Crowd Navigator at Youth Event

Crowd Navigator will be showcasing its abilities at ISK Crowd Product 2016 (see poster below), seeking to engage with the event’s highly-talented and large college-going crowd. We understand it’s this youthful tech-savvy audience who more or less reflect the latest users trends, are early-adopters of new products and seem more than willing to innovative with the new. Like many startups in the past and even present, we expect the disruptive field of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing to find favour among the young and young-at-heart communities. Further, we would also continue offering our crowdfunding planning and other crowd engagement services to startups and corporates.

CN_ISkCrowdProductLook forward to seeing you at this unique event! In the meantime you can reach out to us here anytime.

Popular Crowd Products from 2015

The year has seen some kickass products and prototypes get discovered and come to the fore, a large number of them through crowdfunding platforms. The success of these product augurs well for the future generation of hobbyists, creators and makers, who may be motivated to turn full-time entrepreneurs. Here’s a look at some of the products that caught the eye this year.

1) Lily Robotics Drone

This flying camera when tossed into the air, starts follows its owner around with the help of GPS and computer vision. Along the way this water-proof and ultra-compact device shoots HD pictures and videos.

2) Air 2 Wireless Floating Sound Bluetooth HD Speaker

The Air 2 bluetooth speakers by Coby Electronics has in-build magnets to help it mind-blowing levitate. These speakers can also be mounted on a wall.

3) Qwertywriter

This 84 keys, USB, Bluetooth enabled typewriter-inspired keyboard gives one the look and feel of a vintage typewriter. This classy keyboard design can be easily integrated with a wide range of tablet devices.

If you come across any other interesting products from 2015 via crowdfunding platforms or elsewhere do let us know with the name of the product and its link. We will be happy to showcase compelling products you refer.

Startup Countries Where Equity Crowdfunding’s Legal

Title III of the JOBS Act has been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), paving the way for legalisation of crowdfunding in USA.

Now anyone can invest into startups and small businesses, 5% if their annual incomes or net worth’s less than $100K and up to $2K or 10% if greater, via an online platform. These online platforms will need to follow necessary regulations as mandated by the new laws and can begin operating by late January 2016.

Other countries where Equity Crowdfunding are legal include: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and UK.

The journey to the legalisation of crowdfunding in the USA has been a long one, and comes years after the US Senate and President Obama passed the JOBS Act. In fact 3 years ago through the GrowVC blog I’d shared this graphic post ‘Is Crowdfunding Safe Enough For Investors?..’ – now it’s finally time to see some real action.

Equity Crowdfunding USA

Expect to see more countries, including those from the growth, and more populous, regions of the world to follow suit and legalise this form of crowdfunding. Reach out to us if you need any information on crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, always happy to help.

Bringing to you the ‘Era of Trust Economy’

Image credit: learnersonline.comThe sharing economy – where businesses leverage the use of available resources optimally through technology and by reducing wastage of resources, has been evolving constantly. These not-as-usual-businesses include, taxi-sharing startups like Uber, home/room rental companies like Airbnb as well as the many e-commerce marketplaces and crowdsourcing platforms available.
In a recent post I’d come across, it became clear that the ‘Trust economy’ is where we are headed to. Trust economy as defined by the article:

Allows individuals to provide a service, often at a cheaper rate than the standard market price, which is accessible to a large network of users through a branded platform, which acts as a vehicle for collective trust and accountability.
All models depends on trusting a virtual stranger to do what they promise, hence why it has been called the ‘trust economy’.

Startups fitting such a criteria have been disruptive, especially of the traditional players, and in effect have given consumers more value. Here’s what consumers have gained from this trust economy:

  • More cost-effective solutions due to service-offerings being on-demand
  • A sense of belonging as consumers too can become providers of such services
  • Technology here has enabled direct engagement with the end service provider
  • Digital profiles and reviews have facilitated easy validations of service providers
  • More personalised experiences, with service providers turning disruptive players

Another major deliverable of the ‘Trust Economy’ that the technology-led ecosystem has enabled one to become more ‘creative’ in their businesses and solution-finding general. All one needs to do is increase their ‘reputation capital’.

Personally, I see the growth of the ‘Trust Economy’ essential to a community’s success – as it has the ability to transform mindsets and provides more room for innovative solutions to meet challenges.

Interested in the ‘Crowd, Sharing & Trust’ economies? Join me and several others at the following flagship startup conferences in Bangalore this month:
NASSCOM Product Conclave
YourStory’s TechSparks

Taxi Fabric & Loveability Dating App: A look at some popular Indian crowdfunding campaigns this summer

Crowdfunding has been enabling millions to pursue their dreams, either through their own project ideas or by supporting other projects with their time and resources. At any given point there are several thousands of projects live on a host of crowdfunding platforms around the world, with project-owners telling their story or seeking your support.

There have been many Indian projects from the technology, social and creative spaces tha have leveraged the medium of crowdfunding to realizing their goals – including in market validation and engaging with investors, customers and talents. Despite a few success stories from this region, many in India are yet to leverage the massive potential of crowdfunding.

(Also Read: 2014 and looking ahead: what’s in store for crowdfunding in 2015 India?)

Here are some compelling Indian crowdfunding projects that have generated a lot of interest in the community this July.

Taxi Fabric: Find your new design canvas

This creative project seeks to provide designers an opportunity to show off their design skills using taxi seats in Mumbai as their canvas. The campaign has received around 100 backers already, and upon reaching their goal they intend to create exquisite taxi seat covers and fit one taxi each week with these designer covers.

More on this Kickstarter project

Loveability: Not just another dating app

This one-of-a-kind matchmaking app focuses on those with disabilities. At this moment around 80 million people with disabilities live in India alone and of which only a small percentage manage to find partners and get married. The team behind Loveability plans to scale fast and with support can further the app development and user-experience.

More on this Wishberry project

 

Are you an Internet of Things (IoT) company keen on leveraging crowdfunding for your new product? We can help!

PLAN YOUR IOT CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN NOW (1)
A crowdfunding campaign for hardware projects can have many benefits – those from engaging with early adopters, product pre-sales to ensuring better inventory planning – these and more can be achieved provided one strategised well for the campaign.

Before taking up a crowdfunding project, do explore –
a) various ways of Asking for the community’s support
b) who are those Influencers who can amplify your reach
c) how much time and effort can you put into its Planning
d) you and your team’s record of Delivering on promises
e) Storytelling as a way of connecting with the masses

I’d presented these learnings during this year’s Global Crowdsourcing Week, where industry leaders agreed crowdfunding was one of the more cost-effective and quicker ways to realise one’s goals, but there was indeed a method to the madness.

My experience working with the IoT community has enabled me to understand the space better (global and local trends) and how projects can see the light of the day. Over the last year or so I’ve also had the opportunity to work closely with IoT projects who that explored their product pre-sales via crowdfunding. Presently along with recent crowdfunding successes, I’ve also been regularly engaging with successful IoT crowdfunding project-owners. The below image’s from a recent IoT startups round-table discussion at NASSCOM.

nasscom-iot2

Now, in order to move the IOT and Crowdfunding space forward, we at CrowdNavigator are looking to assist 3 IoT projects that are looking to take the crowdfunding route within the next 6 months. If you’re a crowdfunding company and interested in seeking CrowdNavigator’s resource networks and expertise in the space, do APPLY NOW. We will finalise the 3 projects by 31 August 2015 (6PM GMT).

Crowdfunding as Growth Hack Tool

(Image source: hockeystickstrategies.com)In our earlier posts we have been sharing how crowdfunding has been adopted well by startups and some in the corporate sector. These apart, and based on my experience working with global platform teams and individual startup projects, it’s venture-funded / growth companies that are most likely to benefit from running a crowdfunding campaign.

Need of the hour for growth companies – those startups which have got their idea validated, a decent set of early-adopters and possibly seed-funding too – is to scale up as the next logical step. In the quest to get more customers and turn big (10-50X), some companies end-up spending more on traditional marketing methods – ones which larger brands can easily match and beat. Instead these growth companies need to explore more out-of-the-box solutions to engage with the large community and attract potential customers.

Crowdfunding project with an initial investment – enough to cover costs of an effective pitch video as well as online and offline resource(s) during the course of the campaign – has a better chance of turning the campaign into a success and realising larger goals in quick time. For growth companies to compete with established firms, how creative one gets with their crowdfunding campaign along with sustaining the community outreach momentum can make a huge difference.

Want implementable strategies to turn your ideas or projects successful? Write to me on vinay@crowdnavigator.com, I’ll be happy to help.

(My recent article on YourStory: Sony joins the crowdfunding bandwagon. Find out other companies that have leveraged crowdfunding)

How Corporates Use Crowdfunding

corporates-cfHuman behavioural traits and values of the new-generation crowd economy are, as expected, not restricted to startups and creative communities alone. Large corporations like GE, IBM and Walmart have demonstrated that crowdfunding can do them a world of good for them too. Here’s a look at some of forays by large corporations.

GE partnered with OurCrowd to co-invest with the crowd in select early-stage companies is areas such as healthcare, energy, software and advanced manufacturing. The initiative was led by GE Partners.

IBM had organised an internal crowdfunding platform for its employees and partner companies to explore innovative ideas in categories such as software, hardware equipment, travel, events and much more.

Walmart through its ‘Get on the shelf’ contest reached out to customers to find out what products they would want on their store shelves. The initiative was led by Walmart Labs.

There were plenty of takeaways here for corporates – from re-invigorating their workforce and learning about new ideas to trend-spotting, future planning and staying up-to-date with the forces of change. If you’re a corporate looking to explore ways for solve some of your company’s challenges, our team would be glad to engage with you and provide some unique strategies that may help you realise your goals.

Crowd Investors, Our Superheroes

(Image source: http://cdn4.list25.com)

(Image source: http://cdn4.list25.com)

At a recently concluded Global Crowdsourcing Week event in Singapore I got an opportunity to share how crowd investors are disrupting the investments space – adding value beyond the regular legal, financial and tax due diligence of startups. I’m not disputing that the legal, financial and tax reviews are important, but along with the assessment those and the technology, what can decide between a startup’s success and failure is evaluating the team’s activities. These are the 5 evaluation of team efforts I’d shared during the event’s Startup Workshop:

Power of Asking
Many of us from the crowdsourcing community, especially those of us involved in the startup space, have seen many startup entrepreneurs shy aways from ask for contributions – even when running a crowdfunding campaign. There can many reasons here, including being labeled desperate for funds and fear of rejection. Startup projects, much more than creative and social ventures, seem to have this challenge.

Power of Influencers
These people are not just those with a large following or having some sort of a celebrity status but also ones who can help create more value from your project. An example here is of an Indian IoT crowdfunding project called ‘Gecko’, who didn’t get much traction until their product message was retweeted by Steve Wozniak (Apple’s cofounder). The media outlets that earlier ignored and rejected them, then started reaching out to them and amplified their campaign’s goal even further.

Power of Planning
Projects like ‘Gecko’ also had a good plan to execute – having 4 top team-members focusing on the project’s outreach efforts. It’s important to identify a team that can give all to the crowdfunding campaign – a success here can do a world of good to their confidence and the company’s growth plans. I would recommend teams plan on not just online activities but also the offline activities, especially the offbeat ones.

Power of Delivering
Most crowdfunding campaigns have giveaways to contributors. If one wants to win not just the minds but also the hearts of contributors, a personalised touch and the speed of delivery can be the answer. Offer additional rewards if one can, nothing like a pleasant surprise for one’s backers. As in most cases, under committing and over performing, can work like a charm.

Power of Storytelling
There’s nothing like listening to a good story. A story that can seamlessly integrate multiple formats of media. They may include those like relevant tweets, infographics and other visually-appealing content, to make the story experience compelling. The impatient generation of today may not have time for lengthy articles like this :p Make sure you share your project updates regularly, so to have your supporters follow your journey right through and much beyond the crowdfunding campaign.

A team and a crowdfunding project that aces all these will be worth investing in. To help you remember these 5, think of a today’s generation that used the power of IPADS (Influencers, Planning, Asking, Delivering & Storytelling). Here’s a random video, but one you’ll love 🙂

CF Platforms: Own no startup, no investor

collaborative-consumptionA message that has been doing the rounds these days:

Uber, the world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicles.

Facebook, the world’s most popular media creates no content.

Alibaba, the world’s most valuable retailer has no inventory.

Apple, with sales of over 200 million smartphones and tablets does not own a factory.

Whatsapp with 3 million messages a does not own servers.

Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate.

– Disruptive, innovative and collaborative consumption is shifting the lines of the economy.

Dare to innovate.”

Looking at the many other popular companies, including the crowdfunding ones, this has been the trend. In fact the crowdfunding and crowdsourcing epitomise the above qualities of being disruptive, innovative and collaborative. After startups and investors in such scenarios need to taught make change with the resources at their disposal.

This month during Crowdsourcing Week’s signature event (April 20-24) in Singapore, the community influencers and thought-leaders (including those from Airbnb & those working closely with Facebook on projects) are together doing to explore ideas, disrupt and may well together create a new global economy.

For the initiated keen to know more about how to accelerate their business through crowdsourcing and crowdfunding there’s a specially designed workshop on April 24th. Here’s your chance to explore how you too can disrupt and grow together.