Why did you decide to trust SparkUp?
Since Jeremy pitched about SparkUp and crowdfunding during a Meetup event I attended, I had been interested in crowdfunding. And then, someone I trust suggested I should use SparkUp to raise funds. I was first convinced by the success fees. It’s riskless and a SparkUp campaign can only have a positive impact: even if I had failed at raising money, I would have communicated about Cavacave and I would have activated my network.
Do you recommend crowdfunding?
Yes, and I’ve already recommended it several times. I think companies have nothing to lose and everything to gain running a fundraising campaign with SparkUp. SparkUp’s best asset is probably that it allows you to talk to everybody, and particularly to people you’d never thought to be interested. It boosts self-confidence, and - when you find out that someone you worked with a long time ago wants to invest - it proves you and your company have impacted people. It’s riskless, and it’s a cool way to communicate, letting your network know how your company is going, connecting again with some people and generating business opportunities.
Why did you decide to call on crowdfunding?
I needed to increase my capital and I was too small to interest Venture Capitals and Business Angels. I had doubts about reaching out to these traditional actors because of the length and the complexity of their procedures.
I found calling on my network more relevant to fund Cavacave since it is a company that has to reach wine lovers. My network being composed of wine lovers and people with whom I had established trustworthy work relationships, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to find investors invested both with their head and heart.
At what stage of your company’s development did you decide to call on fundraising?
I raised funds for Cavacave after almost two years. I wanted to postpone the fundraising until we started getting some metrics to show a significant traction. It enabled me to have a stronger position to obtain the fundraising terms and conditions I wanted and to increase my fundraising success.
How much did you raise? Under what terms?
We are still under a confidentiality agreement with one of our shareholders, I hence cannot communicate about every detail. I can, however, say that it is 2.8 times more than the initial goal. It is between €250k and €1M. It is undeniably a great success!
We gave out simple shares and fundraising terms were the same as what I had initially stated.
What made your campaign successful?
I would say that 3 factors contributed to the fundraising success. Firstly, the support and the follow up from SparkUp’s team. Then the time and energy I put into this and at last the flawless pugnacity! It is indeed a time consuming process and sometimes random (one day it works, the other day it does not) and there is a need to persist to achieve its ends. That is sales!
What were the tickets invested and how many investors participated?
7 investors invested between €10K and €100k. What seems surprising is that one of my biggest investors is a customer. The others are mainly people from my remote circles and professional investors.
Who did you contact?
I contacted my largest network, which means 1,500 people including my friends, my family, and most of all very distinct yet remote network; for instance business relations during travels and in other former positions. The people who reacted are the ones I never thought would. I was surprised by the respondents.
I am lucky to have a qualitative, active and non-anonymous network. There are only few people I didn’t know. I also contacted Cavacave’s network, that is suppliers and clients.
Finally, SparkUp enabled me to reach a professional investors database specialized in startups.
What difficulties did you encounter?
I wasted too much time with people who were not qualified and not serious service providers who only wanted to sell their services.
Have these investors brought more than just a financial support?
Yes, many brought their expertise and opened their address book. They all want to be involved, are very attentive and wish to see the project succeed. Not only because they have a financial connection but also because it is an emotional product. They are all, in some way, entrepreneurs, which is exactly what I was looking for.
This funding campaign also enabled me to identify the people valuable for my business and to find the expertise needed, present in my advisory board.
I had the possibility to deny some investors because they did not correspond to what I was expecting for Cavacave.
Would you do it again if you had to?
Yes, I would, but I would like to qualify the meetings better in order to manage my time. But even if I lost some time with unfruitful meetings, all these conversations were still beneficial to Cavacave. SparkUp’s action generated meetings and made me talk to many interesting people. I could much better visualize Cavacave and adjust my forecasts post that.
What would you say to entrepreneurs who hesitate to call on SparkUp?
Just do it!
["Professional Investors","Clients","Partners","Professional Network"]