6. Berit New York
Money raised via the masses doesn’t always have to be ploughed into building a product or hiring staff.
Plenty of small businesses have used crowdfunding to open the door to other opportunities. US fashion and design start-up Berit New York was chosen to appear at the prestigious London Fashion Week, but the founder, Brit Frady-Williams, did not have the money for the designs and flight.
“I cried when I got the (London Fashion Week) confirmation,” she says. “The tears were both joy and sadness because I thought that I could not do this.”
Frady-Williams turned to Kickstarter to raise the $5,000 needed to create her collection and was soon jetting off to London.
7. Through the Looking Glass
Your funding plans don’t have to be grand. Through the Looking Glass is a humble independent tea shop that wanted $5,000 in order to expand.
Founder Regan Wann was savvy in procuring donations – she extensively used social media and provided gifts such as free tea samples and the honour of being named after one of the tearooms in return for pledges.
Perhaps just as importantly, Wann managed to get a major PR boost when her story was carried by the Wall Street Journal.
8. Bubble & Balm
UK-based bodycare business Bubble & Balm was a victim of its own success. Demand for its products was so strong from major retailers that it desperately needed cash to expand.
The business turned to Crowdcube, a crowdfunding platform, in search of £75,000, offering up to 15% equity in the business in return.
A total of 82 investors pitched between $10 and $7,500 each, allowing Bubble & Balm to grow to become one of the UK’s leading independent bodycare brands.
Founder Sue Acton says: “Some of our new shareholders have already offered their skills as well as their cash to support our growth, and this is another huge benefit of crowdfunding – not only do we now have the investment we need to deliver against our plans, we also have a diverse team of supporters too.”
9. The Glif
The Glif is a fairly simple piece of rubberised plastic that allows users to put their iPhone4s on tripods or place them at different angles.
Confronted by the high cost of manufacturing the device, creators Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost turned to Kickstarter, looking for $10,000 in help.
The project, incredibly, attracted more than $130,000 in funding, allowing the Glif to fly off the production line.
After spending five years working on a Bluetooth speaker that raised and lowered volumes simply by pulling or pushing the device, John Van Den Nieuwenhuizen and Vitor Santa Maria went down the crowdfunding route.
With an initial goal of getting $125,000, HiddenRadio got perilously close to the $1 million mark. The product is due to go to market soon, priced at $175 a pop.