Like increasing numbers of budding Australian entrepreneurs, Kylie Gusset has turned to crowdfunding in order to get her enterprise off the ground.
Gusset’s mission was simple – to purchase and process a tonne of quality Tasmanian wool that could then be turned into a variety of products.
Faced with a price tag of around $55,000 to turn a tonne of wool into yarn, Gusset turned to crowdfunding platform Pozible with the aim of raising $33,000.
She ended up receiving pledges worth more than $38,000 – the largest single amount raised on Pozible in 2011.
Gusset was successful in crowdfunding – which asks the public for money to back a certain project or start-up in return for products or offers – by pitching her idea as a great way to support small businesses in Australia.
Rewards for different levels of monetary support ranged from a regular email newsletter on the wool industry to bundles of wool sent out domestically and overseas.
“There were plenty of learnings in the whole process, such as estimating when the rewards will be available,” Gusset explains.
“The expectation is three months, but in reality, the average is eight months on Kickstarter (giant US crowdfunding platform).”
“People are prepared for this kind of thing. There are so many hurdles you face, such as creating your own mailing list.”
Crowdfunding looks to burst out of comparative obscurity in Australia, with corporate regulator ASIC taking a closer look at how the industry is regulated.
It’s hoped by some in the industry that ASIC will loosen the regulations to allow start-ups to use crowdfunding in a more formalised setting, in order to raise money for their business in return for equity.
Until then, new market entrants, in a variety of niches, are offering options to innovators to have projects backed. But how can you best deploy crowdfunding?
To help others grapple with the challenges of the rapidly evolving crowdfunding scene in Australia, Gusset has organised an event called Crowdfund Your Startup Thousands, to be held in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond on October 11.
The speakers at the event, who have collectively raised $135,000 using Kickstarter, Pozible and indiegogo, will be sharing their top fundraising tips at the talk.
StartupSmart managed to get an initial snapshot from two of the speakers – Rob Ward and Tom Dawkins.