The battle between London’s black cabs and upstart incomer Uber has been a relatively subdued affair thus far — aside from the odd scuffle and some roadblocking demonstrations last year. Not for Brits the violent displays of anger seen over the channel in France last summer.
But despite the lack of open street warfare in London there’s still no love lost between London’s distinctive — and heavily regulated — Black Cabs and the Silicon Valley upstart.
And now a group of London Black Cab supporters, called Action for Cabbies, is hoping to step up the fight by launching a crowdfunding campaign to push for a judicial review of Transport for London’s 2012 decision to grant Uber a licence to operate in the city.
It’s arguing that the procedures followed were wrong and that TfL has subsequently failed to enforce the law. The group is led by Artemis Mercer, the wife of a cabbie, who has also been running a campaign group on Facebook.
If the thought of crowdfunding conjures notions of converting untold masses, it might be helpful to envision the process as slightly more personalized.
“The number one myth [about crowdfunding] is the word ‘crowd’ itself,” says Sally Outlaw, CEO of Peerbackers, a consulting firm. “You have to go out there really one-to-one. It comes back down to personal relationships — the success of a campaign.”
For more from Outlaw, including the second-biggest myth surrounding crowdfunding, check out this short video.
Turns out, lots of people want honey on tap. Nearly 30,000 people have contributed to the Indiegogo campaign for the Flow Hive, making it the most successful crowdfunding operation in the site’s history.
Flow Hive has raised just over $10 million, with six days still left to go. The founders were originally trying for $70,000, which it reached in 477 seconds. More than 6,100 people paid $600 for the full hive, which is expected to start shipping in December.
Cedar Anderson and his dad Stuart worked on the concept for the last decade. The family has been keeping bees for generations, and Cedar started his first hive when he was just six years old.
Two weeks ago, Elan Lee got a call that made him feel like he was living in the movie Jaws. It was about two weeks into the highly successful Kickstarter campaign for his new card game Exploding Kittens, and one of his potential suppliers called “to see if you were still interested in that order for 500 decks of cards.” By that point he already knew he was going to need about 500 thousand.
“I had flashes,” Lee says, “to that scene where Roy Scheider (Brody) sees the immense great white for the first time and says in a stupor “you’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
When Exploding Kittens—a tabletop card game that’s essentially Russian Roulette with cats—ended its Kickstarter run tonight, it had raised more than $8.7 million. (They’d initially asked for $10,000.) For context, that’s about $3 million more than Rob Thomas scared up to make a friggin’ Veronica Mars movie. It got more than 200,000 backers—more than any other Kickstarter project, by a longshot—and is the most funded game in the site’s history. “Until Exploding Kittens came along, we hadn’t seen the Internet at large descend on a project and embrace it at this crazy scale,” says Luke Crane, Kickstarter’s lead for games projects.
For Joanna Griffiths, launching a crowdfunding campaign was about more than raising capital for her startup. Griffiths turned to Indiegogo in 2013 to test the market for Knix Wear, a line of women’s underwear made from moisture-wicking, odor-absorbent fabrics. “It was the last test in a series of tests I conducted before launching the business,” explains the Toronto-based entrepreneur.
Even though Knix Wear garnered support from 518 backers who pledged more than $50,000 for the 2013 campaign–on a goal of less than $40,000–crowdfunding was a challenge. “I thought if I had a great idea and a strong platform, I would sell thousands of units,” Griffiths recalls. “But getting every single new backer was a struggle.”
As crowdfunding gains popularity as a financing model–Kickstarter, for example, has seen more than $1 billion pledged since its 2009 launch, and more than 19,000 successful campaigns last year alone–a growing number of startups are clamoring for support from backers, making it that much harder for ‘treps to stand out.
Before you sign on with one of the 200-plus U.S. crowdfunding platforms, master these tricks for launching a successful campaign.
Crowdfunding used to be pretty simple. Artists, inventors, and filmmakers posted their ideas, and funders chipped in a few bucks to make something happen. Kickstarter, the site that triggered the crowdfunding movement, was the cornerstone. In three years, the site has helped launch more than 95,000 projects.
Today, there are scores of crowdfunding sites. Indiegogo, Bolstr, Fundable–the list goes on. With the SEC poised to allow projects to offer equity, crowdfunding has the potential to revolutionize how entrepreneurs raise money. (For now, you have to offer some kind of reward in exchange for donations.)
But all sites are not created equal. Some specialize in nonprofits, or in certain types of products; others offer consulting services in addition to sourcing funding. In an increasingly crowded and complicated marketplace, where should you turn to fund your endeavor? Follow our map.
Created by Burden in 1979, the Flaming Carrot has no secret identity, no superpowers, and is not particularly intelligent. After reading 5,000 comic books in a single sitting to win a bet, a man was driven quite mad and was permanently transformed into the orange superhero.
Crowdfunding is the latest buzz to hit the entrepreneur community, but no one really knows how it is going to work. What we do know is that it will allow people like you and me (non-accredited) investors to use our money to help small businesses to start or grow. The problem is that the funding entrepreneurs need to prove, start and grow their ideas into companies has been at a premium since 2008. The question now is whether the excitement will translate into a meaningful solution.
The turn of the century already saw a slow down from the tech investing of the 90’s, but when the recession hit, bank funding ground almost to a stop. Where could the entrepreneur go to seek funding for their idea or startup?