Crowdfunding Berries by Astrid – how it began

Crowdfunding Berries by Astrid became an extraordinary campaign. Run by a doctor of medical research, offering an unique business concept of selling smoothies, having rocket-science vending machines and reaching its crowdfunding goal within first couple of days of going live.

Crowdfunding Berries by Astrid was the recent biggest milestone in developing the company. One day Astrid Friborg, the CEO & founder of Berries by Astrid wanted to present her unique vendor machine prototype and sample her smoothies based on a carefully developed recipe. Shortly we started to talk about funding her project. Couple days later Astrid launched her crowdfunding campaign on FundedByMe, offering nearly 11% of the company. Few days later she raised all money needed, but the campaign is still open for investors.

It’s so much fun! 90% of those people who  I have never heard about. Some of them declared 50k or even 100k SEK to invest in my company. There are investors outside of Sweden as well. I’m very curious to know how they heard about us and to meet them” – says Astrid  Friborg, CEO & founder of Berries by Astrid

Everything started in 2007. Astrid was doing her Phd in colon cancer on the Lund University, but wanted to get more knowledge in economy and marketing. Attending a full semester programme was impossible, but she found an evening course.

“One of the speakers encouraged us to apply for funding in her VC company and presented a case of a juice bar which was very successful. I thought that prices of renting a shop in a shopping mall are high, you need additionally to hire a staff and there are some wastes in raw materials, as fruits. What about making it simpler? Like a machine that would produce the same quality smoothie but without all this unnecessary things that make it more costly? This idea appeared in my head like a flesh from the clear sky” – explains Astrid.  

However, Astrid didn’t want to develop the idea immediately, but finish her PhD degree first. She graduated in 2009 and got the offer from Stanford University from a professor, and was assisted by a prestigious grant from the Swedish Scientific Council for next 2 years of researches.

“To turn down the offer was a really hard decision. But I have never regretted it.”

The 1st August 2009 she started to work on her machine full time. At the beginning it was pretty tough.

She attended many courses for entrepreneurs to learn as much as possible, but she didn’t have any mentor. Finally in Malmo Astrid met an engineer specialized in building automates for food industry who helped her get on the right track. But the machine has evolved on every step.

When I invited it there was no even word ‘Internet of things’ I just wanted to have some features like possibility for customers to pay with a mobile phone or for me to control the machine from distance.”

Right now all of them are in the prototype, however still some improvements are needed. Money raised in current crowdfunding campaign will be used to implement them and to adjust for mass production.