR and social media campaigns have generated massive amounts of free, positive and credible publicity. The same type of exposure can be generated for any college that has startups marketing their university’s equity crowdfunding campaigns via the internet and social media networks.  

Equity Crowdfunding Generates Nice Revenue Streams

Not only is the free, positive publicity great for promoting a school’s brand name, but collecting a fee similar to Kickstarter’s five-percent crowdfunding site commission fee is also a great way to make money to fund the school’s incubator and accelerator programs.

For example, the Pebble Time SmartWatch crowdfunding campaign’s site commission fee will deposit more than $1,000,000 into Kickstarter’s bank account for doing little more than setting up an e-commerce site. A simple task for any computer science college. 

College and university crowdfunding sites will start slow at first like Kickstarter did but given the strength of the university’s mass communication department, it could be much quicker.  Regardless, over a five-year period, a school’s crowdfunding site has the same opportunity to create a massive crowdfunding ecosystem like Kickstarter’s which to date has collected almost ~$2 billion in investment seed capital over the past 5 years.  

It you are a school administrator, what would injecting $2 billion into your Technology Transfer Office do for your college or university?  And that is straight rewards-based crowdfunding.  What would the same $2 billion return if just 10% percent of your startup companies went public and raised $100 million each? Once the first several dominos fall the financial returns would sufficient enough to continue growing a stronger pool of wealth with each generation of graduates. This method is precisely how Palo Alto, San Jose and San Francisco built the Silicon Valley in California into a global angel investor and venture capital powerhouse.

Alumni, Mentors and Future Students

Future students, leading mentors and disconnected alumni will suddenly have a purview into exciting projects and developments that are percolating behind the scenes in a very similar manner to Kickstarter. Crowdfunding will make it possible for the local community and general public to see the huge innovations that are going on behind the scenes, which will create the desire to get involved in the process so they too can strike it rich. Suddenly, alumni will be very motivated to keep in touch and invest often. 

Conclusion:

The crowdfunding industry is clearly fueling a new generation of makers that realize that it is more possible now than ever to bring their creative ideas to life with other people’s money, not just on the east and west coasts, but anywhere in America.

Learn more about crowdfunding:

 

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9 Responses to “Starting a University Equity Crowdfunding Ecosystem to Build Better Alumni and Local Community Relationships”

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