Stray - Feature Film Funding on RocketHub

After graduating film school together, Sam and I had it in our minds that we wanted to find a story that we would co-direct as our debut feature film. Little did we know how long that process would actually take. We moved to the northern California countryside then to New York City, working a variety of odd jobs over a period of five years. One of those very odd jobs was grunt work backstage in the New York fashion scene. It was there, hauling tables and picking up used hair extensions, that we met Beckett. Over the next two years the three of us became good friends and Beckett shared with us his fascinating life story. We decided to interview him in hopes of making a documentary but after just one meeting we knew that this was the story we wanted to use as the basis for our feature film. Beckett is the son of Barney Rosset, a renowned book publisher who was the first American to publish the works of Samuel Beckett and many authors of the Beat Generation. However due to a broken family and drug abuse, Beckett spent most of his life homeless on the streets of New York surviving as a thief. His story is one of contradiction, tragedy and hope and explores a subject that has always resonated deeply throughout our work; it is a story of people, love and family. The response from our friends, family and broader community has been extremely positive both in terms of direct monetary contribution and also with brainstorming new approaches to funding, helping find new and broader audiences and in some cases even offering professional services to help the project come to fruition. Crowdfunding is an interesting experience because inherently there are so many questions and unknowns at the outset but the very process requires that you publicly push your project as much as possible despite that, which can certainly lead to a feeling of vulnerability. Will we reach our goal? If so, how? What will people think of the project and how will they respond after being asked to support us? We are still learning the answer to some of these questions but so far sharing this project, which we know so well and care about so deeply, has been exciting and the enthusiastic response of our peers immensely motivating. For success, start by reading anything you can find about crowdfunding strategy (RocketHub’s Success School is a great place to begin). The more planning you can take care of before you launch the better and research will help you get organized and develop goals and an achievable plan. Next, make a giant list of everyone you know, and I do mean everyone. Divide that list into people who will help you get started right away no matter what, people that might be willing to share your project to large groups of their own, and then everyone else (who you can follow up with after you’ve developed some legitimacy and momentum). Determining the appropriate way to contact each group is important but for us we have found that individual contact rather than bulk messages is more effective and that phone calls and emails are better than social media (though social media is great for spreading the word that the project is happening and is also a good way to keep people posted without being too pushy). Now that our campaign has cleared the 33% mark we are reaching out to various forms of media and larger organizations. This has been largely improvised but some success has come from targeting groups that have thematic or subject matter overlaps with our project. For example, since our project involves Samuel Beckett and Barney Rosset, we approached The Strand Bookstore in New York and they agreed to tweet our project link. Mainly it seems it’s all about trying and trying and every once in a while something connects and you have support from a brand new source. After you have exhausted all of your resources it is probably time to start going back through all the lists and see what has work and what hasn’t and then start a new pass. Being creative and flexible is definitely part of it, I’m guessing we still have some big lessons ahead of us still! - Nick Hartanto and Sam Roden, Filmmakers, Crowdfunders, Innovators

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  • October 15, 2013

Strikeloader - New Paintball Innovation Comes to Life via Crowdfunding

As active paintball players, we faced the perennial problem of frequent and inconvenient reload cycles during a game. Initial concepts and ideas were translated into early mockups and then, over time, hundreds of test models and prototyping variations. Our main inspiration was the famous Minigun-scene with the backpack magazine in the movie ‘Predator’. This fantasy has now been transformed into the most exciting technological innovation the paintball community has ever witnessed. Crowdfunding on RocketHub has been a thoroughly engaging and engrossing experience! The players are awesome; providing tons of ideas and well wishes with respect to our achievement of a finalized design prior to our first mass production run. I must say that we really had a difficult time with the R&D, as paintballs are a unique form of projectile that easily deform or break when propelled at high velocity. It almost drove us to the wall - our nerves and from a financial standpoint. You definitely need resilience and persistence. I call it the ‘pitbull’-gene. To gain crowdfunding success: Do your homework before you launch your campaign and be well prepared. Do a great PR and Viral marketing campaign and dont just rely on the crowd funding platform to attract customers. Have a backup investor in case you dont reach your goal. Know your market! Asses true market demand before commencing a campaign. - The Strikeloader Team

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  • October 10, 2013

Prezi & RocketHub Will Help You Fuel Your Ideas

You already use Prezi to share your ideas—now you can use Prezi to fund them. We’ve teamed up with RocketHub to make it just a little bit easier to turn your dreams into reality. Even the most innovative ideas are powerless without the people that believe in them. We created Prezi to help people express themselves and share their thoughts more effectively, because we know that it takes a village to bring an idea to life. The folks at RocketHub feel the same way; as one of the leading crowdfunding platforms on the web, RocketHub is focused on helping individuals connect with a community that can give them the resources they need to make amazing things happen. Prezi & RocketHub—A Match Made in Heaven We are thrilled to announce that RocketHub is the first platform of its kind to integrate Prezi into the crowdfunding equation. With a simple click, you can now embed prezis on your RocketHub project page, making it easier than ever to impress and engage with the potential funders who have the power to send your ideas into action. To celebrate this coming together, we have partnered with RocketHub to launch the Fuel For Ideas Challenge, a unique opportunity to use Prezi to crowdfund your ideas. What is the Fuel for Ideas Challenge? The Fuel For Ideas Challenge is open to anyone with a groundbreaking idea that they want to see turned into a reality. Maybe you have been working on a new battery design that will store energy more efficiently, or maybe you have always wanted to start your own small business selling pies. Whatever your dream, now is your chance to make it a reality. All you have to do is make a prezi describing your idea and why it should get funded, and submit it as part of a RocketHub project through the Fuel For Ideas Challenge portal. What will I win? The five projects whose prezis get the most “likes” on Prezi.com will become Fuel for Ideas Finalists, and we are going to set up our Finalists for crowdfunding success. The Finalists will not only receive a special one-on-one consultation with a Prezi designer to polish their prezis but also be featured on Prezi.com and in RocketHub’s newsletter—exposing their projects to millions of potential funders! Oh, and one lucky Finalist—deemed by a panel of Prezi judges to have the most creative and unique project—will win $1,000 towards his or her goal and an exclusive opportunity to talk with our CEO, Peter Arvai. He will be happy to give you advice on how to use all that funding to bring your project to life. We’re excited to see all the amazing things our communities come up with. So what are you waiting for? Get started making your prezi and creating your project today, and let us help you fuel your ideas! Guest Post by Prezi Team, with Permission from Prezi

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  • October 4, 2013

FreshDirect Joins Forces with RocketHub In Search of the “Next Big Food Thing”

RocketHub is excited to announce a brand new initiative with FreshDirect to help awesome food-related projects raised funds and receive support. Here is the official release: LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y. / NEW YORK, N.Y. - October 2, 2013 – Popular online grocer FreshDirect and top crowdfunding company RocketHub, today announced a call for entries for the “Next Big Food Thing” challenge. Entrepreneurs with innovative food-related ideas— from food products to kitchen gadgets, from farming advancements to food businesses, and everything in between—are encouraged to submit their projects. Finalists will be announced in November and will crowdfund for their idea via RocketHub.com. A winner will be selected by a panel of judges based on a number of factors, including money raised, funder engagement and overall quality of idea. The entrant with the winning idea will receive $10,000 to fund their venture and the chance to partner with FreshDirect. Two runners-up will receive $2,500 each to fund their businesses. Judges for the “Next Big Food Thing” include Geoff Bartakovics, Tasting Table CEO, Natasha Case, Coolhaus CEO, Sarah Copeland, Real Simple Food Director, John Craven, BevNet Founder and David McInerney, FreshDirect Co-Founder. “I’m constantly wowed by the incredible new ventures I hear about; ideas that can improve the way we grow, prepare and provide food, and ultimately change the way we eat,” said David McInerney. “We’re excited to support and spread the word about the newest and greatest small food businesses out there as they strive to take their ideas to the next level.” “RocketHub is excited to team up with FreshDirect to power the “Next Big Food Thing,” said Brian Meece, CEO of RocketHub. This partnership will leverage the massive power of crowdfunding to incubate innovative food endeavors.” To submit a project, visit www.freshdirect.com/nbft The deadline to enter a project is October 31, 2013. —- About FreshDirect FreshDirect is a leading online grocer in the U.S., delivering premium quality fresh-from-the-farm foods and brand-name groceries to customers in the greater New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware metro areas and greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. With a more than 2,500-member workforce that is still growing, FreshDirect places an emphasis on nutritious, delicious meals and convenient services that allow customers more time to live healthy lives. FreshDirect aspires to be a valued corporate partner in all communities in which it serves. For more information, visit www.freshdirect.com. Follow FreshDirect on Twitter: @freshdirect and on Facebook: facebook.com/FreshDirect About RocketHub RocketHub is a top crowdfunding company that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, and social leaders raise millions of dollars. RocketHub is a brand-friendly crowdfunding platform that delivers powerful pathways for success to its users.

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  • October 2, 2013

Tali Takes the Next Step - Crowdfunding and So Much More

The inspiration behind the About to Pop project is to take our music to the next level. We are ready to take our full band and signature sound beyond the boundaries of NYC so that we can reach new stages and give people living farther away an opportunity to hear what we have to offer. Our ultimate goal is a World Tour and in this project we are taking the first crucial steps toward that bigger goal, starting in the North East region of the US. We’ve had years of experience performing locally and building a fan base among our immediate neighbors. The time has come to live up to our potential, step out of our comfort zone (NYC) and experience life on the road. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go when I first posted our project. I didn’t know what to expect or not to expect. In all honesty I feel like a beginner. There’s so much to learn…even from exploring other projects alone I find inspiration and set new goals for myself and our band. Something else that I find interesting is that it’s not all about making the money you need to accomplish a personal goal. It’s about connection. It’s about building community around a project and keeping friends and fans involved and engaged in what you’re doing. It becomes a group effort. It really gives you a sense of community and gratitude. For crowdfunding success: Communicate. Be open and transparent about your project, your goal and where you are. People are curious and interested in more than just giving money. Acknowledge. Express gratitude and in addition to any rewards, give credit to those who have your back in what you are doing. You are making this happen together. Without them, you would not be where you are today. Let them know it. Feel abundant. No matter how much or how little you raise, know that there are people behind you and always think about the people who give and NOT the people who don’t. The glass is half full. Be creative. While you do make rewards that correspond with specific donation amounts, it doesn’t have to be black and white. It never hurts to reward people spontaneously and offer them your music/art in creative ways. It may even encourage a donation. Keep the project in mind and not just the money that you raise to fund it. While you are raising money to make it happen, remember that ultimately, the project is what matters. Don’t lose sight of what’s important. While the money helps, remember to continuously express the passion behind the music or art that you are promoting. True passion and love for what you do will inspire others. - Tali Ratzon of Tali & The Grind, Pop and Funk Innovators, Music Crowdfunders

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  • September 25, 2013

One Spark Brings Crowdfunding to Life through Festival

One Spark, The World’s Crowdfunding Festival, takes place in downtown Jacksonville for five days in April, and Creators showcase their best ideas ­at any stage of development in the areas of Art, Innovation, Music, Science and Technology for a chance to access $300,000 in crowdfunding and prize money and millions in capital investments. Heading into our second year, our goal is still to facilitate a community event. When I say community, I’m not just referring to Jacksonville, our local community, who we love and who have embraced and supported us every step of the way. I’m also referring to the creative community abroad. We want to help creatives from around the globe showcase their ideas in a unique and exciting festival environment so they can connect with the resources they need to make them a reality. One Spark is like making RocketHub come to life in downtown Jacksonville, and connecting those projects directly with the people who can fund them and help them launch. That community of people, people with amazing ideas, they inspired us to launch this project so we can grow the event and make it bigger and better ­ that’s who we’re working for, One Spark is for the Creators. It’s really been amazing taking crowdfunding to the streets hadn’t really been done before and people are really excited that we’ve taken it there. It’s obvious that crowdfunding works, that it’s the new capital economy, and it works really well on online platforms such as RocketHub. But I wonder how many times someone has had a great project, a really great idea, but they just didn’t have the network to find funders, or thought, “If I could just get in front of potential funders, I know I could sell my idea and I know they’d want to contribute.” One Spark has been amazing for the creative and innovative community and it’s already evolving to the next stage ­an accelerator and apprenticeship program for standout Creators called KYN. One Spark co­-founder Elton Rivas just launched that new initiative last month to offer continued support for Creators and the response continues to be tremendous. But it all starts with One Spark, and that’s what we’re still trying to fund here. This might sound obvious, but what you’re trying to do is new, and disruptive. To the creative community, this makes your project appealing. Get the word out early, bring key thought leaders into your feedback loop and ultimately, get buy-­in and build advocacy. You’ll need this powerful collaborative not only to fund your project but ultimately, to move it beyond the powers­that­be and on to a successful launch. There’s strength in numbers and like most crowdfunded projects, your success will depend largely on the strength of your network. - Joe Sampson, Executive Director, One Spark

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  • September 20, 2013

Jack is Back - Crowdfunding a Musical Journey

I came back to RocketHub because it was the obvious and clear-cut choice on how to find funding for my project. The campaign I ran in the early days of the community was simple, yet effective: we managed to raise $3,000 in only 15 days! (I’m still surprised we could do that!) It only stands to reason that our new goal, $4,000 in 60 days, would be just as easy, if not easier! The second campaign is very similar to the first, in that it takes a certain amount of time and energy along with the right about skill and wit to continue to persuade people as to why they should help fund your project. There are admittedly some new difficulties, but they are not unlike those that came with the first campaign. For example, the first campaign a few years back came with the anxiety of not knowing what to expect: would this actually work? When it did work, that eased that anxiety. However, now we need to be careful not to take anything for granted. Just because it worked before doesn’t mean it will automatically work again, so we need to remain diligent in our efforts. Similarly, when the fundraising plateaus, we need to remember not to get discouraged or frustrated. We just need to look for new ways to show why our project is so important. In addition to the above advice, creativity is key. It’s imperative to have a vision or a dream, and it’s equally important to have the drive to make that a reality. It’s also important to be able to improvise and think on your feet. Sometimes the best ideas are the ones you think up after you launch your campaign. Remember, your job is to show why your project is so important that people cannot pass up the opportunity to fund it. Finally, don’t be afraid to go a little out of your comfort zone. Obviously, you don’t want to sell yourself just to make your project happen, nor do you want to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable beyond the point of no return. But wading into the proverbial shallow end of the scary pool of unfamiliarity may be what drives your project to be fully funded. For example, our current project has an option of receiving a free concert in your house for a $500 donation. In addition to that, I offered the first person to donate $250 or more a free dinner with me on my tab. You never know who you’ll meet with these goods! - Jack Furlong, Recording Artist, Composer, Educator, Crowdfunding Veteran 

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  • September 17, 2013

Scorpions, Bugs, Crowdfunding!

BugFest is the largest bug event in the country, with over 35,000 visitors coming to learn about arthropods, sample buggy dishes at Café Insecta and participate in fun bug crafts and games. Each year, we allow our visitors to vote on the “Theme Arthropod” and this year scorpions were the winner! One of the things that makes BugFest so special is that it is all about science. We have dozens of entomologists and arthropod experts at the event. Once we knew scorpions were the theme for 2013, we brainstormed scorpion ideas and asked around for scorpion experts. Our contact at NESCent (National Evolution Synthesis Center) told us he knew a scorpion evolution expert and introduced us to Lauren Esposito. After talking with Lauren, we realized that not only was she a great scientist, she was an excellent educator and science communicator and we knew we had to have her come to BugFest! The response to our campaign has been amazing! Of course, the Museum has very passionate supporters, already, but I’ve been blown away by the response to this campaign. When talking to folks, everyone has a different reason for donating. Some do it because they love the Museum, some do it because they love BugFest and some do it because they love scorpions! Almost everyone that has donated is passionate about science education—I’ve had comments that folks “want the children to learn about science.” Folks definitely appreciate the goods but that does not seem to be the true motivation for our funders. We took our time when putting together our RocketHub page and we had a whole team involved. We did not just throw something up; we tried to make our page really cool! We even had a photo shoot for the goods in front of the Museum! Additionally, we have tried to be very thoughtful about how and when we send out the information to our supporters. We started by sending it out to Museum and Department staff (we are part of the State’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources), then we sent it out to our volunteers and then our members. Of course, we posted it to Facebook and Twitter, too! Moving forward, we plan to cycle through our lists again and hopefully hit our funding goal before the deadline on the 17th! - Kari Wouk, Senior Manager of Educational Collaborations at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Science Crowdfunding Pioneer

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  • September 13, 2013

The Dolly Llama Project - Dolls & Children’s Book Teaching Peace

Dolly Llamas started out as lighthearted, comical, story-time characters I’d created to teach kids about practicing peaceful actions. The characters soon evolved into actual Dolly Llama rag dolls, intended to be used as visuals. I’m a huge fan of puns by the way, so the name was too obvious, yet not trademarked. I couldn’t believe it, so I ran with it! I then decided that the first children’s book, Dolly Llama Says, should incorporate the play on words by using Dalai Lama type quotes and affirmations that children would understand, ponder and hopefully become inspired to act on. I decided to take the project even further by donating copies of Dolly Llama Says to children in need. My original hope was to be a “one for one” company, but soon realized that I simply could not afford it. However, I was still determined to give back somehow, so I reached out to local non-profits and decided to donate one book for every five books sold during this campaign. My crowdfunding experience has been that of a positive one; including major support from friends, loved ones, and random people who have stumbled upon the project. Crowdfunding would not be possible without backers or “fans”, so I have them to thank for lifting this project off the ground. Not to mention that Crowdfunding sure beats paying back a business loan at high interest rates, right! Thanks to a well received launch, I have since set my sights on larger Dolly Llama endeavors; including more character/plot driven stories, a ‘seek & find’ Picture Book Of Good Deeds, kid’s yoga mats, printed fabrics, ribbon, and clothing. Who’s ready for a Dolly Llama animated series? We sure are! In order to gain more followers and backers, one thing I wish I would have done differently is reaching out to local news early on. They are most always more than willing to help. Allow my mistake to be your guide. Crowdfunding endeavors are super exciting, but don’t jump the gun. I actively started working on The Dolly Llama Project nearly nine months before I even launched the products. Acquire a Trademark if necessary and have your non-disclosure agreements handy. Ask questions. Gather opinions. Research statistics. Stay organized. Network. Be inspired. Dream big. - Carla-Rose Branch, Teacher, Innovator, Entrepreneur, Founder

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  • September 10, 2013

A New Way to Find a Job - Jackalope Crowdfunds a New Path for Seekers

Quite simply, the inspiration was anger — too many people out of work, or too many people not happy with their current jobs. So many people want to get better jobs and the way they do it now is very inefficient, so how can we make this process (networking into companies) smarter, faster and easier? That’s where our technology comes in — what could takes hours or days take seconds with our technology. We hit 25% of our goal before our first week, so we are off to a great start, now the challenge is keeping the momentum. Most people we touch are open and supportive, but we need to see the actual financial support. We are seeing support at the higher levels (funding 100 job seekers, or a larger group) but not seeing the volume support at lower levels.   Make sure you know who your customer is — a person who is not working may not have the resources to fund this project, but someone he/she may others who can fund the project. How do you reach them?  For any crowdfunding project, plan plan and plan. Of course there a time to stop planning and start executing, but it is important to truly understand your value proposition and make sure there is a market of funders. Test your value proposition with outsiders - people who are not close to your project, but respect you enough to provide honest (and sometimes brutal) feedback — that is healthy. - Sudy Bharadwaj, Co-Founder and CEO of Jackalope Jobs

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  • September 3, 2013