Crowdsourcing Your Way Forward

CSW2015-SingaporeWhile I’ve been part of a few crowdfunding platforms, have also had the opportunity to be part of a host of crowdsourcing initiatives. In fact at Crowd Product Pitch we leverage our crowdsourcing and community learning to encourage startups pitch early, share and win.

Having been part of a couple of Global Crowdsourcing Week conferences (2013, 2015) held in Singapore I can vouch for the team’s expert speaker curation and the unique set of learnings one receives at CSW events. I’m confident India’s first-ever Crowdsourcing Week Summit to be held in Bangalore will have the same impact, if not much more.

Who better to share the future of collaboration and innovation in the region that some of its pioneers. Here’s a look at some of the speaker list:

Osama Manzar: Founder and Director of Digital Empowerment Foundation, Osama has been =on the mission of eradicating information poverty from India and global south using digital tools. Osama’s also chairs the Manthan and mBillionth awards, which focuses on the digital inclusion for development and in recognising innovators.

Preethi Herman: She’s the Country Lead & Campaigns Director of Change.org. Preeti envisages an India where change is ‘bottom up’, where anyone and everyone can be a change-maker, their caste, creed, color, gender or regional identity notwithstanding.

Aarushi Batra: She’s the Social Media Head of Robin Hood Army, a volunteer organisation which collects and distributes excess food from restaurants to the the less fortunate. The organization has now expanded to 27 cities, 4 countries, 5000+ Robins and served around 600,000 folks.

Smita & Ramakrishna NK: Co-founders at Rang De, they are firm believers in the social business model and the power of civil society to bring about change. They began Rang De in 2008 as a platform to raise social investments for individuals and its impact on communities.

Epi Ludvik Nekaj: Founder and CEO of Crowdsourcing Week and the man behind the 5 P’s of the Crowd Economy – People, Purpose, Participation, Platform and Productivity. He has been consistently bringing together the thought leadership behind the Crowd Economy, including across India.

On the entrepreneurial side, the speakers include Ishita Anand (Founder & CEO of Bitgiving), Karma Bhutia (Founder & CEO of iShippo), MadanMohan Rao (Research Director at YourStory Media), Rajan Narayanan (Director, Second Avenue), Sanjeeva Shivesh (Founder & CEO, The Entrepreneurship School), Satish Kataria (Managing Director of Catapooolt) and many more thought-leaders (event link). Check out one of talks ‘Why is (Equity) crowdfunding growing?’ from a previous event.

CSW-SummitIndia

Cool Crowdfunding Projects & Pitches

If you’re working on a new IoT-based product or prototype and want to seek community feedback and validation, the upcoming IoT Crowd Pitch event’s just the kind you may want to attend, pitch at and follow.

IoT_CrowdPitch_BangaloreYou never what cool stuff you may come across at these pitches. Also over the past few weeks I’d come across some exciting new products being showcased on various crowdfunding platforms as well as on CrowdProduct. Here are my top 4 picks from the week:

1) Walli: Imagine the stress of losing your wallet, all the credit, access and identity cards? Well, now with Walli you will be notified on your phone whenever and wherever you leave it behind. See More

2) Nico360: It looks like a GoPro, this 360 degree affordable VR camera has the additional live streaming of activities now. You can pre-order now on Indiegogo.

This product’s kickass. The world’s first hubless smart bicycle which full integrated and has an electronic e-gear box. It’s made up of space grade carbon fiber, and can be connected to via one’s iPhone or Android app. See More

In this Olympic season, time for drones to keep up with your fast movements. That’s exactly what Staaker drone does. There are also robotic drones like Lily that can follow your movements. Watch below:

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.

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

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)

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 :-)

Crowdfunding @ Bangalore City

On a week when Bangalore had a series of events coinciding with Social Media Week and the Construkt Festival – India’s Largest Startup Festival, it was Crowdfunding which took centre-stage.
Startups, investors, innovators and the crowds gathered for Catapooolt’s Crowd Pitch Challenge event where close to two dozen startups presented to an investors audience – both seasoned and crowd investors. The crowds were empowered with virtual voting access and had a lot to takeaway from the event.

BANGALORE CROWD PITCH

The culmination of the week of activities also saw a local crowdfunding campaign by social enterprise Bal Utsav organise a ‘Pub Crawl for a Cause’ to raise funds for their crowdfunding campaign.

Pub Crawl DC

The bottomline’s that there more fun and interesting ways to reach out, not just to compelling ideas from a pool of talent but also to crowd investors to raise funds for a project. Get in touch for more unique ideas and success stories.