What made your campaign a success?
Lots of things contributed to our success. First of all, the professionalism of SparkUp’s solution: from the online presentation to the optimised emailing and the personalised reminders. Lots of my contacts were amazed by the professional nature of our campaign. For example, the tracking system allowed me to contact people once they’d shown an interest in my project: as soon as someone clicked on my pitch I could contact them immediately. Another important point was the direct and personal nature of the exchanges that I was able to have with my old contacts as well as new ones during the campaign. My role as founder of the project was highlighted and this made a big difference to the very personal nature of the relationship with my investors and their motivation to invest in the project. Of course, the project itself appealed to people.
What would you say to people about using SparkUp?
I would say go for it, as it’s original, efficient and free. I say that because the commission is only paid once the funds have been raised.
Why did you decide to try crowdfunding?
This original way of raising funds was exactly what I needed for my financing. It was a race as I used it at the last minute; it was June 10th and I needed the funds before the end of July. Just before I discovered the crowdfunding, I had tested more traditional methods with Business Angels but found that it wasn’t efficient enough for my situation and I didn’t interest investment funds. I know a number of company owners but I didn’t know how to reach out to them. I also thought that some people in my address book would be interested in the same way as the BAs. Crowdfunding seemed like an ideal solution that would work with my short timeline and be a realistic solution.
At what stage of your company’s development did you decide to try crowdfunding?
15 months after the creation of the company. We had developed the first version of our software and sold it to our first client. We needed more financing to begin our marketing.
How much did you raise with this method? What were the conditions?
We raised €45,000. Originally we were aiming for €100,000 but we preferred to stop the campaign mid-route in order to respect our deadlines. We’ll launch a second campaign later in order to improve our growth.
Why did you decide to trust SparkUp?
They were the only ones who suggested this way of raising money and I didn’t look at any of their competitors. SparkUp’s offer was original, efficient and arrived at just the right time. Their method of operation with success fees is also essential as it proves that they believe in their product.
What amounts were invested and who are your investors?
5 people contributed amounts of between €5k and €20k. The person who invested the most is an entrepreneur I know well: I met him at an event for a network of business owners, the CJD (Centre des Jeunes Dirigeants d’entreprises). The other people who invested were a former client, two people I know through my professional network and a person I didn’t know at all. This last person was contacted through the snowballing effect of my campaign: I’d written to a recent partner who transferred my appeal to one of his partners, a chartered accountant. Already convinced by the project, the personal recommendation gave the person an added guarantee in its seriousness.
Who did you contact?
I contacted everyone in my address book, my LinkedIn network, all my Gmail contacts, my clients and my prospects. I really aimed wide in order to improve my chances of success. By the way, I even contacted my competitors by mistake. In total, 1,000 contacts were used.
Did your investors provide more than financial support?
It’s too early to say, but I do hope so. I would like them to help me with the strategic decisions that I’ll have to take for the company. I have a personal relationship with them so I expect more from them than I would if they had been Business Angels.
Would you recommend crowdfunding?
Yes, and I’d definitely recommend SparkUp. I’m very pleased with what we’ve achieved together. SparkUp took a thorn out of my side and I often talk about them with the people around me, to help other companies who need financing.