If Narek’s article didn’t clue you into the fact that crowdfunding offers more than an alternative business funding method, then our interviews with Ran Cory and John Lee Dumas certainly should have. With free market research, advertising, PR and brand awareness also up for grabs, it’s little wonder that companies like Accuhorsemat are turning to crowdfunding to launch their latest products.
Max Hoffman’s patented acupressure mat was originally designed for horses. Their riders quickly saw the benefits, and it wasn’t long before Max was inundated with requests for a human version. It’s taken some time, but the company has finally produced a mat for the human market, Acuswedemat. With the potential to alleviate muscle pain, reduce stress and improve sleep, it’s no wonder this latest product is flying off the shelves in its native Sweden.
“We tested prototypes on some dressage riders and show jumpers who will ride in the Olympics this year,” Max explained, describing the development of his latest design. “They all loved the new mat. These are athletes who are sitting on a horse for eight hours a day, seven days a week, they need to be able to relax and soften up muscles. After a while, the yoga community started to show interest and also chiropractors. We did a very successful heat camera test in the U.S, it had some fantastic results and opened lots of new doors for us in the medical field.”
With a critical success, elite athletes happy to endorse their products, and interest from multiple markets, why has Accuhorsemat chosen to launch its latest product on Indiegogo of all places? “We wanted to keep investors out of the company,” Max answers candidly. “We needed a finance solution that let us remain in control, let us grow and develop the company in the way we thought was best. Crowdfunding seemed like the best alternative funding option.”
The good news is that this enterprising Swedish company has already beaten the crowdfunding odds, achieving 113% of their funding goal with three weeks still left on their campaign. “We put a lot of work into the campaign before we launched.” Max echoes the advice of some of our most successful campaigners, “We invested in a photographer, a professional video and we did our homework. Before the campaign launched, we used social media to generate interest among our target audience. We encouraged all our friends to pledge when the campaign first went live. The more successful a campaign is in those first few days, the more interest it generates. That’s crucial for attracting backers.”
But it wasn’t all plain sailing for Max and his team. “Once the campaign launched, we got about 15-20 emails a day from crowdfunding specialists offering to help us market the campaign. It’s all a scam.” He warns, “We went with one company but it turned out their help was worth nothing. There’s a whole scam industry out there trying to make money from campaigners.”
Did this experience put him off crowdfunding as an alternative business funding option? “Not at all.” Max is quick to answer, “But a campaign does take up a lot of time, and I’m not sure if we’ll do it again. For us, the main problem is the shipping costs. We couldn’t get it any cheaper because of the weight of our mats, plus we didn’t know how many we would sell and need to ship. Prepare, prepare, prepare.” He emphasizes again.
“Crowdfunding did offer us lots of benefits other than alternative business funding, though,” Max adds. “We have an enormous international network now, we wouldn’t have had that resource without our Indiegogo campaign. I would recommend crowdfunding to any companies looking for an alternative business funding option. Just remember, a successful campaign is much, much harder than you think it’s going to be!