A surprisingly common myth about crowdfunding is that once you make your project live, affluent beneficiaries will come flocking to fund your idea. In reality, it takes strategy and foresight to seek out the crowds that will be interested and passionate about your cause, and time invested in building that online community, before your campaign launches.
On Thursday, San Francisco startup Gigwalk announced a $10 million Series B round led by Nokia Growth Partners, with participation from Randstad Holdings, August Capital, Harrison Metal and SoftTech.
Gigwalk is a software platform that allows offers on-the-ground, in-store information about products and promotions. According to the company, there are 500,000 independent contractors working for the company, whose customers include Frito Lay, Microsoft and 7Eleven.
CEO Bob Bahramipour says the new round of funding will be used to expand the Gigwalk paltform’s capabilities and build out its team. Currently, Gigwalk has 25 employees on staff, and Bahramipour says he is looking to hire at least 15 more by the end of the year.
Featured Startup Pitch: Brooklyn Workshop’s ‘vulcanized’ Elby shoes are designed for extra durability for longboarders and anyone else with a super-active lifestyle
Elevator Pitch: Brooklyn Workshop has developed the technology and design to produce a longer-lasting vulcanized shoe.
Through countless hours of testing, Brooklyn Workshop has proven its design and technology for a longer-lasting vulcanized sneaker. Vulcanized shoes are the kind that customers are familiar with from brands like Converse and Vans. They are great because of how flexible, comfortable, soft and ‘grippy’ the soles are. The problem is that the softness comes at the price of the shoe wearing out very quickly. Anyone that has worn a pair of Converse is familiar with how quickly they wear out.
We use a special compound that retains all the softness, grip, and comfort of a vulcanized shoe, but with the added benefit of lasting much, much longer. To test the shoe, we gave pairs to a bunch of longboarders. Longboard skaters do things like foot-breaking that is essentially pressing your shoe on the pavement to stop. So, like an eraser on a pencil, this tends to destroy most shoes. When feedback came back from the riders, we were ecstatic! We even had a rider that took our shoes on a long-distance skate from New York to California. He wore them for over 2,000 miles and they outlasted both his Nikes and his Vans that he took along with him. After that, we knew we had the ‘special sauce’ and were ready to put out the next generation of shoes. We figured if it can take the abuse that our riders dish out, than anyone, even non-skaters, would be happy to have a great-looking, durable shoe.
A new startup is harnessing the power of the crowd to help entrepreneurs and tech companies do their jobs better.
Testbirds, a German crowdtesting company, just raised €2.1 million ($2.9 million) as its first institutional funding, with French venture capital firm Senventure Partners leading this round. It’s also releasing a new product, BirdFlight, which enables customers to distribute and test their apps with their own testers.
Spanx Inventor and Founder Sara Blakely
"Don't be afraid to fail. My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn't have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. "
Coins.ph launched in the Philippines last year offering a Bitcoin trading platform in the country. Following this, it is now set to provide a Bitcoin payment service for daily deals sites MetroDeal and CashCashPinoy this month, with the aim of giving more payment options to consumers. Given the low credit card penetration in the Philippines and nearby Southeast Asian countries, Coins.ph co-founder Ron Hose believes this can help increase e-commerce transactions in the region.
It’s an understatement to say “life is tough” when you grew up in the only Chinese family in a Los Angeles ghetto, with drug dealers, gang members, and criminals as neighbors. But it was reality for Rosaline Koo, the 52-year-old founder and CEO of ConnecXionsAsia (CXA), a Singapore-based startup building an online employee benefits platform that it hopes will shake up the industry.
Koo’s father was an illegal immigrant who landed in Mexico from China and swam up the coast to California. Her mother escaped during the Communist Revolution in 1949, leaving behind her then-husband – who was later killed – and two children. Her land was seized by the government, and Koo’s grandmother was sent to a labor camp. One of a few Chinese kids in an all-black neighborhood, Koo was bullied and beaten up, and retaliation often wasn’t an option due to her diminutive stature. “I had to learn how to rapidly judge situations, to decide whether I should fight or flee for my life,” she says.
We visited demohour.com, Chinas leading tech-focused crowdfunding site. The site seems to be doing better every time we visit. This month had more new projects raising larger amounts of funding than we’ve seen in the past. Our top picks have all reached their goals but are still raising money.
Founded in 2010 by Yusuke Tanaka and three other founders, Locondo is one of the largest ecommerce sites selling shoes in Japan. Yusuke, an ex-McKinsey consultant who worked in Silicon Valley from 2007 to 2010, was very inspired by Tony Hsieh’s Zappos. “I had an opportunity to hear about the story of Zappos. I thought there was great potential to do it in Japan,” says Yusuke. By chance, Yusuke met the guys from Rocket Internet, the German ecommerce startup machine. In 2010, Locondo received a US$10 million investment from Rocket followed by another $5 million in 2011. Rocket Internet also provided expertise in logistics and warehousing to Yusuke’s team.
U.K based cloud software company Invenias, specialising in HR and recruitment sector and has a GUI that works within Microsoft outlook has just topped up its funding with an additional round for expansion. The allocation was for US$ 2 Million and came from an existing investor.
Last summer Invenias received US$ 1.5 million in series A funding from MMC ventures and in addition several private investors, including Mark Farmer the founder of Eden Ventures. MMC Ventures took the lead again investing for a second time. Farmers credits include founding Cramer Systerms. Cramer Systems, was founded in 1996 by Jon Craton, Mark Farmer and Don Gibson, and developed OSS systems for the telecommunication industry. In August 2006 Amdocs announced the completion of the acquisition of the company for $425m, and has also joined the company as Chairman.
Invenias’ cloud-based software platform integrates with Microsoft Outlook so users can manage and view candidate data within the email program, rather than having to utilise separate software. Candidates’ LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter feed accounts are also pulled into the Outlook app for easier viewing.
Invenias said today it plans to use the new financing to continue growing the business and for further international expansion, reportedly telling one source in the media that they have just under 500 customers, serving “thousands” of users across more than 30 countries. The company currently employs 80 of its own staff, across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Commenting on the new tranche of funding in a statement, Jon Coker, Investment Partner at MMC Ventures, said: “Since initially investing in Invenias in July 2013, we have seen impressive growth and development from the team and we are delighted to be providing follow-on funding. Working with Invenias over the last year has strengthened our view that there is a big opportunity in this sector and we are pleased to further support the company.”