Why did you decide to trust SparkUp?
Raising lovemoney via an equity crowdfunding solution was ideal because institutional investors, venture capitalists, and business angels wanted more guarantees regarding our traction. Also, Carfully is a sharing economy startup so I wanted to apply the sharing economy principles to our fundraising. SparkUp empowered me to mobilize the people who followed us since the beginning, our clients, partners, and my entire network. Last but not least, SparkUp allowed us to raise funds on our terms both with regards to our valuation pact and shareholder agreement.
What would you tell entrepreneurs who hesitate to try SparkUp?
SparkUp rapidly unlocks difficult situations. Also, with SparkUp you should get better terms for your funding round. And you only pay if you raise!
What made your campaign successful?
In this funding process, the key to our success is to have contacted as many people as possible. We simply called on every person being somehow linked to Carfully, which means the company’s network, the founders’, the users and all eventual prospects.
Why did you decide to raise funding?
While we were in Paris, we identified the opportunity to create a car rental solution between individuals in touristic places. The launch of the project included an obvious location in Martinique. We had the market proximity, an understanding of the context and partners’ relationships, especially with insurers, which enabled a fast development.
Unfortunately, local investment market is less structured. Institutional investors, Venture Capital and Business Angels in Paris don’t cover these territories unless you have a very complete track record. When we needed to raise after 3 years in order to accelerate our development, we were in a dead end.
We then discovered the concept of crowdfunding. It immediately appeared as obvious. Calling on our community, the people who support us, partners via a structured process bringing trust, being exactly what we needed.
Why didn’t you contact Business angels or investment funds?
Martinique location represents a brake for many investors of Metropolitan France. Numerous persons are reluctant to the idea of investing in a project so far away unless the project is sufficiently developed.
The local offer is completely informal and not structured. The technology sector is new and evokes many questions and fantasies.
At what stage of your company did you decide to call on crowdfunding?
At the launch of the company we benefited from a regional help of €15,000. Our first investor joined us for an extra 15,000. This enabled us to prove the effectiveness of our concept.
Today, while the concept is ready to be launched, this €100k investment was a strategic priority. We are the only ones in our market with strong entry barriers. We had to go quickly in order to become the leader on our segment. We then had for objective to become the leader on several islands of Outer Sea within 3 years: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane and Réunion. This investment will enable us to reach that goal before a more global deployment.
How much did you raise and under what terms?
Thanks to SparkUp we raised €126,300 without having to agree on dissatisfactory agreements.
The dilution concept was accurate and the valuation consistent. We have a real project of partnership with our investors: the creation of a community of investors-ambassadors with sharing, discussion and participation to the development tools. These entrepreneurship values are those of the crowdfunding as we understand it.
What was the average ticket invested?
The average ticket is around €3,100. But this average is not very representative of the investments. A few limited themselves to a €500 investment, some others went for €10,000 to €25,000.
Who did you contact?
We first contacted the Carfully users community (travelers and car owners). Then, we expanded both our professional and familial network. Finally, in a third time, we addressed to some investors from the local economy. We also received many solicitations, after recommendations, and thus placed a catch phrase on our website. This represented at least 1,500 people we reached.
What challenges did you encounter?
For the people of my network who usually have no investment culture, I needed to share some explanations on the mechanisms, the economic and financial logic.
The second difficult point was the nature of the mission: leading a campaign of investors search, which means launching a pure marketing and commercial campaign. Being an engineer, I had to get used to this path and mainly to take the time to do the work. As we are all three associates and co-founders, we could share the workload.
Have these investors brought you more than a financial support?
Our initial investor is the Créo group, founded by Patrick Fabre. This is a very important local group with a very strong entrepreneurial culture. The investment was more than only financial.
In a general manner, there is a real desire from our investors to be able to express their opinion, suggestion, propose leads for development. It is in that way that we managed to create a real community of investors-ambassadors.
If you had to, would you do it again?
Of course! Without hesitation! But we would do it in a better way. Indeed, during my campaign with SparkUp, we learnt that the key to go faster is to contact as many people as quickly as possible. The best investors reveal themselves during the meet-ups and discussions.
Would you recommend crowdfunding?
Yes because crowdfunding is an extraordinary way to raise rapidly with good conditions and to find support for the business development.
["Family","Colleagues","College Contacts","Professional Network","Recommendation","Direct Prospecting","Company's community","Friends"]