What made your campaign a success?
What made our campaign a success was first of all the fact that the company was already generating turnover and gaining traction, our project looked attractive.<br />Also, the trustworthy relationship we created with our network and the idea of offering an investment opportunity to our connections that already knew Stouring really helped. In itself, just contacting those people within our network was a key success factor.
What would you say to people about using SparkUp?
I’d say they have everything to gain and nothing to lose apart from a bit of their time. Who dares nothing, wins nothing.
Why did you decide to use crowdfunding and SparkUp?
I wanted to engage both my clients and contractors to raise funds. According to me, it was smart because those people already have an interest for Stouring: they know who we are, trust us and have an interest in giving us their support.<br />I had met Jeremy (co-founder of SparkUp) at the 2013 Entrepreneur Tradeshow. At this time, raising funds wasn’t in my mind at all. I knew it could be a possibility medium-term but that I had to develop my business beforehand. I was conscious that a company needs traction to generate interest from the investors. SparkUp kept in touch until we were finally ready to look for new investors. Thus, we launched the Stouring fundraising campaign in early 2016.
At which stage of development did you decide to raise funds for your business?
We decided to raise funds just after our concept was validated. The goal was to accelerate our sales growth by spreading our activity to several large cities in France. We wanted to provide ourselves with the means to match our ambitions.
How much did you manage to raise this way? Under what conditions?
We raised €51,000. The conditions were the ones we had defined beforehand. The people who didn’t accept our terms weren’t allowed to enter Stouring’s equity. That’s the good thing with having a lot of different discussions: it puts you in a strong position to select your potential investors. Furthermore, our financial need wasn’t a matter of life or death for Stouring, so we didn’t want to give ourselves away.
What were the per investor amounts and how many investors bought into the company?
There were 5 investors in total, with amounts ranging from 5000 € to 25 000€.
Who did you contact?
We contacted everyone: my network and my partner’s, importing them via our LinkedIn, our Email accounts and our CRM.
What were the challenges you faced along the way?
The amount of time one has to dedicate to processes such as fundraisings is very significant. The process requires a thorough and time-consuming management of the answers. From the beginning, I had made it clear that I wouldn’t be able to give much of my time to our fundraising as I was already using most of my energy towards operational matters. Therefore, the campaign was mostly managed by my partner.<br />You have to be ready to adapt your agenda in order to answer the amount of conversations the campaign generates.<br />At the end of the day, it is more of a dense process than it is a long one, with our campaign being relatively short and the persons involved quick to reply.
Would you recommend crowdfunding?
I would, as I think trust is a key factor when it comes to raising funds and social funding favours this type of relation between to team and the investors.