Many times, there are grants available to support inventive endeavors of small business. We list hundreds of grants on MWBEzone.com and encourage you to research opportunities in funding within our grant listings. What happens if you have a million dollar idea, something groundbreaking that you're certain would be embraced and simply haven't yet found a qualifying grant to support the endeavor? Crowdfunding.
The highest income producing business crowdfunding campaigns have been in tech, travel, and entertainment industries. Can you guess what those were and why? Use these crowdfunding lessons below to make to make your business campaign a success. Be sure to follow our Uhelpfund crowdfunding campaigns on Twitter.
Tech Industry: The Smart Watch
In first place is obviously the Pebble Smartwatch, crowdfunding $10,266,845, which pre-ordered more than a quarter million watches and now graces the shelves of Best Buy and other retailers. –Crowdfund Insider
The Smart Watch, originally called the Pebble, was introduced as a crowdfunding campaign and operated on one of the most universal measurements of life itself, time. Not only did it measure time, it unified time, your phone, and your email in one place that the eye is automatically drawn. The invention has certainly taken off, but not in the way that many investors thought that it might – simply because, we are not all watch people. However, a large percentage of individuals cannot live without their watches. Similarly, large populations cannot live without access to their phones. Combine those two technologies and there is a high percentage that you will find investors for your fund.
Lesson 1: Your crowdfunding idea, if it is an invention, must be both natural to human behaviors and innovative, combining technologies that are not completely foreign.
Travel Industry: FaceCradle Neck Pillow
FaceCradle is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneurs David Scrimshaw and Roz Ruwhiu, who have both experienced first hand the difficulty of sleeping on an airplane. With the FaceCradle, the user has five different options for positioning his or her head. This gives the FaceCradle versatility that doesn’t exist with any other travel pillow on the market.
19,611 backers pledged AU $1,479,231 to help bring this project to life.-Huffington Post
Many generations find the neck pillow to be, quite frankly, a bizarre accessory to the millennial traveler. However, it has made the perils of coach class travel much less taxing. This pillow allows the head to rest on either side of the pillow, alleviating neck strain that results from prolonged stretching on one side or the other. Many could not think of traveling without it. The FaceCradle is a new development in the world of neck pillows, bringing "smart" technology and versatility that doesn’t exist with any other travel pillow on the market. With the FaceCradle, the user has five different options for positioning his or her head: dozing, snoozing, table nap, deep sleep side and deep sleep side.
Lesson 2: Innovative comfort will inevitably succeed. Adding smart technology to a revolutionary design is a winning combination.
Entertainment Industry: Mystery Science Theater 3000
The original $2 million campaign goal would fund three full-length episodes, and $5.5 million would fund a season of 12 episodes. By the end of the funding round, the project secured $5,764,229 from 48,270 backers. –Crowdfund Insider
Mystery Science Theater 3000, otherwise known as MST3K, premiered on local TV in Minneapolis in 1988. Created by writer and comedian Joel Hodgson, the beloved Emmy-nominated cult series starred Hodgson as a janitor that was trapped on the Satellite of Love by mad scientists who spends his time making fun of terrible movies with a bunch of wisecracking robots. The rebooted series will be comprised of 14 new episodes including a holiday special and will star comedian and Nerdist Podcast co-host Jonah Ray, genre favorite Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural) and comedian Patton Oswalt. Some perks for campaign donors included personalized voicemail greetings from favorite characters, invitations to the premieres in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, dinner with the cast and a chance to appear in an episode.
Lesson 3: Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. A fresh spin on a retired classic can yield incredible results.
Have you designed a convenient, yet innovative invention?
Do you have a great idea for a compact size travel companion or a fun twist on traditional entertainment?
Have you successfully used a crowdfunding campaign to bring your invention to life?
Has crowdfunding empowered you to support the launch of a small business?
Share your story with us, comment below!
About the Author: Martha Greenlee is a crowdfunding mentor at Uhelpfund.com with a degree in cultural anthropology.