And here we are…a little more than 1 year ago, we were launching Crowdfooding in London, time is flying !
Back then, our goal was to help food entrepreneurs raising capital through crowdfunding. Is it still the case ? Well, yes, but our ultimate mission evolved over time as we want to bring together food entrepreneurs, passionate foodies and established food organizations to create meaningful relationships and foster food innovation.
There have been many learnings, encounters, & events that have helped us to realise that we can stretch beyond this.
We started the platform with the idea that raising capital was the biggest struggle for food startups, and that connecting them with the relevant investors through equity crowdfunding was the best approach.
We quickly learned that most entrepreneurs who have approached us were simply not ready for equity crowdfunding. Either they were struggling getting their first sales in, were often tied to one distributor without any perspective to scale, had very little following and engagement on social media, or just didn’t know how to handle their marketing. In other words, we realised a good chunk of them were not investment ready.
That’s why we decided to also introduce reward crowdfunding as a way for startups to validate the market, build a community of early adopters and wrap their head around their marketing strategy and messaging. We certainly acknowledge that crowdfunding isn’t just a way to raise funds, it’s a real marketing exercise that requires strategic thinking, creativity, time and full dedication. Startups running a successful reward crowdfunding campaign are not only creating a much more engaging relationship with new customers and building up their brand identity but most and foremost, gaining more credibility towards future potential investors.
To this end, since February, we also have been allowing startups to simply sell products on our platform, through what we call the ‘sales booster’. The idea behind it is to help very early stage companies who may not even have an e-commerce website, to drive their first sales, or to provide an extra sales channel to the more established startups, where they can have the flexibility to test and validate new products with our community of foodies.
Another discovery we made is that the London startup scene is geographically very fragmented. There is no space identified as the place to be for food entrepreneurs, food corporations and other food organisations to meet & interact through events, collaborate, or even create together. This led us to realise there was a need for a Food Innovation Hub. Back in November, we started pitching the idea to food corporations from our network. Not only the idea was well received, but it validated the point that not only startups need corporates to scale up, but food corporates have a real need for startup collaboration in order to innovate. Read article.
Having a physical space would be an excellent way to facilitate these interactions, and we are now in the process of securing a venue in central London, to open during the Summer. Stay tuned !
As a matter of fact, our first ‘success story’, the Chocothon campaign, was all about collaboration. It created a collaboratory that was able to bring together smaller producers like Tony’s Chocolonely and Dark Sugars, consumers, and chocolate industrials like Barry callebaut and Nestle to hack for the future of chocolate! We used our crowdfunding platform to finance this open innovation project, therefore reinforcing the collaborative aspect of it.
There are several other ways for which corporates could leverage crowdfunding; whether for market validation or consumer engagement, as well as a way to identify acquisition opportunities, or running call for ideas. We are currently working with some of our corporate partners on crowdfunding and startup scouting activities.
So what’s next ? Our permanent team has now grown to 6 people, and with a few new crowdfunding campaigns in the pipeline, new startups joining our sales booster every week, and the Food Innovation Hub to open this Summer, we are quite confident that you will hear a lot more about us in the next few months 😉
Stay in touch !
The Crowdfooding Team.
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