If you’ve run out of friends and family and there are no crowds beating a path to your company’s door, it may be time to explore other, less traditional fundraising options. Some of these lead to surprising levels of success. For example, one request on kickstarter.com asks for funding for a film, The End of Dates, described as “A man in love tries not to let the impending alien attack ruin his perfect date.” Surprise, he is 104% funded! (Please note that Kickstarter also has many projects in a more serious vein.)
Fundable.com, another great crowdfunding site which has recently launched, has a similar approach for startup entrepreneurs. An application process is required so that the site can ensure the legitimacy of the startup and evaluate the likelihood of success. Once Fundable’s team vets them, a photo & video along with a description provides insights to potential investors. Any amount is acceptable, and the dollars committed define the reward a company offers. This can range from a T-shirt to a spot on the board of directors. Like many crowdfunding sites, if the company doesn’t meet its goals, the money is returned to potential investors.
Companies that want to crowdsource funding need to have a plan or package that people will connect with and want to support. One example from Fundable is a training mask that mimics the effects of high altitude training. The short description mentions: “When elite athletes want to improve their performance they go to levels of high altitude to train. When they come back to sea level they perform much stronger, faster, and have increased their overall endurance..” And yes, this startup received the money needed to deliver its product. With 15 days left, they’re already 140% funded.
How gutsy are you? If you’ve got a business that needs funding with a good plan and an absolutely terrific pitch, think about swimming with the sharks. ABC’s reality series Shark Tank has sent out a casting call. These people can make your dreams come true in just a few minutes. On the other hand, they call them as they see them, and if your business doesn’t measure up to their standards and fit their interests, they don’t hesitate to say so – sometimes strongly.
If you haven’t seen the show, Google it, and you can watch clips or entire episodes online. If you’re ready, Casting Producer David Polanzak wants to hear from young entrepreneurs. In his words:
Whether you just have a fantastic idea, are a startup, or are already operating successfully and looking to expand, if you feel you have a lucrative business or product and could use financial backing, then Shark Tank is just the show for you. Casting is looking for entrepreneurs who can pitch their breakthrough business concepts, products, properties and services to moguls in hopes of landing investment funds. If selected, five self-made, brilliant but tough investors (the Sharks) could be willing to part with their own hard-earned cash to give you the funding you need to jumpstart your venture. But the Sharks aren’t just out to invest; they too have a goal – to own a piece.
Any interested parties should contact David Polanzak at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: name, age, contact information, recent photo and a brief description of your business or product.
Who knows, you may be the next entrepreneur to dive into the shark tank – a worthwhile leap if it gets you the funding you need!
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.