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Just in Time for Spring BBQs – the GoBQ grill is the Perfect Portable Solution for the Football Tailgating Crowd

13 Apr

The GoBQ Grill is the coolest way to cook a hot meal at the game partying with friends and then put it safely away before the first kickoff

By Robert Hoskins

Chicago, IL – Grilling enthusiasts across the globe are gobbling up a good opportunity to buy a GoBQ Grill during April. Right now outdoor adventurers can get a hot deal on a cool way to grill food at tailgating parties as well as other types of remote grilling opportunities such as hikes, trips to the beach and remote backpacking trips. Apparently the portable grill is serving a big appetite. In less that two weeks, their Indiegogo campaign  has raised more than 120% of their $30,000 goal with 196 backers from over 19 countries worldwide.

The GoBQ Grill is the coolest way to cook a hot meal

The GoBQ Grill is the coolest way to cook a hot meal and pack it away safely before the 1st kickoff!

The Indiegogo campaign can be found here:http://www.IndieGoBQ.com.

I guess that means it’s time to buy a grill and get ready to start cooking outdoors, but now grillers won’t have to be confined to their backyards or tethered to their SUVs.

Weighing in at only eight pounds, the patented GoBQ is a revolutionary grilling system complete with a metal grate cooking surface large enough to feed a family, chain basket to hold charcoal, and lid to contain heat.

But unlike other grills on the market, all GoBQ components fold in on themselves to become a black cylinder that resembles a small, sleek duffel bag. Take it with you camping, tailgating, picnicking, biking, boating or fishing, and people everywhere will ask, “Wait, that’s a grill?”

“What makes the GoBQ unique is you can sling it over your shoulder or stuff it in a backpack,” says co-founder and product chief Eric Goeken, who invented the GoBQ and built its early prototypes in his own garage.

After only five days on the market, critics are already weighing in on the ingenuity of the GoBQ. “Imagine a lightweight portable charcoal grill with nearly 200 square inches of cooking surface that fold up into a tiny little package,” says barbecue and grilling expert Derrick Riches of bbq.about.com. The GoBQ “could revolutionize the portable charcoal grill forever.”

The body of the GoBQ is made of a silicon-coated fiberglass material that can withstand flames and high temperatures. The fabric base, nickel-plated metal grate and charcoal basket all fold up to fit neatly inside the grill’s fabric lid, which also folds together to become its own compact carrying bag. Set up and tear down are a breeze, as the GoBQ body cools to the touch soon after dumping the charcoal embers—unlike other metal grills, which can take forever to cool down.

“The GoBQ is a game changer,” says company co-founder and CEO Todd Zaroban. “Those other so-called portable grills are either too cumbersome to carry or too flimsy to properly cook anything. We believe it will change the way people think about outdoor cooking.”

GoBQ is targeted to ship in August of this year, just in time for college and NFL football tailgating season.

The GoBQ Grill is a portable, packable grill made of heat and flameproof fabric that folds up like a camping chair to fit in a backpack or store in a drawer.  The GoBQ is the patented brainchild of start-up company Grillfold LLC and its founders—product design and engineering guru Eric Goeken, and Todd Zaroban, a successful entrepreneur with 25 years of marketing, branding and web development experience.

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Top 100 Crowdfunding Sites in the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and other Global Markets in 2015

3 Apr

Seeking New Crowdfunding Sites on a Worldwide Basis to Be Ranked for the Upcoming June 2015 Top Crowdfunding Sites in the United States and the Rest of the World

 By Robert Hoskins

[Click to Tweet this Top 100 List to Your Friends]

United States – We are currently updating our List of the Top 100 Crowdfunding Sites for 2015 in the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and other global markets.  

Clicking on the website traffic links below will take readers to one of the most insightful resources of information that details each website’s traffic ranking; the number of unique visitors per month; the average time spent on each site per visit; and the number of pages viewed per each visit.

Of more interest to crowdfunding campaign managers will be the precise ratio of social media, content marketing, search engine marketing, email marketing and display advertising that is being utilized by each crowdfunding site’s marketing campaigns to drive readers and investors to their crowdfunding profiles.

GoFundMe vs Kickstarter SimilarWeb Stats

GoFundMe vs Kickstarter SimilarWeb Stats

Even though these numbers reflect the aggregation of all of a given portal’s crowdfunding campaigns marketing efforts, they offer direct evidence of what is working and what is not.  Note the difference on how much social media and display advertising is being used by the Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites compared the lower 90 crowdfunding sites. 

This information can be used by crowdfunding sites as well as their crowdfunders to get a thorough understanding on how to plan future marketing campaigns that will have a higher than average success rate.

Want to know how GoFundMe just bypassed Kickstarter as the #1 crowdfunding platform on the planet? Click on the links below and use the comparison tool to show side-by-side comparisons of SEO keywords, link referrals, and social media usage. See the bottom of the page for more crowdfunding marketing tips.

[Click Here to Tweet this Top 100 List of Crowdfunding Sites]

Rank © Front Page PR   Global Rank
#1 (2014: #2) www.gofundme.com    1,318
#2 (2014: #1) www.kickstarter.com    1,373
#3 (2014: #3) www.angel.co    2,010
#4 (2014: #6) www.indiegogo.com    2,277
#5 (2014: #4) www.lendingclub.com    7,545
#6 (2014: #9) www.justgiving.com    8,558
#7 (2014: #8) www.youcaring.com   13,563
#8 (2014: #12) www.kiva.org     15,111
#9 (2014: #23) www.ulule.com   16,099
#10 (2014: #15) www.donorschoose.org    21,617
#11 (2014: #17) www.pledgemusic.com   24,461
#12 (2014: #13) www.crowdrise.com   26,906
#13 (2014: #18) www.tilt.com    29,512
#14 (2014: #10) www.giveforward.com    32,576
#15 (2014: #38) www.crowdcube.com    34,262
#16 (2014: #5) www.fundingcircle.com    34,307
#17 (2014: #14) www.razoo.com    44,329
#18 (2014: #16) www.fundly.com    48,132
#19 (2014: #36) www.pozible.com   48,898
#20 (2014: #19) www.firstgiving.com    58,401
#21 (2014: #20) www.fundrazr.com    64,163
#22 (2014: #27) www.circleup.com   68,095
#23 (2014: #25) www.fundable.com   73,430
#24 (2014: #new) www.kickante.com.br    75,510
#25 (2014: #26) www.crowdfunder.com    77,551
#26 (2014: #34) www.equitynet.com   88,181
#27 (2014: #new) www.zeczec.com   90,296
#28 (2014: #35) www.gogetfunding.com   97,023
#29 (2014: #29) www.fundrise.com 112,206
#30 (2014: #55) www.fundedbyme.com 116,409
#31 (2014: #new) www.experiment.com 133,573
#32 (2014: #22) www.realtymogul.com 134,519
#33 (2014: #61) www.geldvoorelkaar.nl 146,963
#34 (2014: #new) www.onevest.com 149,343
#35 (2014: #24) www.rockethub.com 149,430
#36 (2014: #33) www.wefunder.com 169,021
#37 (2014: #32) www.offbeatr.com 174,673
#38 (2014: #30) www.seedinvest.com 184,226
#39 (2014: #37) www.slated.com 210,555
#40 (2014: #new) www.patchofland.com 220,267
#41 (2014: #43) www.givezooks.com 234,356
#42 (2014: #58) www.pledgie.com 241,865
#43 (2014: #new) www.microventures.com  241,967
#44 (2014: #28) www.fundanything.com 248,200
#45 (2014: #46) www.ourcrowd.com 248,635
#46 (2014: #44) www.pave.com 268,856
#47 (2014: #68) www.growvc.com 285,285
#48 (2014: #62) www.ppl.com.pt 297,874
#49 (2014: #48) www.dragoninnovation.com 306,056
#50 (2014: #54) hwww.seedandspark.com 319,789
#51 (2014: #47) www.pubslush.com 336,465
#52 (2014: #41) www.opportunity.org 354,764
#53 (2014: #45) www.peerform.com 376,044
#54 (2014: #60) www.bolstr.com 388,543
#55 (2014: #new) www.investx.com 403,141
#56 (2014: #11) www.uinvest.com.ua 417,925
#57 (2014: #new) www.plumfund.com  421,110
#58 (2014: #40) www.fundraise.com 433,539
#59 (2014: #new) www.earlyshares.com 442,508
#60 (2014: #new) www.barnraiser.us 482,296
#61 (2014: #new) www.flashfunders.com 485,226
#62 (2014: #new) www.trucrowd.com 485,665
#63 (2014: #57) www.piggybackr.com 518,504
#64 (2014: #67) www.symbid.com 558,247
#65 (2014: #new) www.crowdstreet.com 704,602
#66 (2014: #39) www.assetavenue.com 742,849
#67 (2014: #51) www.microgiving.com 834,667
#68 (2014: #new) pitchfunder.asufoundation.org 861,826
#69 (2014: #77) www.artistshare.com 928,003
#70 (2014: #new) www.nextseed.com 992,563
#71 (2014: #76) www.appsfunder.com 1,047,453
#72 (2014: #42) www.assob.com.au 1,049,032
#73 (2014: #79) www.foodstart.com 1,080,478
#74 (2014: #new) www.loquidity.com  1,087,691
#75 (2014: #70) www.faithlauncher.com 1,089,032
#76 (2014: #80) www.solarmosaic.com 1,108,499
#77 (2014: #new) www.crowdfundingpays.com 1,256,560
#78 (2014: #new) www.dreamfunded.com 1,267,585
#79 (2014: #82) www.propellr.com 1,350,583
#80 (2014: #75) www.pledgecents.com 1,363,715
#81 (2014: #new) www.massventure.com 1,388,521
#82 (2014: #new) www.crowd2fund.com 1,494,834
#83 (2014: #96) www.ipledg.com 1,567,232
#84 (2014: #new) www.texasenetworks.com 1,721,280
#85 (2014: #63) www.icrowd.com 1,769,510
#86 (2014: #65) www.banktothefuture.com 1,836,932
#87 (2014: #new) www.acquirerealestate.com 2,169,205
#88 (2014: #056) www.sterlingfunder.com 2,533,134
#89 (2014: #new) www.realtywealth.com 2,647,893
#90 (2014: #85) www.massivemov.com 2,826,166
#91 (2014: #89) www.venturehealth.com 3,931,192
#92 (2014: #31) www.rockthepost.com 4,505,534
#93 (2014: #84) www.funderhut.com 5,182,841
#94 (2014: #83) www.fundafeast.com 5,325,919
#95 (2014: #71) www.crowdit.com 5,535,187
#96 (2014: #88) www.crowdhelps.com 5,892,083
#97 (2014: #95) www.crowdfundingbank.com 6,503,461
#98 (2014: #98) www.startacure.com 8,281,014
#99 (2014: #78) www.cMEcompete.com 9,332,644
#100 (2014: #87) www.endlesscrowds.com 12,934,557

Source: Feb 2015 SimilarWeb Website Statistics

Crowdfunding PR’s goal is simple. We want to make it possible for crowdfunders to shop for  crowdfunding platforms in a similar manner to the way media planners/buyers used to analyze ABC and BPA audit statements to buy advertisements in the business-to-business trade publication industry, where important media buying decisions were based on straight mathematics, not popularity or random guessing.

For example, would you rather run a crowdfunding campaign on a site where visitors are looking at 2-3 pages in around 3 minute’s time or a site where buyers are spending 6 to 11 minutes reviewing 6 to 10 pages?

This is the difference between shoppers who are visiting a site to see a particular crowdfunding campaign based on a marketing campaign versus people who are visiting a site to explore and actually shop around to find good deals to buy or invest their money.

This is why launching a campaign on Kickstarter or GoFundMe does not guarantee success. While GoFundMe or Kickstarter may be the largest sites in the world, people are only spending enough time to shop through more than 2 to 3 crowdfunding profiles before they exit. While other sites like Razoo.com, DonorsChoose.org, and FundingCircle.com have visitors that stay more than 6 to 11 minutes and view 6 to 10 pages.

When researching, planning and executing successful marketing programs for both crowdfunding platforms as well as their individual crowdfunding customer profiles, it is extremely important to see what is driving the most traffic to any given crowdfunding site.  Success is usually determined not only by what site the crowdfunding campaign is being hosted on, but also the marketing programs being harnessed to drive potential donors/investors to a specific crowdfunding profile.

Clicking on each link above will allow media planners/buyers to understand what role direct traffic (content marketing), search engines (SEO, PPC Advertising), social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, Quora), email marketing and display advertising (Google Display, Outbrain, AppNexus) are having on the success of crowdfunding campaigns.

For example, when planning a social media strategy, one of the most popular questions we get asked is – what social media networks are driving the most visitor traffic? Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora, Reddit, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram? The links above will make this answer crystal clear.

Not satisfied with your position on the list? Front Page PR’s team of crowdfunding PR, social media and marketing experts can help crowdfunding sites and crowdfunding campaigns plan the perfect mix of integrated marketing programs to significantly improve the amount of website traffic being driven to any given fundraising campaign or crowdfunding platform.

Feel free to call (512) 627-6622 with questions or request help to improve your website statistics before June.

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If you’d like to add your site to the Top 100 list, please fill out the form below.

BidOkee Adds Auctions, Draws, Referral Competitions and Traditional Gamification Services for Do It Yourself (DIY) Crowdfunding Campaigns

20 Mar

Elements of points, badges, leaderboards (PBLs)  engages and motivates people to achieve goals and enhances acquisition, retention and monetization of backers

 By Robert Hoskins

Vancouver, B.C. – BidOkee has launched a beta version of what will be a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform based on a cooperative model the company is calling “Crowdfunding for Crowdfunding.”  With BidOkee customers own their own crowdfunding site and their crowdfunders information from the start, and there isn’t a time limit on crowdfunding campaigns.

BidOkee provides backers with reward points to compete with in auctions and contests. If a crowdfunding campaign manager’s contacts can’t afford to donate, they can still earn loyalty points for referring people, which makes it possible to grow a crowdfunding campaign’s social network. 

BidOkee’s CEO, Eyal Lichtmann, contends that a major problem with crowdfunding is that small campaigns are being pushed aside as big corporations look to dominate the industry.  

Dr. Richard Swart, the director of research on crowdfinance at UC Berkeley, recently said that “that there are 10 to 20 Fortune 100 companies participating in Berkeley’s new Crowdfinance program that are thinking about launching a corporate crowdfunding campaign.”

Bidokee DIY Crowdfunding for Crowdfunding Business Model

BidOkee DIY Crowdfunding for Crowdfunding Business Model

Approximately one million crowdfunding campaigns are launched annually. Over $20 billion in crowdfunding transactions will occur this year – a 100% increase over last year – according to Equitynet. Another research report from the World Bank estimates that, by 2025, this number will spike to $300 billion annually, while others estimate as high as $500 billion that will contribute up to $3.2 trillion in economic development activity.

Entrepreneur.com reports how difficult it is for start-ups to get funding despite the proliferation of crowdfunding worldwide. Currently 90% of the world’s online population has access to crowdfunding and $1,400 is raised in donations every minute. Still, only 3% of all start-up funding comes from crowdfunding.

And E-commerce Times reports that Fortune 500 firms are actively experimenting with crowdfunding as a product launch and testing platform, potentially pushing out the small players. UC Berkeley is actually looking into providing courses for corporate executives wanting to launch crowdfunding campaigns. In addition, many charities, NGOs and scientific and health research projects are also looking to crowdfund their projects.

“As a result, traditional crowdfunding platforms, and the industry as a whole, are becoming very crowded,” Lichtmann says. “With more and more competition, including consultants and corporate campaigns, the bar is getting higher for small businesses. The cost and effort to successfully execute large campaigns is becoming prohibitive for many small firms and entrepreneurs. As crowdfunding platforms get bigger, start-ups are getting pushed out.”

“Breaking through the barriers is an uphill battle,” Lichtmann continues, “especially now, as small start-ups are being eclipsed by hundreds or thousands of campaigns launched by deep-pocketed Fortune 500 companies and established organizations. The biggest advertising and marketing firms, scientists and crowdfunding consultants are taking over. The bigger the crowdfunding site, the less a small start-up can compete.”

Dr. Richard Swart, the director of research on crowdfinance at UC Berkeley, indicated there are Fortune 100 companies that are thinking about launching a crowdfunding campaign.

Corporations have enormous resources to launch and build support for their crowdfunding campaigns and that is driving the cost of crowdfunding services higher for the little guy. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Dodge and DC Comics are using crowdfunding for marketing purposes, with the deleterious effect of marginalizing smaller players seeking to raise funds on the same platforms while at the same time driving up marketing, PR, consultancy and production costs within the industry.

“Crowdfunding was intended to enhance the start-up experience and bypass the onerous process of finding traditional investors to launch an idea or product,” says Lichtmann. “It was not intended as a marketing platform for established or already successful companies.”

An example, he says, is the Pebble watch, which already had sufficient cash on hand for their project but wanted the additional exposure Kickstarter offered.

“And now the biggest consumer companies in the world are moving into crowdfunding as a platform to market-test and pay for their product launches,” says Lichtmann. “This is counter to the whole notion of crowdfunding, which was supposed to assist start-ups penetrating the vast expanse of the marketplace.”

Some activist-commentators are calling out the commandeering of crowdfunding by multinational behemoths, though not everyone agrees, and a healthy debate is beginning.

“The survival of crowdfunding requires a true cooperative model that has the best interest of the small player in mind,” he says.

Lichtmann’s company, BidOkee, has launched a beta version of what will be a do-it-yourself crowdfunding platform based on a cooperative model.

“The DIY model we are building allows people the freedom to share, cooperate, assist, collaborate and utilize more human resources through cross-pollination of projects and ideas to yield infinitely more unique possibilities,” he says.

Scott Steinberg, author of The Crowdfunding Bible, featured BidOkee on NewsWatch TV. He declared: “This could change crowdfunding as we know it.”

Combining DIY with a cooperative model may sound contradictory, Lichtmann acknowledges.

“But a do-it-yourself model is about being wholly independent,” he says. “And the cooperative model is about relying on the goodwill and assistance of others. And that is the exact formula BidOkee is looking to propagate.”

BidOkee is establishing a cooperative model through which networks, resources, wisdom, advice, connections and best practices are shared between campaigns.

“If we reach our goals, we hope to share over $100 million annually back with campaigns,” he says. “But that number can grow higher. In addition, we are looking at cross-pollination opportunities that allow one successful start-up crowdfunding campaign to assist another start-up campaign with backers, users and other resources. Also, with the integration of loyalty rewards through a gamified system, campaigns can have access to tens of thousands of additional leads for their campaigns. We want to change 60% failure rates to 80% success rates. That is what we are striving for.”

As Darryl Burma, CEO of Crowdmapped.com says, “BidOkee will definitely disrupt the industry. It is doing something we have not seen before and is a game-changer.”

BidOkee is currently developing the beta platform into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, which will give anyone the opportunity to launch their own independent, self-directed crowdfunding campaign with tools and features no other platform offers.

“We are now crowdfunding for crowdfunding and hope people will support our campaign to get this model to market” says Lichtmann. “We think this is the future – a future that realizes crowdfunding’s original potential.”

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Why Every University and College Should Develop a Rewards-based or Equity-Based Crowdfunding Ecosystem

18 Mar

Crowdfunding platforms can be used to support research & development, transfer technology, protect IP, build co-working spaces and finance incubators and accelerators to launch new startups

 By Robert Hoskins

 Austin, Texas – The purpose of this equity crowdfunding article is to encourage universities and colleges to begin thinking about how schools and students might benefit from:

The Need to Build a Crowdfunding Ecosystem

There is a new generation of “Millennials” that do not want to go to college due to the poor economy and because they do not want to start their life as young adults by incurring $50,000 or more in college loan debt. And there is a growing concern for many students that there may not be a job waiting for them when they finally graduate. 

Read more:  What is Crowdfunding?

But what if there was a way to attract more students by convincing them that they could work their way through college by researching, planning and then launching their own business while earning their college degree? This would allow some certainty about their career path and teach students how to put a lot more money in their pockets than working for a large corporation that will stick them in a cubicle for the rest of their life.

Entrepreneurship Centers

For this reason, “Entrepreneurship Centers” are becoming a huge draw for students who do not want to work for a living, but instead want to live for working. That means learning how to build new startups from the ground up.  Entrepreneurship Centers usually start with a co-working space, then adds a business incubator with mentors to guide students through the startup process and when budget permits, accelerators are created to help students raise money from angel investors, accredited investors and sometimes venture capitalists.

Co-Working Spaces for Startup Companies

The biggest challenge for incubators and accelerators are the costs associated with building a 25,000 sq. ft. co-working space, paying mentors salaries and finding experienced executives with great track records that are willing to share their wisdom and industry experience with students. There is also resistance from departing from the “old school” way of transferring technology from a university Research & Development laboratory, protecting the intellectual property and then utilizing a licensing or royalty revenue model to realize short-term deals to provide a revenue for the college or university. 

JOBS Act: Nationwide Equity Crowdfunding

Enter the 2012 JOBS Act, General Solicitation and a new Equity Crowdfunding alternative financing tool that can help startups raise seed investment capital to startup new businesses. While the SEC and NASAA seems hell bent on preventing the national guidelines from ever being released (they are three years past the official deadline mandated by President and the United States Congress), approximately 14 states such as Texas, Michigan, and Georgia have passed their own Intrastate Equity Crowdfunding Exemptions. Add to that another 15 states have a Crowdfunding Exemption in progress.

Map of U.S. States that approved Intrastate Equity Crowdfunding Exemptions

Map of United States that have approved Intrastate Equity Crowdfunding Exemptions

Source: CrowdfundingLegalHub.com

Intrastate Equity Crowdfunding Exemption

In states where intrastate equity crowdfunding is legal, any trade school, college or university can build an equity crowdfunding platform and use it to begin fundraising campaigns to raise money, not only from Angel Investors and Accredited Investors, but also from the general public who are non-accredited investors.

Read more: What is an Intrastate Equity Crowdfunding Exemption?

This means anyone can take a brilliant idea, create a business plan and investor deck to support the business case, build an online equity crowdfunding profile and then use marketing campaigns to advertise the deal to millions of potential investors. Like any e-commerce site, Investors can then visit the equity crowdfunding sites to shop for deals by minimum investment amount, by products or services or by vertical business segment to find deals they want to invest in.

This means that a college or university can build an equity crowdfunding site and use it to raise money for every one of its R&D programs and streamline the entire technology transfer process so that promising technology can be transformed into startups businesses. The school collects a certain percentage from each crowdfunding campaign called a platform commission fee. For a $1 million raise and 10% platform commission fee, a college could collect a $100,000 fee from each campaign. This money could be used to fund co-working spaces, incubators, accelerators and Entrepreneurship Centers.

Creating Equity Crowdfunding Investment Syndicates

By the SEC’s securities law, a crowdfunding platform’s management team or employees cannot invest in equity campaign hosted on its own site unless they are registered broker dealer with the SEC. But a popular trend that is growing is building a college or university equity crowdfunding investment syndicate. An investment syndicate is usually led by one or more Super Angel Investors, who are seasoned veterans that have been investing in startups for 20 to 30 years and completely understanding the process of vetting deals with due diligence and understand the real risks of investing in startup companies.

Novice accredited investors with little investment experience join the investment syndicate so that they can follow or invest along side the Super Angel Investors. In addition, where it is legal, investment syndicates will pool a large pool of non-accredited investors together, who make small investments, into a single LLC and then invest the group’s money similar to how a venture capitalist invests money on the behalf of others.

Adopting an Equity Crowdfunding Ecosystem

For colleges and universities that adopt an equity crowdfunding business model might, it might completely change the way a school recruits, raises money, builds relationships with alumni and earns revenue by seeking long-term equity stakes in their students startups versus short-term licensing and royalty agreements.

Read More:  Top 100 Crowdfunding Sites in the United States

Launching an equity crowdfunding platform would not just increase a school’s earning potential, but they might dramatically change the manner in which that Millennials are taught. Instead of just course work, students would be taught at an early age to begin to engage with the world around them and plot a course for their own future destiny rather than relying on fate. Some Millennials might reject the idea of going to college, but the lure of becoming a successful entrepreneur and launching their own business while earning a college education has the potential to create one of the most vibrant and thriving economies the world has ever seen.

Even students that do not start up their own companies have an outstanding chance to benefit from the equity crowdfunding business model. All students seek a way to get some type of real world work experience usually by working as free or highly underpaid interns. Imagine the learning benefits that student would receive when applying their desired major’s education such as business administration, finance, legal or marketing to the intense equity crowdfunding process of launching a startup company.

Instead of adding a bullet point for working a menial job as a small cog in the corporate machine as an intern, students just might be fortunate enough to work on several successful crowdfunding campaigns that would highlight their professional expertise such as business planning, structuring equity finance deals marketing, PR, video production, and/or copy writing. And if the sweat equity pays off in equity crowdfunding shares, they might become extremely wealthy when that startup goes public a couple of years after they graduate. This is how many, many Silicon Valley millionaires got their start. They just did not have a term for the process, which is now branded as equity crowdfunding today.

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Need help setting up a college/university crowdfunding sites?

Please fill out this form to get started:

Understanding the Best Type of Crowdfunding Site to Support a College or University Campus

16 Mar

What’s the Best Type of Crowdfunding Platform to Serve a College or University Entrepreneurship Center, Co-Working Space, Incubator or Accelerator Program?

By Robert Hoskins

Understanding the Crowdfunding Funding Process

The first step in building a crowdfunding business model is to understand the various forms of crowdfunding and at what step of the business creation process each should be used.

This crowdfunding infographic is a good representation on each step of the business creation process from the business idea, generating revenue, validating marketplace demand, expanding operations and maturing into a fortune 500 company.  It also shows what type of crowdfunding is usually best to fund startups and each step of the business’ evolution.

The Crowdfunding Escalator by CrowdSuite  Shows the  Different Types of Crowdfunding

The Crowdfunding Escalator by Crowdfund Suite Shows the Different Types of Crowdfunding

Source: CrowdfundSuite.com


Donation-based Crowdfunding
– At kitchen tables, dinner parties, happy hours and dorm rooms around the world many brilliant ideas are born and discussed for the very first time. Once an idea has been pitched and vetted among friends and family and it begins to gain momentum toward the first step of crowdfunding, Donation-based Crowdfunding, which is used to scrape enough money together to begin building a business plan to figure out how much it will cost to bring a business idea to fruition and/or develop at one or more prototypes. Donation crowdfunding sites make it easy to collect money for new creative ideas as well as expand the crowdfunding campaign’s reach from just family and friends to a global audience of potential supporters.

Most donation-based crowdfunding sites are usually built to provide fundraising activities for campaigns that do not offer any rewards or perks.  They are also used to support non-profit causes.  Donations to 501(3)(c) are tax deductible and can be written off at the end of the year.  

Most universities will only build donation-based crowdfunding sites that can be used by students and faculty to collect money by students and faculty for a wide variety of projects including college educations, scholarships, research and development, campus improvements and all kinds of not-for-profit endeavors. Crowdfunding can be used for very small fundraising efforts to raising millions of dollars from alumni, foundations, institutional investors and corporate sponsors.

Donation-based crowdfunding sites will make it easy for anyone to search for, discover, research and fund their favorite pet projects on their alma mater’s campus.

Rewards-based Crowdfunding – Surprisingly enough 90% of people in the world still are not familiar with the term crowdfunding. Mention Kickstarter or IndieGoGo and most people do recognize the brand name and know its purpose and have heard of popular crowdfunding campaigns such as Oculus, Star Citizen, Coolest Cooler and the return of the Pebble Time SmartWatch.

Rewards-based campaigns are used to take ideas, concepts and prototypes to the next level. They are used in a similar fashion to how typical marketing campaigns are used to support product/service launches and rollouts with an added twist.

People with ideas build a crowdfunding profile, shoot a crowdfunding pitch video and build a list of up to 20 perks or rewards that are pre-sold to raise enough money to develop a prototype or pay for the very first manufacturing production run.  Not only do rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns validate industry demand, but they allow businesses to test market various product versions, colors and price points to gauge public interest. More importantly, they help startups generate their first revenue by pre-selling their products and services in order to raise enough money to get the business started. Gaining this type of market traction is very important to angel investors because it shows that there is an audience of people who are willing to pay for the company’s products and services. 

The best way for universities and colleges to cut their teeth on the crowdfunding business model is to launch a rewards-based crowdfunding site, which usually collects a 5% commission on the crowdfunding campaign’s total amount raised. That may not sound like much but since 2009, Kickstarter alone has raised $1.6 billion, which at 5% means $80 million over 5 years in gross revenue or an average of $16 million per year that could be used to fund a wide variety of college/university projects.

Not only are crowdfunding platforms a good source of revenue, but with the right marketing resources crowdfunding campaigns have the potential to raise a huge amount of marketplace awareness for the university’s projects, business development goals, research and development labs and technology transfer programs. All at no cost to the university because the crowdfunding campaign managers are the ones that spend money to market their crowdfunding campaign to the world.

The other reason to consider launching a rewards-based crowdfunding program is that they are easy and do not fall under the jurisdiction of the SEC or state securities board regulators because no securities are being sold. For new startups it also means that raising money does not involve selling any equity shares or giving up any control of the company’s administration.

Rewards-based crowdfunding campaign commissions can also be used by colleges/universities to establish co-working spaces and to fund college incubator and accelerator programs. Co-working spaces with at least 25,000 sq. ft. can generate millions of dollars per year in additional revenue from rent and mentorship programs.

It is important to note that rewards-based commissions combined with co-working space revenue can provide millions of dollars in seed investment capital to begin funding the next step in the process, equity-based crowdfunding sites, where schools, students, faculty and alumni can become equity investors in new startups.

Equity-based Crowdfunding – Setting up equity-based crowdfunding websites will allow schools to play the role usually enjoyed by Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists and/or Broker-Dealers. They will allow students to raise money for startups by selling debt, such as convertible notes, or selling equity shares for a certain percentage of the company to raise enough seed investment capital to produce prototypes, fund early manufacturing runs, setup distribution agreements and hire manufacturer representatives. 

Other types of equity crowdfunding involve sharing 20% of the gross profits with investors or making royalty payments on a per item sold basis until the investors receive a 3x to 5x payback on their initial investment.

Investing in startups is a risky business, but with the right education and building a small group of experienced Super Angel investors to follow, a large group of novice accredited investors can invest smaller amounts of money along side seasoned experts with a proven 25-30 year track record.

In states like Texas, Michigan, Georgia and 11 others non-accredited investors can also pool their money together to purchase equity shares of stock. This is something that has been illegal for the past 80 years, but intrastate crowdfunding exemption laws are now allowing average people to begin investing in startups just like angel investors and venture capitalists.

The aggregation of novice accredited and non-accredited investors are known as Investment Syndicates, which is the process of following expert investors.  This allows students, faculty members and the general public to learn the equity investment business and enjoy the benefits of being an insider when a great business idea is transformed from a startup company to an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

For example, a $300 investment for a single share of stock and pair of Oculus virtual reality goggles would have paid investors a return on investment of $45,000 when Facebook bought the company for $2 billion dollars.

Equity-based crowdfunding is much more complicated than rewards-based crowdfunding due to the stringent requirements needed to meet the SEC and state securities board regulatory requirements.

Unlike rewards-based crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding provides a great opportunity for business administration, legal and finance students to get hands-on experience writing business plans, structuring deals, protecting intellectual property (IP) and planning real world product/service launches that are part of every single equity crowdfunding campaign.

Working alongside experienced angel investors and venture capitalists is also a great way for students and faculty to learn the finance industry from the inside out.

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What is Crowdfunding?

14 Mar

Crowdfunding sites and platforms are a great way for Universities and Colleges to generate extra revenue and market their school’s brand name on a global basis

By Robert Hoskins

What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is not a new concept. It has been used for thousands of years to collect small sums of money from the masses to pay for some of the most well known works in the world such as the Statue of Liberty.

The JOBS Act made it legal to use e-commerce sites to build crowdfunding profiles to collect money online from investors and utilize general solicitation  (advertising/marketing/PR) to raise money from the masses for the first time in 80 years. Funding that can be used provide seed investment capital to startups and help existing businesses expand their operations.

What States Have Legalized Equity Crowdfunding?

At the federal level, the final Title III equity crowdfunding rules guidelines have been stalled by the SEC, but at the state level Texas, Michigan, Georgia and 13 other states have passed Intrastate Crowdfunding Exemption rules that allow startups and businesses to raise money by selling equity shares online to raise seed investment capital. Other large states including CaliforniaIllinois, and Pennsylvania have proposed legislation, which is working its way through the legislative process.

Map of U.S. States that approved Intrastate Equity Crowdfunding Exemptions

Map of U.S. States that have approved Intrastate Equity Crowdfunding Exemptions

                                                Source: CrowdfundingLegalHub.com

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RE-volv’s IndieGoGo Crowdfunding Campaign Successfully Raises $50,002 to Fund 36-kW Community Solar Project to Power Organic Food Cooperative in San Francisco 

4 Mar

“Solar Seed Fund” finances solar clean energy projects for non-profits and cooperatives by crowdfunding tax deductible donations to fund 20-year solar leases that give back to the community

By Robert Hoskins

San Francisco, California –  RE-volv, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, successfully completed its third crowdfunding campaign on Thursday, raising over $50,000 to finance a 36-kW solar array for the Other Avenues Food Cooperative in San Francisco. RE-volv’s innovative solar financing model, the Solar Seed Fund — the first of its kind — uses crowdfunding to grow a revolving fund that’s continually reinvested in community-based solar projects.

SolarSeedFund Raises Money on Indiegogo to Support Community Solar Project

SolarSeedFund Raises Money with Crowdfunding to Build Community Solar Projects

“People are sick of waiting for leaders to take action on climate change. They want to lead the way in their own communities and RE-volv is giving them a tool to do that.” said Andreas Karelas, Executive Director of RE-volv. “Having completed three successful campaigns, we see that this model is replicable and poised to grow rapidly.”

During its first three Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns, RE-volv has raised over $121,000 from close to 900 donations from people in 38 states and 22 countries. This money is being utilized to finance three community-based solar projects amounting to 68kW of solar capacity.

RE-volv finances solar energy projects for non-profits and cooperatives that serve their community. RE-volv covers the initial costs of a 20-year solar lease by crowdfunding tax deductible donations.

As communities pay RE-volv back through a solar lease over time, RE-volv reinvests those funds plus interest into new projects for nonprofits and cooperatives creating a revolving fund for solar energy that serves the community.

“I’ve been working on this project for eight years, and it’s been difficult to find the right fit for financing this solar project,” said Other Avenues president Darryl Dea. “So when RE-volv came around it was a perfect fit for us because not only do they work with nonprofits and co-ops, but we’re able to contribute to this fund which will further create more solar projects.”

Leading up to Global Divestment Day last week, Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, added, “As everyone’s divesting, might be worth donating a little money to this Solar Seed Fund” which resulted in increased donations for the campaign.

Another factor that helped RE-volv reach its crowdfunding goal was being selected as a winner of the OpenIDEO Renewable Energy Challenge two weeks ago.

As a result, RE-volv will receive resources and support from innovative design firm IDEO and leading environmental foundation, the 11th Hour Project. Open IDEO described RE-volv’s model in this way: “The Solar Seed Fund isn’t your grandma’s crowdfunding platform… It’s a positive feedback cycle that encourages communities to rapidly transition to solar.”

Winning the OpenIDEO challenge adds to a growing line of support for RE-volv. RE-volv has received support for its work from Audubon’s Toyota TogetherGreen program, the San Francisco Foundation, the Rose Foundation, the Yahoo Employee Foundation, Patagonia, KIND Healthy Snacks, Aveda, and Whole Foods.

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Freaker’s Founder Returns to Kickstarter to Launch $250k Crowdfunding Campaign to Fund New Line of Freaker Socks

5 Jan

When millions of people saw Freaker USA founder Zach Crain on ABC’s Shark Tank, the first thing they noticed were his zany antics, his wild beard, and his rambunctious yet business-savvy charm. What they may have missed is his commitment to keeping jobs in the US!

By Robert Hoskins

Wilmington, North Carolina – One of the wildest contestants ever on ABC’s Shark Tank, Zach Crain, founder of Freaker USA is returning to Kickstarter, where his 2011 video was hailed as “the holy grail of Kickstarter videos” by the crowdfunding site itself. Starting New Year’s Day, Freaker USA aims to raise $250,000 on Kickstarter in 40 days to begin production on Freaker Feet, the company’s high-quality line of socks that are 100% designed, sourced, and manufactured in the USA. The 6-minute video pitch is the company’s most outrageously entertaining video production yet.

Freaker Feet, the company’s high-quality line of socks that are 100% designed, sourced, and manufactured in the USA

Freaker Feet, the company’s high-quality line of socks that are 100% designed, sourced, and manufactured in the USA

Freaker USA’s quirky line of ultra-stretchy beverage insulators, called Freakers and also made in the USA, can now be found everywhere from independent gift shops and boutiques to major national retailers. The company is expanding into socks, an import-dominated industry, in order to further support manufacturing in America.

Freaker Feet’s Kickstarter page shows the anatomy of their domestically produced socks, with the names and locations of the American cotton spinners, mills, dyers, and packagers that will create them—and who will ultimately reap economic benefit from the campaign.

“Let’s team up! Let’s go after the sock industry that’s 99% overseas,” says Freaker USA founder Zach Crain. “Socks don’t need to have a 20,000 mile footprint. Let’s bring these jobs home.”

Freaker Feet will have 127 sock designs in total, including officially licensed collegiate, boutique styles, a design for each of the 50 States, and one for almost every football fan.

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New Reality TV Crowdfunding Platform Allows Talk Shows and Reality TV Programs to Fund Their Programming

30 Dec

New CrowdedReality.com crowdfunding platform gives reality TV and talk show producers a chance to crowdfund their passion for programming

By Robert Hoskins

Reno, Nevada – CrowdedReality.com, created by award winning producer Adryenn Ashley, is a new crowdfunding site that allows programming creators three ways to crowdfund their shows through a system designed to reveal the reach of new shows, and to incite competition for the opportunity to sponsor or air each show. 

Dog Rescue Club App and Reality TV Show

Dog Rescue Club App and Reality TV Show

Traditionally television programming has been kept under lock and key, with many too many gatekeepers along the way, which prevents truly independent television from ever flourishing. That’s about to change and be completely reinvented.  Independent films, reality TV shows and other types of entertainment can now raise money directly from fans to support the production of their programming concepts. 

As Ashley explains, “Over the past year we have developed relationships with over 200 brands and in discussing sponsorship needs and wants, one topic kept repeating – they wanted to know, to quantify, the social reach potential. For every new show, that’s always going to be just a best guess. Until now.” With algorithmic triggers that alert pre-screened and “vetted” sponsors, the site interacts with and introduces show-specific sponsors even before the funding cycle is complete.

Using a factor called Social Currency, tied to proprietary back end tools, CrowdedReality.com can calculate the reach and value to a sponsor and the demographic most interested in a show. This feature encourages sponsors to take action and secure their position with the show to leverage the social currency the show has built and gives potential sponsors the certainty they are looking for when choosing where to invest their marketing dollars, while leaving creative control in the hands of the show creators.

Less than a week old, CrowdedReality.com has already attracted shows from all over the country and across . The Dog Rescue Club, The Sifu: Kung Fu Redemption and The Fab Lab have all jumped on board to be the first to leverage the platform. Even veteran Reality TV star Justine Tranchita from Game of Pawns is using to launch his new spin off show, “The Branson Family”.

With a keen eye for bringing shows to life that would otherwise be shelved, CrowdedReality.com is ripe to become the foremost destination for niche content discovery.

“I wanted to create a show that will truly honor the shift in our consciousness and our desire for all things good. To do that I needed to bring across guests and products in a conversational format that bridges the New Mainstream into the Existing Mainstream. I couldn’t do that if I didn’t have creative control of the show,” say Lisa Marie, Co-Creator of Wake Up! “Here I can prove to the most conservative sponsor the viability of both the show and audience through Social Currency.”

Crowdedreality.com is indeed an evidence of the times. Social voting until now has been interruptive, or a picture within a picture for TV. An after thought. A thirty minute reel after a show runs. “We are putting the value Social Currency front and center. This is the new power in entertainment. CrowdedReality.com both helps protect the creator with their creation, giving direct access – and helps protect a sponsor or distributor with their pre-valuation of a show, reducing risk.”

And from veteran Radio and TV Crowdfunding Expert Mike Hayes, “This changes everything! CrowdedReality.com is a smart, innovative funding model that finally has found that magic in leveraging real social campaigning. Unique to this model created by the media marvel Adryenn Ashley – people are able to create social campaigns that not only support the show, bring visitors, and donors – but they add a critical piece of voting with their Social Currency – CrowdedReality.com removes the historic blocks to funding.”

And industry leaders have noticed. Across the pond in the UK, Carlo Cocuzzi, UK Business Growth Strategist was the first to suggest a UK version of the site, “CrowdedReality.com is an absolute game changer.”

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Predictions for the Top 15 Crowdfunding Trends that Will Emerge During 2015

22 Dec

New Developments Expected from the SEC, Texas Crowdfunding Portals, Crowdfunding Service Providers, State Banks, Corporate Crowdfunders, Non-Profits and Secondary Trading Markets

By Robert Hoskins

Austin, Texas – Front Page PR predicts the top 15 crowdfunding trends that will emerge by the end of 2015 for the United States crowdfunding industry:

  1. The SEC will do the right thing and surprise the U.S. by introducing rewritten Title III crowdfunding regulations formulated to appease both Wall Street and entrepreneurs.
  2. Texas Incubators/Accelerators will add equity crowdfunding portals to their investment models to earn extra revenue, improve deal flow and tap 20 million unaccredited investors.
  3. There will be a rising tide of third-party crowdfunding service providers needed to produce Private Placement Memorandums (PPMs) and necessary disclosure documentation.
  4. State banks will seize the opportunity to create new revenue streams by setting up crowdfunding equity escrow services that larger banks will probably ignore.
  5. Advertising, PR and social media firms will improve the success rate of million dollar crowdfunding campaigns to more than a 50% success rate regardless of crowdfunding site.
  6. Major corporations like Sony will begin to launch substantial crowdfunding campaigns to test the market demand for their company’s latest and greatest high-tech, clean-tech, bio-tech, fin-tech and film/music products and services
  7. Major corporations will follow IBM’s example by opening their own intranet crowdfunding platforms to allow employees to fast track innovative products and services by using crowdfunding campaigns to override political and corporate management roadblocks.
  8. Major publishing houses will follow Reddit’s and YouTube’s example by launching their own crowdfunding platforms to harness mature electronic commerce & marketing capabilities.
  9. Real Estate will lead the marketplace in offering attractive equity crowdfunding deal flow.
  10. Texas will become one of the largest equity crowdfunding markets in the United States.
  11. More than 50% of U.S. states will approve crowdfunding exemptions by the end of 2015.
  12. By Q4 2015 a secondary market will begin to emerge for trading equity crowdfunding shares.
  13. Crowdfunding investing will cause private equity investors and venture capitalists to lose their ability to take advantage of startups/entrepreneurs who will find it much easier to raise venture capital funding.
  14. Non-profit fundraising organizations will move their entire fundraising operations to a pure online donation-based crowdfunding platform to substantially streamline their organizations and reduce their operating expenses.
  15. As in many early growth industries, large players like GoFundMe, IndieGoGo and Kickstarter will begin buying up smaller sites to increase market share and expand their global presence.

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Contact:
Robert Hoskins
Front Page PR
(512) 627-6622
@Crowdfunding_PR
@FrontPage_PR
@Crowdfunding_TX

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