“Crowdfunding proved a brilliant way to market test a new product and boost sales” says Kellie Forbes Co-Founder of YUU World

Kellie Forbes and Gill Hayward, Co-Founders of YUU World, know what it takes to raise investment. They survived “Dragon’s Den” (TV programme) receiving offers from all five dragons and going on to raise investment from Peter Jones and Deborah Meadon. Then, in 2016, they raised £210,000 from a number of business angels. In 2017, with the business doing well and a new product to launch, Kellie and Gill turned to crowdfunding to raise investment to launch the new product but, more importantly, to test demand for their latest creation, YUUGo a GPS tracker backpack which provides parents with everything they need to keep their kids both entertained & safe on-the-go.

Their crowdfunding campaign didn’t raise what they hoped but they still feel the campaign was a success and that crowdfunding was very worthwhile. Hatty Fawcett  of Crowdfunding Accelerator caught up with Kellie to find out why and to discover what they’d learnt in the process.


Hatty: What attracted you to crowdfunding for this investment raise?

Kellie: We were attracted to crowdfunding to launch our new product not just because of the financial support, but because we thought it would be a great way to test the desirability of our newest product. We also wanted to gain some valuable insight on how to improve our product along the way.

Hatty: What influenced your decision to do reward-based crowdfunding (rather than equity)?

Kellie: YUUGo is a tech product (it uses GPS/Wi-fi tracker to allow children to track their journeys whilst giving parents the ability to see where their kids are). We noticed that “wearable tech” performs particular well on reward-based crowdfunding platforms. It seemed a good way to reach out to new customers beyond those who already love our core product. Nothing is certain in crowdfunding – and we had some concerns – but we wanted to give it a try.

Hatty: How did you decide at what level to set your crowdfunding target?

“I would urge anyone considering crowdfunding to think very carefully about their crowdfunding target…setting this at the right level is more complex than you might think.”

Kellie: I would urge anyone considering crowdfunding to think very carefully about their crowdfunding target (the amount of money you want to raise).

We reviewed a lot of crowdfunding projects before launching our own and, in many cases we saw the percentage reached outshining the actual target. When this happens “the crowd” tends to be encouraged by the initial response and join in backing the project causing an over-funding situation. This is very exciting when it happens but it can also be misleading. You have to deliver your promised rewards the minute you hit your (minimum) target, even if you are planning to go on and over fund. We considered setting a lower target (so that we were seen to achieve our target quickly) but we were concerned that if we set our minimum target too low we would not raise sufficient funds to meet our minimum order quantity with our factory, leaving us needing to deliver rewards without the minimum order quantity economies of scale. That would have cost us money!

I guess what I’m saying is that setting your crowdfunding target is more complex than you might think. You’ve got to think about what you need, the costs of delivering your promised rewards and recognise that there is human psychology at play too.

“It is dependent on you to get the first 40-50% (of your target) pledges in – and you need these pledged in the first few days of your campaign. I cannot stress this enough”

Hatty: Had you lined up some initial investors to support your crowdfunding pitch when it went live?

Kellie: I cannot stress enough how important it is to do some in-depth prep and ground work on lining up initial investor pledges. I’d recommend lining up initial pledges that account for 40%-50% of your target – and you need these pledged in the first few days of your campaign to get the traction your campaign will need to reach “the crowd” (people you don’t know).

We’ve found there is a difference between American and UK consumer behaviour on crowdfunding sites. We found that our campaign received good numbers of visitors but the conversion from our Facebook advertising and our database was not what we had anticipated. People can be scared off, or simply be confused about what they are there for, if they have not made a crowdfunding pledge before. I’d recommend providing a clear, short explanation on your pitch page explaining how crowdfunding works. UK consumers, in particular, seem less familiar with crowdfunding compared to, say, the USA.

“I wish we had worked with somebody independent to our campaign and company so that we had another perspective and view.”

Lastly, and I feel this sincerely, I wish we had worked with somebody independent to our campaign and company so that we had another perspective and view on how to approach our campaign. In my experience, you cannot cover enough angles when preparing for your campaign!

Hatty: Have there been any surprising outcomes from your crowdfunding campaign?

Kellie: Yes! it was disappointing that we didn’t hit our target but we have learnt so much and had such useful feedback we feel the campaign has delivered – just not in the way we expected.

We now know that we were not focused enough on finding that first 30% (of our target). It was dependent on us to get those pledges in and, whilst we believed we had these teed up, it took more than we anticipated to bring them home. The first two days of the campaign were exhausting, asking friends and family to pledge. If we had understood the importance of this better, we’d have prepared more pledges before going live.

That said, we’ve had amazing feedback regarding the new product. That’s been insightful. We know we have a desired product, but we now realise there is another way to deliver this – as an add-on option rather than a bespoke product. We had considered this before but had opted to make a stand alone product. It was feedback by via the crowdfunding campaign that has caused us to re-think this decision. We have a better product as a result.

Another unexpected outcome has been the amount of exposure our business has received and the impact this has on sales. We’ve had some lovely PR which has been brilliant (including a spot on BBC Business Breakfast). Better still, we’ve seen this exposure directly impact on sales. Our sales are up almost 20% which is thanks to the crowdfunding campaign exposure. Experience tells us that this will also bode well for the all-important Christmas sales period too.

“All in all, crowdfunding been a win win situation for us.  We have collected so many assets from the experience. It was never our intention to use the campaign as a market research or selling exercise but that has been the unexpected result. If you look at the pound for pound result – it’s been great value.”

 

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Crowdfunding Accelerator is an eight week online programme that makes it quicker and easier to be successful at crowdfunding. Find out more

Why crowdfunding is like running a marathon…and how you can make it quicker and easier

The power of crowdfunding is undeniable. The media is full of stories of companies raising large amounts of money in just a few days, hours or even seconds!

Brew Dog raised more than £7 million from three crowdfunding exercises

Just Park raised £3.57 million in 34 days

Mondo bank raised £1 million in just 96 seconds

Looking at these examples you might be forgiven for thinking that crowdfunding is easy.

Let me tell you, it’s not!

Crowdfunding is like running a marathon. It takes months of preparation, a good dose of persistence and a degree of stubbornness that stops you giving up even when the going gets tough.

Most of the hard work for a successful crowdfunding campaign is done before you put your campaign live. As with marathon running, the amount of preparation you do is directly correlated to the result you achieve. There’s a lot to do: From preparing written copy and a video pitch to developing a motivating suite of rewards or business valuation. You’ll need to hone your business or project plan in order that it conveys the essential information investors look for, and you’ll need to tee up potential investors so that the money starts to pour in when your crowdfunding pitch goes live.

In fact, crowdfunding is a full-time job – one that’s usually done alongside your other full-time job – that of running your business or project.

Crowdfunding is not an exact science either. Are you certain the crowdfunding platform you have selected will help you attract the right type of investors? Have you pitched your rewards package at the right level to motivate investors? Would it be better to set a lower crowdfunding target and overfund, or should you aim high from the start?

For many, crowdfunding seems appealing but when you look into the detail of what is needed, crowdfunding moves to the “too hard” pile and the campaign never gets off the ground.

For those that do try, there are many pitfalls and difficulties along the way.

The bad news is that over 50% of crowdfunding campaigns that launch fail to achieve their target.

For this reason, it pays to get professional help. After all, if you do run a marathon chances are you will take on a personal trainer or, at very least, research and adopt a training programme.

Crowdfunding Accelerator, an online programme of workshops and mentoring, is designed to make it quicker and easier to run a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Over 8 weeks, in 90 minute (online) weekly meetings you are guided, step-by-step, through the elements of a successful crowdfunding pitch.  There is specially created content which focuses your effort on the things that really matter, workbooks, easy-to-use templates, helpful tips and motivational advice. It’s like having a personal trainer at your side.

There is no doubt that, if you prepare properly, crowdfunding is a good source of finance. In fact, just as a marathon runner can pretty much tell you the time they will run on race day, so it is with crowdfunding. If you prepare properly you’ll know just how quickly you’ll achieve your crowdfunding target , perhaps down to the last second!

A good way to find out more about Crowdfunding Accelerator is to join a free online, interactive seminar: How to succeed at crowdfunding Book your free place below or find out more here

book onto a free online taster session. Sign-up here to receive details of the next taster session.

Crowdfunding Accelerator: Making successful crowdfunding quicker and easier

Crowdfunding Accelerator: An online programme of workshops and mentoring



The harsh truth is that 50% of crowdfunding pitches fail to reach their funding target. Crowdfunding Accelerator is an eight week ONLINE programme designed to make it quicker and easier for you to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. The programme:

  • takes a step-by-step approach, focusing your effort on the things that really matter
  • provides specifically prepared content focused on each aspect of your crowdfunding campaign
  • supports you with programme workbooks, handy-to-use templates, additional resources and proven tips
  • encourages peer learning, support and motivation through a closed Facebook Group
  • facilitates the actions needed to prepare your campaign through weekly “homework”
  • culminates with “Pitch School” where each participant pitches their campaign and receives tailored feedback
  • significantly improves your chances of crowdfunding success

What participants say about Crowdfunding Accelerator

“Hatty is a great teacher! The rich content of the course kept me interested and helped me understand how crowdfunding fits into various financial offerings. This course has given me confidence on how and when to organise a campaign.” Sue Frost, Co-founder Curamicus

“The webinars from Hatty are great but the best bit is the interaction with the other participants and hearing how they are approaching their journey to investment.” David Toscano, Cin Cin Italian Canteen

“The motivation I felt during my time on Hatty’s Crowdfunding accelerator was powerful. Hatty kept me accountable for progressing my work towards my crowdfunding campaign and gave invaluable feedback every week. Her content was excellent and I learnt far more than I had imagined. We had a good laugh whilst getting some serious work done.” Sharon Maddy-Patel, Maddy Lou Shoes

“Hatty made the daunting process of accelerating my business a simple, outlined and structured process. As a company we have gained direction, professionalism and valuable information through her insights”. Arun Thangavel, Co-Founder, Hollabox

“The Crowdfunding Accelerator was an excellent way to explore the concept of crowdfunding in a real hands-on and practical way which resulted in having everything I needed to proceed.” Claire Timbrell, Co-founder The MacGuffin Project

“You have really helped me address my ideas and improve my plans. The support has met my expectations which were high”. Adalberto Battaglia, Founder Quinto Quatro

“I’ve found your feedback on the homework assignments most helpful. It feels like personal tuition.” Sue Frost, Co-founder Curamicus

“The homework is by far the best bit! It’s what made this so much more practical than just researching crowdfunding on your own, because you end up with everything you need to proceed. Even if you don’t proceed, the homework definitely focuses you on what is important for your business.” Claire Timbrell, Co-founder The MacGuffin Project

“Hatty was a fantastic coach helping us create a short pitch, ensuring the delivery of key investor information in a simple but effective way” Gill Hayward, Co-Founder, YUU World

“Hatty was a delight to work with and her style was friendly yet challenging, she pushed me further and allowed my to try out new thoughts in a safe space. Her experience in crowdfunding gives Hatty credibility and she certainly knows her stuff! Despite being aimed at crowdfunding, I got so much more out of her course with regards to general marketing and sales.” Sharon Maddy-Patel, Maddy Lou Shoes

Dates for the next programme

The next Crowdfunding Accelerator runs on Monday evenings from 19.00-20.30 BST on the following dates:
September – 11th, 18th, 25th
October – 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th

Location
This is an online programme delivered weekly in 90 minute interactive video call meetings. There is no need to travel. Simply log in from your computer (with internet access) wherever you are.

What next?

Got questions about the programme? EMAIL HATTY

Want to join the next cohort of Crowdfunding Accelerator: SIGN UP NOW

 

About Hatty
Crowdfunding Accelerator is run by experienced crowdfunder Hatty Fawcett. Hatty raised £250,000 through crowdfunding and angel investment for her own business venture and for the past 5 years she has helped business owners prepare for and raise investment. She learnt the hard way what it takes to raise investment and is on a mission to make it quicker and easier for other businesses to access finance.

Hatty regularly speaks on crowdfunding and is an active blogger on the subject of raising investment.

Hatty is also a Regional Manager for Angels Den, the Business Angel Network and crowdfunding platform, is a Talent Spotter for The Start-up Funding Club and an Ambassador for Phundee. She runs free, monthly Funding Clinics giving businesses the opportunity to discuss their funding requirements in an informal clinic and to receive tailored advice.