Venture for America Fellows Crowdfund Awesome Ventures

Venture for America empowers talented graduates to spend two years within exciting entrepreneurial organizations across the United States. VFA has taken this mission even further through its crowdfunding partnership with RocketHub - helping fellows raise funds for their own ventures. The second wave of VFA crowdfunding projects on RocketHub show an incredible level of imagination and passion. From beautiful and modern furniture to a new and healthy pasta to a music-creation startup to much more - the VFA fellows present a diverse set of ideas. In addition to total funds collected via crowdfunding, Venture for America will provide financial support to selected projects. The funding phase of the VFA on RocketHub Crowdfunding Round 2 ends on January 20th, and nearly $20,000 has already been fundraised! - The RocketHub Team

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  • January 16, 2014

Good Karma Sails to Crowdfunding Success

Good Karma Racing is a Paralympic class sailing team - skipper Sarah Everhart Skeels and crewman Gerry Tiernan - that promotes independence and human potential through competitive sport. We strive for excellence in the highly competitive arena of international disabled sailing. We are heading to the ISAF Sailing World Cup - Miami regatta January 25th - February 1st to try to qualify for the 2014 US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider, and need your help! Accommodations, travel, new seats and boat maintenance will cost $12,000, and we can’t get there without YOU on our support team. Our experience has been extremely positive. We are receiving strong support from our expected base and are surprised by the interest and financial backing of people we did not consider as funders for our project. To achieve success: go for it! In researching crowdfunding we found that RocketHub was the best fit for our funding project. They provided great support and an organized format to reach our supporters in the most concise format. What we have been the most energized by is the concrete feeling of support for our cause. Not only by the people we expected to support us, but as exciting the people we did not. - Good Karma Racing, skipper Sarah Everhart Skeels and crewman Gerry Tiernan

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  • January 8, 2014

Toilets4Lima - Crowdfunding Innovative Sanitation Solutions

The main inspiration to tackle the sanitation issue has always come from numbers: There are 2.5 billion people worldwide who do not have access to improved sanitation. Around 1 billion people today live in urban slums and the majority cannot have safe sanitation. Lack of sanitation has many severe consequences whereby the contracting and spreading of diseases such as diarrhea and cholera are clearly the deadliest. Slums pose us very particular challenges when it comes to sanitation because they usually are very densely populated, there is little money and mostly there is no clean water or no water at all. At x-runner we wanted to take these challenges and turn them into opportunities. So we created a system that covers all three stages of a sanitation system: the toilet, the treatment and the transport to the treatment plant. All those stages should work without using water and cost as little as possible: Our toilet separates urine and feces and by this, minimizes bad odors and gases. The urine is either drained into the ground or collected in a jar – the solids are stored in a container below the toilet seat. Once a week our poop-pick-up service goes by our customers’ homes and removes the feces container. Our service truck then transports the container to our facility hub where we treat the feces and turn it into compost. We operate in Lima, Peru – the second driest capital in the world and the third most affected city by climate change in the future. Right now there are at least 3 million people in Lima living in slums and who cannot have a regular toilets. So another important source of inspirations is for the team and me the families we serve. They are incredible catalysts for new ideas and for improvements in our system. They are our motivators and our judges. That’s why they are the center of our attention. We work very hard in delivering them the most high quality and professional sanitation service possible. We see our crowdfunding campaign not only as an opportunity to raise funds, but also to really engage individuals in our project and in the cause. The reaction is very positive and we receive many personal e-mails from people that just learned about the issue through us. Our bestseller reward is to have a toilet in Lima named after the funder. We even offer now a Christmas special where you can fund a toilet and name it after a person of your choice. This has been a great hit and we had several supporters having up to 4 toilets named after family members! In our crowdfunding approach, we had the experience that people on Facebook and Twitter did not engage in the funding – pressing the Like button seemed always enough to support our cause for Social media users. We could see more results through sending e-mails and asking friends to forward the message for us! We also did a lot of offline engagement – we hosted events in Lima and in Vienna where we presented our project and the campaign. We handed out flyers and brochures on world toilet day and had very positive reactions! - Jessica Altenburger, Founder and Head of Research and Development, X-Runner

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  • January 3, 2014

The High School Truth - Crowdfunding the Modern Guidebook

As we entered the first semester of our junior year at The School For Ethics and Global Leadership, we were thinking back to the advice we received when we began our freshmen year of high school and what we wish we knew back then. We realized that almost all high school guidebooks were written by those who attended high school more then thirty years ago. So, we saw the opportunity to fill that gap and we began to work immediately. Just over the course of two months, our project gained incredible momentum and we realized that we could unite a group of students who represent the diversity of the United States. We gathered thirty students to help write the book—known as our collaborators— each of whom brings a unique perspective. These students are our inspiration. Because we knew our RocketHub campaign would be the first of its kind, we had to shape our page in a way that would legitimize our project. We are only sixteen years old, but that didn’t stop us from setting our goals high. We spoke with many people before posting our project and gained a lots of feedback regarding our funding goal and rewards. Our graphics and video were very important to us mainly because our target audience was much younger than most RocketHub crowds. We wanted our page to reflect our age but simultaneously be professional, so we had to find the balance between attracting younger and older supporters. Our funders have truly been awesome. So many of our collaborators have shared the RocketHub link with their families and friends and we have received wonderful feedback regarding the uniqueness of our project. Our most popular reward has been the opportunity to offer us advice and critiques on the book. We soon discovered that our funders wanted the chance to have a larger part in the project, so we made it our priority to offer that opportunity to as many people as possible. While we now have a captivated audience for The High School Truth, our project is not yet fully funded. There is always more work to do. The most important thing is to be appreciative of your backers. We send out a thank you email as soon as we see a pledge come in. And we have definitely learned from our mistakes as well. Don’t exhaust your networks within the first few days of the campaign. Send out a few emails everyday to encourage different audiences to visit your site. Make sure you fully understand how a crowd sourced funding campaign works and how to incentivize your audience to fund your campaign and not the next project. The RocketHub FAQ has been incredibly helpful to us during this process. Other then that, your funders will only be excited about the project if you are 10 times more excited, so don’t be afraid to feel overly enthusiastic. Share your RocketHub link as many times as you can and reach out to those you would least expect to help spread the word (our grandmothers have printed out copies and shared them with their friends). Have someone to share your victories and losses with—it makes the entire process so much more enjoyable. - Lila Rimalovski, Martin Rather, and The High School Truth Team

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  • December 23, 2013

FreshDirect Food Projects Raise Over $30,000 on RocketHub

Awesome brands are embracing crowdfunding on RocketHub. FreshDirect, an innovative grocery delivery company, partnered with RocketHub to launch The Next Big Food Thing. The initiative asked entrepreneurs to submit projects that improve food and farming. The projects that launched via the partnership come from a number of categories, including: food preparation accessories, new food products, innovative beverages, farming developments, and much more. In addition to total funds collected via crowdfunding, FreshDirect will provide additional support to selected projects. The grand prize winner will receive $10,000, as well as a chance to partner with FreshDirect; two runners-up will get $2,500. The funding phase of The Next Big Food Thing ends tomorrow, and over $30,000 has already been fundraised! The winners will be announced in early 2014. - The RocketHub Team

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  • December 16, 2013

Death Metal Angola: Crowdfunding the Resilience Tour

Death Metal Angola is a feature documentary which premiered at the beginning of the year at the prestigious Rotterdam International Film Festival and has since screened in nearly 40 top festivals world-wide, winning awards and getting great press. It tells the story of Sonia Ferreira - a war survivor, lover of rock music, and mother to 55 orphans - as she and her partner, the Death Metal musician Wilker Flores, launch Angola’s first-ever national rock concert. Their dream is to help their country recover from decades of war, through the power of music and their love for one another. When I was in Angola working on the film, I was struck by how much both Angola and the people in the film reminded me of the city where I grew up - Detroit, and the people I grew up with. The tenacity, resilience, humor and heart were the same. A couple of months ago Death Metal Angola teamed up with the Fulbright Association to see if we could leverage the international success of the film to get it out to a broad audience in the States. The first question Fulbright asked me is why I wanted to do this, and without hesitation I told them I wanted to bring this story home to my friends and family and neighbors in Detroit. The folks in Angola had something to teach us. If they could overcome the tremendous adversity and hardships they have faced and bounce back from the brink, then so can we. I believe that their story will ignite the same drive and life-force in the powerful and resilient people I grew up with. Based on this conversation we came up with the DMA RESILIENCE TOUR - a series of screenings, town hall discussions and concerts in towns across the country that have been hit hard by economic and natural disaster. We will use the inspiring story at the heart of Death Metal Angola to trigger conversations about resilience here at home. All it takes for a big change to happen are a few true believers … and the resilience and grit we already have. While running the RocketHub campaign DEATH METAL ANGOLA had its DOC NYC premiere and what followed from that was some incredible press coverage. The film has been dubbed “raucously crowd pleasing” by the Hollywood Reporter, a “cult classic in the making” by the Huffington Post, featured in the Daily Beast and dozens of other publications around the world. The film was shortlisted as “one of the top ten to look out for in 2014” by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and TIME magazine. To amplify this great press coverage, we have been tapping into networks that have been supporting the film from the beginning. These alliances have been key - with Loudwire, The Black Rock Coalition and the Fulbright Association. What has been important for us has been constantly creating new materials, videos, photos, and events that our partners have been able to use and take part in - for example, the vimeo channel we created and the fundraising screenings we are doing this week in various cities around the US. We have been constantly looking to expand our network and alliances. Like with you! We’ve got a week left and count on you! With your support, we can share stories of resilience and inspire communities across the US! Crowdfunding is time-consuming and tough. Before launching your campaign make sure you have a big social network in place or partners who have access to such networks. Don’t stop spreading the word and trying to expand your partners. Be creative and adapt to how the campaign develops. Be bold and sassy. - Jeremy Xido, Josephine Dorado, Maria Stanisheva, and DMA Team

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  • December 11, 2013

Flagship Romance Crowdfunds Path to Sustainability

The main inspiration for us is the desire to become a self-sustainable music duo, making music for people who appreciate the art of it, and being able to make a living doing so in this confusing time for the music industry. We’ve both been signed to record labels, and know what NOT to do. The question we had to answer for ourselves was, “How can we approach this completely differently, and still have our integrity?” The two of us have been asked to be on shows like The Voice, and don’t want to compromise by going that route. We want to make the music that we love – the music that our fans love – and be able to use our musical platform to better the world. By having the opportunity to create a campaign on RocketHub, we feel that we really have the chance to be able to fulfill this desire. Our experience has been quite a roller-coaster ride, so far! The day we launched our campaign, we had an influx of our supporters posting on Facebook, tweeting, texting us in excitement, and more! At the same time, we discovered that a group of musicians from our hometown were outraged about the fact that we’re not only asking to raise enough money to fund the recording of our album. The fact that we want to actually DO something with this new endeavor was incomprehensible to some. This is the way we look at it… Record labels no longer develop artists, or put faith in them. Who has faith in us? Our fans, friends, and families. Why not allow them to help fund our career (which makes them happily engaged and active participants), and in return, they receive our album, and other perks we offer? We’re thankful that our supporters feel the same way we do, and have contributed nearly 50% of our goal while we still have over two weeks left on our campaign! Definitely absorb all of the info in RocketHub’s Crowdfunding School. What won us over to RocketHub, vs. other crowdfunding sites, was their attitude on how to succeed. Before reading this info we thought we were prepared, but realized that there was a lot of work to do, and a lot of emotional preparation to take (i.e. the lulls are normal!). You will get back what you put into it, so be ready to devote tons of time and energy to your project’s campaign. Look at it like it’s your second job. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and know that if you’re confident in your project, others will be, too! This blog post is an incredible tool for learning how to ask for what you want. - Flagship Romance

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  • December 5, 2013

The 5 Best Crowdfunding Prezis

Prezi has partnered with RocketHub to bring zooming presentations to the crowdfunding world, and we launched the Fuel for Ideas Challenge to provide entrepreneurs with the tools they need to get crowdfunding for their ideas. To enter the Challenge, project leaders had to create a prezi explaining their RocketHub projects. We have selected the five most promising projects, which range from smartphone-powered water purifiers to hands-free shoes designed to make life easier for disabled children, to become Fuel for Ideas Finalists. Take a look at the best crowdfunding projects that are using Prezi to share their ideas and change the world. Purifyy—Safer Water Anywhere More people in the world today have mobile phones than have access to safe drinking water. Purifyy, a water purification device powered by a smartphone, is designed to change this fact. The compact, UV light can kill up to 99.99% of the harmful microorganisms found in unsanitary water. The Purifyy team is determined to make their technology cost-effective for people in need—and their crowdfunding campaign is the first step towards this goal. StepinGo Shoes When his son couldn’t bend over to tie his own shoes on account of a back brace, Steve Kaufman was determined to find a solution. After countless prototypes and over five years of refinement, the StepinGo shoe was born. These hands-free shoes provide independence for individuals who may have had to rely on a caregiver for assistance in the past. The StepinGo team hopes to open a shoe factory in New York City to manufacture their product and provide employment for people with disabilities, and supporting their project will help them bring this idea to life. Cozzee: Coffee and a Cause Cozzee is a coffee company dedicated to solving some of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. The company helps its customers have a positive impact by donating all of the profits it makes selling premium coffee to causes of their choosing. From Food & Farming to Shelter & Stability, Cozzee customers can support a variety of causes with their caffeine habits. Support their project to receive some amazing rewards and the fuzzy feeling that comes along with giving money to a worthy cause. PAL: Portable Academic Lapdesks for Rural Schools The Portable Academic Lapdesk, or PAL, is a simple solution to an enormous problem—it’s a single piece of plastic that has been adorned with illustrations of the solar system and the basic Roman alphabet and that can be used in schools that don’t have the resources to provide their students with desks. To students whose classrooms consist of nothing more than a dirt floor the PAL is a valuable, multipurpose work surface and visual textbook. The PAL project hopes to manufacture lapdesks and donate them to communities in need; supporting this project will facilitate that goal. Massive Open Online Courses for Russian Students Increasing availability of online educational resources has begun to transform education across the world, but many students are still unaware of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) that are available to them. World Wide Student, a group of Russian Fulbright Alumni, seeks to raise awareness of MOOC resources amongst Russian students. World Wide Student also hopes to translate many of the top English-language MOOC materials into Russian and provide a support network for self-educating students in Russia—supporting World Wide Student will facilitate the growth of a forward-thinking self-education system in Russia. You can find all of these projects on the Fuel for Ideas Challenge page on RocketHub—they will be running through December 15. At the end of their funding period, we will be selecting one Finalist to receive $1000 towards his or her project goal and a one-on-one consultation with our CEO, Peter Arvai, who knows a thing or two about bringing ideas to life. Guest Post by Prezi, with Permission from Prezi

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  • December 3, 2013

Telling Her Story, Skating to Success

Raised in Saratoga Springs, New York, Farrell began speedskating when she was 6. “I’ve always loved going fast,” she says. As she got older, her commitment to the sport intensified. Her little sister, Colleen, remembers Farrell getting up at 5 a.m. to train. While Colleen watched TV after school, Farrell would keep her company while furiously pedaling on an exercise bike. At age 12, Farrell was the third-fastest short-track speedskater in the country for her age. By 15, she had real prospects for one day making the national team. - Marie Claire Magazine I returned to Speedskating because I truly love skating. I knew money would be an obstacle, but I didn’t let it squash my dreams. RocketHub is allowing me to train for my goals, while raising the funds to do so! My supporters love the RocketHub site. I’ve gotten positive feedback on having pictures and a video. The ease to navigate, share, and fund on the site have helped to make my campaign a growing success! For success, follow the tutorial provided by RocketHub. Make realistic goals and maintain daily site activity. - Bridie Farrell, Speed Skater, Crowdfunder, Advocate

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  • November 27, 2013

One Rivet - A Blue Angel Rises in Miami

I wanted to create a monument for all those a part of 9/11. I feel that it changed the lives of so many people, myself included. It was a humbling moment. That experience of awe and helplessness that I witnessed in New York City on that day, I wanted to capture. “Monument” might be the wrong word because that day was monumental in feeling, but everything was torn down. One thing I took from that experience is that nothing is fixed— buildings, architecture, sculpture, people— are all quite fragile. It is pretty inspiring to stand behind your project and say it matters on the level of common human experience, and find people emerging to come and support you and your work. Friends and strangers. I think everyone had a 9/11 moment. Everyone personally related to the cultural shift of such a major event. Gosh, for crowdfunding success I would suggest to find a project that is attempting to rebuild and re-create for a greater good, with sincerity and heart. I’m Filipina, so to me my heart is going out to the people who got struck by the recent typhoon. We all are “struck down” in some form or another, and then it’s our job to rebuild and create something from that moment. It’s a collective rebuilding, and that’s why the crowdfunding campaigns can be so profound. - Michelle Lopez and One Rivet Team, Artist, Crowdfunding Inspiration

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  • November 20, 2013