Shout Out to Local Startups Series – Tinted Week 3
For the past two weeks, a friend of the firm Tony Farnsworth has detailed the steps he followed to develop his startup, Tinted, into a viable business. This week, he is back for part three of our blog series with Zach, where he shared some valuable insight about preparing for the launch of Tinted’s first fundraising opportunity, a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo.
Preparing for Launch
Q: It’s a pleasure to have you back with us for the third week in a row Tony. This week, I want to focus on what it takes to launch a crowdfunding campaign. What initially led you to go in the crowdfunding direction rather than some other method of financing?
A: The initial thought behind crowdfunding is that it would be a great way to test out different types of marketing, generate interest and get our next set of early customers to help bring our product to the next level. The great thing about crowdfunding is that instead of pitching our business idea to several larger investors, we get to pitch the idea to thousands of members of the general public. This generated many more eyeballs on our service, which is important since our market is direct to the individual consumer.
Q: Why did you decide to use Indiegogo rather than one of the more recognizable names like Kickstarter or GoFundMe?
A: The great thing about Indiegogo is its flexibility. Even if we don’t meet our goal in terms of capital raised, we still are able to keep any funding we receive and deliver our product regardless of the volume that backs us. We thought this was incredibly important because another goal of the campaign is to get our product into the hands of more consumers and obtain more information from them. We have already built and tested a working prototype and have inventory of hundreds of orders. We are not tied to specific go, no-go funding goal.
In addition, we felt like the audience on Indiegogo was more in line with our target consumers – a better spread of female consumers and single men.
Q: Very interesting – I wouldn’t expect the audience on various crowdfunding platforms to vary significantly. Definitely, something for readers to keep in mind if they are ever considering utilize crowdfunding as a financing option. What was your plan for generating interest in the campaign?
A: Well, one of the main discoveries I made during my research process was that most people go into crowdfunding with the wrong expectations; they think between friends, family, and their social network, they will be able to reach their fundraising goals. In reality, going into a crowdfunding campaign without any significant marketing plan is a sure way to fall short of your fundraising goal.
I have a three-phase approach that I hope is the correct recipe for success. The three phases include pre-launch, immediately following launch, and during the launch. I believe the most important piece of a successful crowdfunding campaign is to have a large email list of people who want to be notified when the launch happens. We focused on developing this list through family, friends, personal networks, and trial runs of our product.
Q: What’s your game plan post-launch?
A: Within a few days, our goal is to reach 30% of our fundraising goal all through friends and family. These people make up the initial email list we were talking about. This 30% number is key because it inspires confidence in anybody else visiting our campaign page and greatly increases the likelihood of them contributing.
In addition, we plan to promote the campaign through a variety of means following the launch; digital marketing ads, SEO, press releases and reaching out to social media influencers. Our plan is to send our product out to 20-30 social media users with 5-10k followers who will post about our product during the first week of the campaign. Finally, we will send a press release to a wide variety of media outlets with the hopes that a couple picks up the story for additional exposure.
Q: Thanks again for taking the time to share your journey with us, Tony. We here at CTX wish you the best with the campaign.
That concludes part three of our series. Next week, we will have Tony back for one final interview to share the results of Tinted’s campaign and give us his biggest takeaways on Tinted’s first fundraising opportunity.
So far, Tinted has met about 35% of their fundraising goal. I urge anybody who has enjoyed Tony’s story to check out the Indiegogo campaign at the following link: