On April 3rd 2019, five years after graduation we went back to Católica-Lisbon, but now on the other side of the stage. We aspire to inspire other young people to try and follow what they love. We gave our testimony on the challenges of building a Startup, that began with a crowdfunding campaign.
Católica-Lisbon Students’ curiosity about Crowdfunding.
It was fascinating to feel the students’ enthusiasm not only for the Ambassador brand but also for our journey up to now, namely with the Crowdfunding campaign. Questions like: “What is Crowdfunding? How does it work? What are the challenges? Where to start?”, were the main approaches we had.
Crowdfunding on Indiegogo as a way to finance an idea and have market prospection.
Students, teachers and other Católica-Lisbon stakeholders were curious about our experience with the Ambassador’s first phase of funding. It was delightful to feel that time passes quickly and after five years, we were setting the example:
- We explained that crowdfunding campaigns have served as a launching pad for many start-ups all over the world. Crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo are platforms for work-in-progress ideas and products. This contribution can be through buying project equity or making an investment in a product, by pre-purchase a product or just a donation.
- Product crowdfunding through pre-orders is non-traditional because consumers buy the products in advance, which enables companies to develop and produce the product itself. The great advantage for consumers is access to exclusive purchasing conditions and participate in the development of products/ideas.
- Crowdfunding enables companies to test the reception of a product/idea on the market and get funding for the first production. The delivery only happens in case of the campaign success, meaning, reaching the funding goal. Otherwise, there is a refund of the value to the customer.
- What is Indiegogo? Indiegogo is the world’s first major crowdfunding platform, it has raised more than $ 1 billion since its beginning in 2007, with 15 million people visiting the site monthly and contributions of 2.5 million people in 226 countries. Therefore, Indiegogo is a solid platform with enough “investors” willing to bet on innovative ideas.
What are the steps to build a successful Crowdfunding Campaign on Indiegogo?
A Crowdfunding campaign requires planning and preparation. After we had our final prototypes, we researched what it would take us to have a successful crowdfunding campaign. Only 27% of crowdfunding campaigns succeed.
First, invested in photography and promotional video content to start our Brand Awareness campaign through social media. Our Brand Awareness campaign took place two months in advance. This campaign allowed us to reach potential customers and reach 30% of our funding goal during the first three days of the crowdfunding campaign.
We launched our crowdfunding campaign on June 16, 2018. With a total of 28 581 euros reached in 8 weeks, we outdid our initial goal. With this funding, we were able to do our first production. As our HR resources were limited, we had to stop the sales process to focus on the production side because it was critical to ensure that our established customers through the crowdfunding campaign received their products as we committed.
In October we shipped, as planned, all of our 300 pre-purchased products to the first Ambassadors.
What are the challenges of building a Start-Up?
Until now, our main milestones were:
- Obtaining the initial funding.
- The validation of the Ambassador idea, through the number of pre-sales.
- The pre-orders delivery in time.
We suppressed these challenges by developing a close relationship and engagement among all our suppliers. Managing 14 different suppliers from fabrics, confection, packaging, and distribution was our biggest challenge.
In the beginning, it is difficult to know the best strategy to approach our target and to choose which channels to use. We cannot “shoot” everywhere due to the limited resources that consume time and money, as well.
As preparation for the campaign launching in June, we engaged our community through social media and our closest networking. Then in the sales phase during the campaign we focused on developing relationships with our potential clients via LinkedIn flirt, always appealing to the engagement with the Ambassador, by being a 100% Portuguese and innovative Product.
What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur who wanted to set up his startup?
The best advice we gave was making the following questions, and if that person answers in convict and affirmative way we believe he could be ready to start his project.
- Can you sell your idea/product in a sentence?
- Do you have a financial contingency plan for unforeseeable “crashes”?
- Do you have the flexibility to go to suppliers and solve unpredictable issues?
Then it’s work, work, work, and work even smarter.
The challenge of being a true Ambassador. Recruitment.
Growing is our future, and we want the best of the best Ambassadors, willing to dress up the shirt and get inspired by our journey. Being an Ambassador is the closest you can get to work on the definition and implementation of the strategy in an Innovative and 100% Portuguese business. We look forward, inspiring ourselves by our journey until now and by the one, we still have to go through. A unique opportunity to make the difference, have real responsibilities and start a network.
Our thanks to Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics for the invitation.
To all those responsible for organizing the event our thank you. Ambassador has witnessed a customized service, paying great attention to the requests and needs, with the usual sympathy. The quality signature we are used to as former students, collaborators and now, as a company.