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

Ximo - Crowdfunding a Food Based Solution

With customers and distributors in all states RocketHub gave us the ability to introduce a new delivery system, letting our clients try the product first and giving us a gauge as to expected sales and customer excitement — also giving us the opportunity, the exposure, and marketing to introduce new people to our product and our company. RocketHub has lent us additional credibility, something new and exciting and innovative for our distributors to show their customers — exposure to new clients while showing innovation utilizing RocketHub’s technology. Our distributors are excited and thrilled about the opportunity of gaining new customers and further exposing our product line. RocketHub has provided XimoRocks a platform to further our mission of creating a food based solution to an overweight unhealthy America while utilizing our food based product. For crowdfunding success, read through the entire RocketHub site there is some fantastic and really helpful information on getting you started and understanding the whole process. Try thinking outside the box. Take your time and don’t rush your project. Crowdfunding is something new and not everyone understands the potential and marketing exposure it can mean for any size business. We are super excited to be a part of the RocketHub family and excited for the opportunity. - Melissa Edwards, General Manager, XimoRocks

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  • November 14, 2013

New York, London, And Dickens’ Christmas Carol In Between

Two years ago a small group of New York City actors banded together to create a touching and unique variation of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic “A Christmas Carol.” Today, we find ourselves embarking on an exciting new adventure. Well, it is Dickens so there is a lot we could say. He was such a great human being and prolific writer. He was also a true humanitarian. We wanted to create a show that shared the story between New York and London. The actual story born in the streets of London and New York has the artifacts of the actual original Carol at the Morgan Library and New York Public library. More than that, neither London or New York has an annual running Carol in the center of each city that is enduring. We are excited to create a cultural exchange between these tow great cities that includes education and philanthropy… We are the First American Theatre artists ever invited to perform the Carol at the Charles Dickens Museum of London and other various locations in London that are dear to Dickens and where he first performed the Carol himself. It would all be for charity and a cultural exchange. So our RocketHub campaign is us getting over that little pond to do some good work with a great story. We love RocketHub and feel so blessed to be collaborating with you all. I feel crowdfunding is abut story telling and your great storytellers. The experience feels like being pioneers on an epic journey of getting the story out there. once they know it, our supporters love it. Getting the word out this year has been our biggest challenge. Some folks were not able to really with the campaign and with this journey, it is all about getting word out to the tribes. There is a huge love for Dickens and the Carol and our show is really special. It is not just a show, it is a cultural and philanthropic project with education and free tickets for shelters and such so we feel sure that if more people knew about the invitation to London from the Dickens family, we would have even more support. Everyone has a dream and a great project so the fact that folks have supported ours is a blessing. And we are grateful for what we have raised. It literally makes the show possible this year. Have a great committed team before you start, listen to your heart and own compass and make it a work of art. It isnlt abot raising money only, it is about sharing your story with as many people as possible. The team is key. And the story is the heart. - Laurie Strickland and the Christmas Carol Team

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  • November 12, 2013

Cozzee - A Socially Conscious Way to Drink Amazing Coffee

Cozzee™, a hybrid word for coffee and a cause, is the new, socially conscious way to drink amazing coffee. We sell premium coffee online from the best coffee producing regions of the world and allow our customers to impact the world by giving away all of the profits from their purchase (that’s right, all) to a cause that they choose. We like to think we’re the perfect blend (pun intended) of smart business and a passion for helping people.  The inspiration behind this project and our business in general is the need that exists. There are a lot of hurting people in the world and we wanted to do something about that and be a part of their solution. We also wanted to involve others in that solution as well, but we wanted to do it in a way that made sense for them and didn’t force them to change their daily routine. So, we figured that people love drink coffee, so let’s leverage coffee to make a difference in the world. It’s been a great and challenging experience thus far. The great piece about this experience has been seeing the market response to what it is that were doing; the pats on the back, the feedback, people saying that ‘hey, you’re really doing a great thing’ and ‘we see how this model can be very successful in the marketplace and really can help a lot of people’. The challenge has been of course trying to get outside of our circles to let individuals know about what it is that were doing. We’re going to implement some things to help overcome that challenge but it has been a very enlightening experience overall and were looking forward to seeing what the last days of this campaign have to hold for us. The best crowdfunding advice that I think we could give would be to really focus on getting outside of your network through various PR activities prior to your campaign starting. The more awareness outside of your circle you can have prior to the campaign the better you’re going to be when you launch as far as gaining traction, gaining momentum etc. The other bit of advice would be to develop a good strategy and continue to work your systems. Spend at least an hour or two hours every single day depending on what your campaign goals are so that you can see the results and fruits of your labor. If you execute effectively on those two things you can have a lot of campaign success. - Johnny McRae and Cozzee Team

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  • November 6, 2013

Washington Square Winds Take the Stage - Crowdfunding a New Album

The composers themselves were our biggest inspiration. Our mission as an ensemble is to expand the quintet repertoire by collaborating with composers of our generation, and that is exactly what we are doing by recording our first CD. We feel there is no better way to promote new music than to record it for the entire world to hear, generations to come. We are honored that RocketHub considers us pioneers! It has been quite a challenge rounding up support, but it has been worthwhile. It’s incredible to see how many people share our love of contemporary classical music, and now we want to record the best CD possible to reward everyone’s efforts. The more passionate you are about your project, the more you will inspire passion about your project in other people, which will hopefully lead to support. Luckily for us, we love our work with Washington Square Winds and have a close relationship to the composers, and we believe this excitement shines through in our project. Also, there’s a lot more planning that must go into a crowdfunding project than most people think. Every detail must be thought out, from creating a timeline, to designing exciting promotional materials, to sending your thank you letters. - Washington Square Winds, New York-based Woodwind Quintet, Woodwind Crowdfunding Pioneers

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  • October 30, 2013

Photographing the Beautiful Complexity of Harlem - 125th: Time in Harlem

The inspiration behind our photography project is our love for Harlem (I lived there for 11 years and Edward currently resides there). The recognition that the community is changing in profound ways led us to photograph 125th St, Harlem’s main economic and cultural corridor, to better understand those changes. Our supporters have been fabulous! This is our first crowdfunding experience and we were both nervous initially about the response we would get. Each dollar received, however, has been a wonderful affirmation of the project’s worth and has strengthened our resolve to meet our goal which ultimately is to print our book, 125th: Time in Harlem. Anyone launching a crowdfunding campaign should put forward a project they REALLY believe in 110%. It takes a lot of work regardless of the amount sought and spirits flag as the days draw on. Having a project you believe in can inspire you to keep moving forward. Also, be ready to be surprised. You never know who will support your project or what opportunities beyond your stated goal will emerge. This has definitely been our experience and it’s very exciting. - Isaac Diggs & Edward Hillel, Photographers, Educators, Artists, 125th: Time in Harlem Co-Creators, Crowdfunders

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  • October 23, 2013

Crowdfunding Quikiks - Innovative and Helpful Hands-Free Shoes

The inspiration came from my son’s inability to put his own shoes on because he was in a big torso brace to help prevent the progression of his scoliosis (curvature of the spine). I had to put on his sneakers each day and eventually thought it would be nice if there were special shoes that he could just step into and have them automatically fasten without the need to bend over or use his hands. Having such shoes would unburden me, as the caregiver, from the task and at the same time give my son the independence to care for himself. Shoes like this did not exist and I figured that I was not the only one in this situation, so it might be a good idea to create some. However, the backstory to this backstory is that the reason I came up with the idea at the particular time that I did was because of an entrepreneurship show on TV called the Big Idea hosted by Donny Deutsch. At the end of one show, he walked over to the camera, shook his finger and said, “I want you to go to bed tonight and think about a problem you face every day and think of an idea to solve it.” And that’s what I did. I went to bed after that and within 20 minutes I had an idea on how to solve the “hands-free shoe problem”. The next day I started working on a prototype. That was six years ago. The crowdfunding experience has certainly been a liberating and exciting one -to finally put my project “out there” after years in development! The whole crowdfunding platform I find to be very empowering because the “price of admission” is so low that it makes it accessible for almost anyone to put their project out there and try to make it a reality. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, the platform can serve as a litmus test to gauge market demand and (hopefully) raise capital to fund production without giving away equity in our business -which is nothing short of awesome! The real trick is getting the eyeballs of the people that may want what you have to your campaign site. My supporters have enthusiastically wished me the best of luck with my new venture and think it is a great project, however, this has not translated into as much monetary support as I was hoping for. I am still trying to figure that one out… Think far out in terms of planning to launch your campaign. Give yourself plenty of time to build and nurture your network so you can spread the word about your campaign more effectively when the time comes. Be realistic about what it will actually take to commercialize your product, not only in terms of funding, but also by lining up your suppliers and manufacturers ahead of time so as to reduce the time gap between the end of the campaign and delivery of the finished goods. - Steve Kaufman, Father, Inventor and Entrepreneur, Avid Sailor, President of the Board - Services for the Developmentally Disabled, Crowdfunder

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  • October 18, 2013

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