Why did you decide to call on SparkUp to raise funds?
SparkUp appeared to me as THE solution. After having studied all the existing financing alternatives, I realized that only a few could be considered for my stage, including classical methods of financing through Business Angels, crowdfunding or SparkUp. With the business angels, the waiting time is too long with too many meetings to attend and too many feedbacks to wait for. It is a lot of time wasted to validate the project, given the whole thing lasts at least 6 months.
When it comes to crowdfunding, there was also the necessity to find investors to assess the project and give it credibility - this itself would have taken me one month. After that, there would have been a need for first angels to create a craze; and that would have cost us 3 more months.
We chose SparkUp when meeting with Marion and she undoubtedly took care of us. We really saved some precious time while following up. Next the network comes in: there is money available but usually people don’t like using it. SparkUp’s solution is fast and simple. We get in touch with our network rather quickly thanks to SparkUp. There is no minimum threshold to raise funds, while with other platforms there is usually a 300K of minimum amount involved.
SparkUp enables a company to anchor faster with small amounts and thereby helps in saving a lot of time compared to other platforms.
At which stage of your company did you decide to raise funds?
The situation was rather tricky as our startup functions seasonally. We had a proof of the concept and functionality from last winter and had to function until the next one. We needed a proof to show people that there is a real traction thanks to our new software. Everything had to be done very quickly given the market is quite reactive and always evolving.
How much did you raise? Under what terms?
We intended to raise €150K, and although we could have easily raised €300K, we preferred to close at €120K. We chose to go on with only one investor, the creator of Eurosportbet. We didn’t want more investors as it would have been mandatory to make different shareholders’ agreements - leading to various other complicated and time-consuming steps.
What made your campaign successful?
The success does not completely depend on us: the ski market itself is rather fantastic as it appeals to everyone. Those who already experienced skiing earlier or have taken lessons, be it individually or in a group, called upon instructors. The market already exists and people have realized how hard it could be to reach an instructor.
What were the invested amounts and how many investors took part?
120K were invested in total. If we had taken in all the investors, the average investment would have been about €10K each. Only with €3K investments we would have gotten more than a dozen of investors. Many former ski champions were interested in investing too. We, however, preferred sticking to only one investor.
Who did you contact?
We only contacted our networks and no one else. There were people from the ski sector, friends, family and other connections. It was primarily the network from LinkedIn.
Has this investor provided you more than capital?
Our investor is a real partner, he helps us with web marketing and other commercial aspects as well. He is really involved since he has taken stakes in the company.
Would you recommend SparkUp?
Yes without any hesitation. For several reasons:
First of all it pushes people to reach their contacts. This is a thing people do not usually like doing on their own, given the fear of being bothersome or disturbing and this is a shame. In addition to saving time, SparkUp not only gathers opportunities, but also creates them.
When one launches a startup, there is absolutely no time to waste. We do not have 6 months to look for investors, contact them, follow up with them, or even send reminders. It is quite difficult to manage all of this at once. Since, raising funds takes time that we don’t have - we need to make some time where we can. This is where SparkUp intervenes.
Yes, it is new, yes it seems frightening because it changes the habits but it is a real advantage for your startup.
There is a real follow-up, and they have a great market vision, which also enables them to give useful and efficient advice.