Stormfors Digital Agency on the crowdfunding creative process

Stormfors Digital Agency - the key to crowdfunding success

A while back FundedByMe was faced with a brand identity. We had grown fast and the brand needed a new identity. Our in-house team started looking for the right partner to help us identify the right crowdfunding creative process, tighten the screws and create a brand that would build trust, excite our crowd and help entrepreneurs find their audiences. We decided to partner with Stormfors, one of Stockholm’s leading digital agencies, and the result blew us away. We asked Stormfors to share their process with you. Below you’ll find an interview with the team from Stormfors – and be sure to view their beautiful presentation of the crowdfunding creative process here.

The industry of crowdfunding has grown exponentially since its inception, largely thanks to the viral power of storytelling. People have become experts in ignoring ads and banners.

But when commercial messages are woven into a story, you just can’t help getting sucked in.

Crowdfunding stories are even more relatable thanks to their inspiring and ambitious David and Goliath nature and because you can actively become a part of creating the story’s happy ending. The basic principles of storytelling success can be harnessed in all online communication.

The Stockholm-based digital agency Stormfors have successfully turned their business offer into storytelling, with interactive, in-depth case studies. These case studies vividly illustrate the process of how Stormfors are strengthening their clients digital brands. Click below to see an example and learn how Stormfors boosted FundedByMe.

Stormfors crowdfunding creative process

Guest blog by Synch – a legal perspective

Guest blog by Synch – a legal perspective

Lately, equity crowdfunding has emerged as a real and important alternative for growth companies to ensure access to the capital necessary to realize the business idea. This is of course an attractive option as the entrepreneur, in addition to funding, often gets a whole bunch of ambassadors, in the form of shareholders, who will spread the word in their networks.

It is, however, important that the entrepreneur takes a moment to evaluate how a crowdfunding can be structured to be as successful as possible to the entrepreneur, incumbent shareholders and the new investors. Such questions include:

Ownership structure: It may be tempting to keep the cap table as clean as possible by having the crowd investors exercising their ownership through shares in a SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle), e.g. a company with shares in the entrepreneur’s company as its only asset. This can facilitate the management of the company, i.a. by having a shareholders’ agreement with the SPV rather than each crowd investor. It shall thus be considered that the SPV as such must be administered and managed, and that the procedure for the investors’ to realize the proceeds from their investment is more complicated than when the shares are held directly in the entrepreneur’s company.

Influence: All shareholders have fundamental rights and influence in a Swedish limited liability company, but the entrepreneur often wants to maintain control over critical decisions for the business. A common solution is to allot series B-shares, with less voting power, to the crowd investors. The entrepreneur should also consider whether the crowd investors should be entitled to representation in the board of directors, to safeguard their interests in relation to the majority owners.

IR: Likely even more important than formal influence, is the fact that an informed shareholder can be expected to be a happy shareholder. The company should take into account that shareholder relations will take management time and ensure that it has the resources for this.

Exit strategy: A successful company will eventually be subject to some sort of exit. When structuring a crowdfunding campaign, the company should take into account the consequences in different exit scenarios.

At Synch, we assist companies in these and other legal and strategic questions in connection with a crowdfunding campaign. We would gladly meet up to tell you more. For further information, please contact Oskar Belani, oskar.belani@synchlaw.se or +46 (0)76 176 19 15.

Grant Thornton and crowdfunding platform FundedByMe enter partnership

Grant Thornton and crowdfunding platform FundedByMe enter partnership

Crowdfunding – when companies turn to a crowd of investors to fund projects or ideas – is growing rapidly. Now, auditing and consulting firm Grant Thornton in Sweden partners with the crowdfunding platform, FundedByMe, with more than 50,000 investors in over 160 countries. The success stories include – among many others – Berries by Astrid, Virtuos Vodka and Isbjörn of Sweden.

The purpose of the partnership for Grant Thornton and FundedByMe is to develop entrepreneurship and support companies in their startup phases. For Grant Thornton this primarily means offering valuation services to entrepreneurs, hence facilitating for entrepreneurs and investors to connect and close deals at the right level.

– We believe that FundedByMe’s digital service is completely in tune with the times and that crowdfunding will continue to grow fast, both in Sweden and internationally and especially among young entrepreneurs. We are happy that through this partnership, we are able to support Swedish entrepreneurs in need of funding and thereby contribute to growth, says Carl-Johan Regell, authorized accountant and partner at Grant Thornton Sweden.

We realized several years ago that we wanted to partner with big, established players in the market, in order to develop crowdfunding in the sharing economy. We feel that Grant Thornton, just like FundedByMe, operates in the spirit of companies with increasing growth, and with the right focus for the entrepreneurs and companies who turn to us. We are very happy to announce this partnership and we see Grant Thornton Sweden as a strong partner for the exciting journey that lies ahead, says Daniel Daboczy, founder and CEO of FundedByMe.

The partnership begins with advisors from Grant Thornton participating in different activities, which FundedByMe arranges for investors and entrepreneurs this fall. After that, the companies will draw advantage of their respective networks to help entrepreneurs grow.

Grant Thornton already supports well-known entrepreneurial sponsorships and networks, such as DiGasell, Founders Alliance, YEoS and SUP46.

For more information, contact:

Lisbeth Larsson, Head of Communications, Grant Thornton

T: 0708-21 71 56, 08-563 071 56

E: lisbeth.larsson@se.gt.com

Twitter: @GT:_LisLar

www.grantthornton.se/press

Twitter:@GrantThorntonSE

Lena Flykt Rosén, Head of Partnerships, FundedByMe

T: +46702-86 66 12

Email: lena@fundedbyme.com

www.fundedbyme.com

About Grant Thornton Sweden

Grant Thornton Sweden is one of the fastest growing audit and consulting firms in Sweden. With more than1100 employees and 23 offices, the company is an independently owned and managed member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd. The member firms provide audit, tax and advisory advices.

Grant Thornton” refers to the brand under which the Grant Thornton member firms provide assurance, tax and advisory services to their clients and/or refers to one or more member firms, as the context requires. Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL) and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. GTIL and each member firm is a separate legal entity. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL does not provide services to clients. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions

About FundedByMe
FundedByMe is a leading international player in crowdfunding through equity, loan or reward. The company has successfully funded hundreds of companies from 25 countries. The members represent a rapidly growing network of more than 57,000 investors from over 160 countries. FundedByMe with headquarters in Sweden has a presence in countries around Europe and in Singapore.

Meet Partner BusinessInFact

BusinessInFact

Introduce your brand – what makes your brand unique and relevant to the FundedByMe audience?

BusinessInFact is an open Business Angels Network, spends much time in investors´ training in order to be fully competent to select projects and decide their investment strategy. BIF invest in well developed, lean focused, scalable projects.

What is your background, passions and ‘day job’?

A success career in business development, nine business projects started up. Work with investors and as investor since 2002. Fully dedicated to mentor entrepreneurs and training new business angels.

BusinessInFact

How did your brand first get familiar with crowdfunding and why does it appeal to you?

Our network needs complementary sources of capital to complete the investment rounds and afford to invest in more projects. Crowdfunding can be an appropriate way to get this goal.

Describe the scope of the partnership you have entered into with FundedByMe? What made you want to get involved?

BIF will publish in FBM its projects in investment round process to complement the equity of our Business Angels. Those projects are well developed and potentially rentable, selected by our investors.

What do you expect to get out of this partnership on the long run?

Increase our investment activity in Spanish projects, diversify our equity and afford to more projects.

BusinessInFact

What is the most important tip you’d give investors and entrepreneurs who are considering crowdfunding as a way to fund their businesses or ideas?

Entrepreneurs find an adequate new source for funding their projects. Non professional newcomer investors access to investment opportunities validated by experience investors and experts.

Are there any current campaigns on FundedByMe that you have your eyes on?

We’ll focused in our own projects campaigns.

FundedByMe Partner – Johan Tydén from Bird and Bird

FundedByMe Partner – Johan Tydén from Bird and Bird

A company operating in as many territories as FundedByMe needs excellent legal council and we have been fortunate enough to find just that in our legal partner, Bird and Bird. I caught up with Partner Johan Tydén recently:
Johan Tydén - Bird and Bird
Introduce your brand – what makes your brand unique and relevant to the FundedByMe audience?
Bird and Bird is a law firm with a focus on what we call emerging companies, i.e. early stage companies with a clear strategy to grow. We have the competence, the experience and the PASSION about supporting these companies as long term partners, not only in Sweden but also on an international basis, as we do for FundedByMe.

What is your background, passions and ‘day job’?
My name is Johan Tydén and I have spent most of my career working with international technology companies. I was heading the legal support to Ericsson’s mobile business in the late 80’s to 2000 when the business grew from 1 billion SEK to a 100 billion SEK business, which of course was an extremely interesting period. Since 2000, I have been partner at Bird and Bird, primarily focusing on technology companies and in particular on emerging companies with an ambitious strategy of growth. To work with emerging companies and act as a proactive advisor during their journies to success, in Sweden and internationally, is fascinating and extremely rewarding.

How did your brand first get familiar with crowdfunding and why does it appeal to you?
We were introduced to Daniel at FundedByMe in connection with the SIME event last year. As we had experienced, very concretely, that one of the most challenging parts of the evolution of a start-up company is the funding and we were fascinated by this alternative way of funding. Furthermore I was amazed of how the funding and entrance of a larger number of investors could constitute a part of the company’s marketing and branding strategies. We were, of course, further thrilled by the scalability of the business model to an international environment.

Describe the scope of the partnership you have entered into with FundedByMe? What made you want to get involved?
As always when you meet entrepreneurs, you try to evaluate the business case but perhaps even more importantly, the entrepreneurs behind the idea. We felt that if we could in any way participate and hopefully contribute to FundedByMe’s development, it would be fantastic. Further, we identified it as an excellent opportunity for Bird and Bird to come closer to interesting companies and entrepreneurs and hopefully be able to follow them as well in the future. We have since April this year been FundedByMe’s preferred law firm and have provided advise in more than 10 countries to the ever-expanding team.

What do you expect to get out of this partnership on the long run?
We hope to be able to follow FundedByMe in its expansion and to have the opportunity to actively participate in the brand’s crowdfunding activities, with entrepreneurs and investors, in each local market. This may create good business, valuable branding and certainly be great fun.

What is the most important tip you’d give investors and entrepreneurs who are considering crowdfunding as a way to fund their businesses or ideas?
From the entrepreneur’s side, I think it is important to set an agenda for the crowdfunding process, both short term and longer term. Why are we doing this? (i) Attract capital (ii) create brand awareness or (iii) access a marketing network or (iv) a combination of all three. Evaluate the possible negative features, for example the complexity with a larger number of investors. From the investor’s side, the flip side on the coin. Why? (i) Pure investment (ii) part of social entrepreneurship or (iii) promotion of a product/service.

Are there any current campaigns on FundedByMe that you have your eyes on?
I love the Reward-based campaign “Get Mathias to Brussels” and actively followed the Equity Campaign “Eggs Inc. Sweden AB”. These are two good examples of the diversity of the campaigns and two brands that probably would be difficult to fund outside the realm of crowdfunding.

The new FundedByMe brand – an interview with Stormfors

The new FundedByMe brand – an interview with Stormfors

In July 2013 the FundedByMe team selected one of Stockholm’s leading digital design agencies, Stormfors, to help us recreate the FundedByMe brand. The result is launched today – barely five months later! Stormfors helped us to merge the Reward-based and Equity platforms, offering investors and entrepreneurs a better browsing, uploading and supporting experience. Additionally, we have unified our brand, sharpened our logo and rolled out the same brand look and feel across all our platforms. I caught up with Stormfors co-founder Petter Plöjel to get his take on the new FundedByMe brand.

Petter Plojel Stormfors

Introduce us to Stormfors – what makes your brand unique and relevant to the FundedByMe audience? 

Stormfors is a Digital Agency that challenges the way companies communicate today. We are in the midst of a complete social transformation and the entire industry of communication has been flipped on its head. Information and dialog (the web) is now central in company communication and attention (advertising) has become a subordinate service.

That’s why we believe the overall communication strategy should come from digital agencies and that’s why we are rebuilding the entire value chain of the agency industry. With the powerful combo of strategy and digital communication we help clients like Neonode, Ericsson and Centuri challenge the competition and become globally successful brands.

Stormfors logo

Introduce yourself – what is your background, passions and ‘day job’?

I’m Petter, (pronounced like better but with a P 😉 ) and I started out studying design and communication strategy in Copenhagen. Since my graduation I have founded three companies within the communication business, the most recent being Stormfors, which I co-founded with Fredric Örup and Eric Langenskiöld in 2010. My passion is bringing change through innovative communication and at Stormfors I’m responsible for the strategy and design areas.

The Stormfors team behind the FundedByMe project included Fredric Örup, Petter Plöjel, Felix Winqvist and Fabian Rios.

Stormfors Team

How did you first get familiar with FundedByMe and why does FundedByMe and crowdfunding appeal to you?

We went to a lot of entrepreneur meetups where we first heard of FundedByMe in 2011. Being big fans of the change that crowdfunding brings to the entrepreneurial scene, we instantly liked the FundedByMe concept and especially their will to change the market even more by making equity crowdfunding available to everyday individuals.

A great thing about crowdfunding (in comparison to VC/Angel funding) is that the primary target groups (innovators/early adopters) evaluate your ideas on the spot when deciding whether to back your campaign or not.

 

Describe the scope of the brief you received from FundedByMe? What were the biggest challenges?

We really enjoy complex communication challenges and the one we got from FundedByMe was a proper whale of a challenge! It really tested the best in our skills.

The overall goal was to unite the two platforms (Equity and Reward-based) into one with a common structure and navigation flow that felt intuitive – to both entrepreneurs and investors. To manifest the evolutionary change and ensure brand consistency we created a new unitary graphic profile and web design that reflect the vision, market position and core values of FundedByMe.

 

How did you set about fixing these challenges? Describe the design process.

We worked really close with the FundedByMe team in workshops to fully grasp what they wanted to achieve and to truly understand the challenges involved with their business model and services. The first part of the design process consisted of creating the structure and navigation flow. We laid out all parts of the two platforms on our largest table (it’s huge) and started to strip, consolidate and develop the functions and contents. Then we let the two main target groups test the different solutions we’ve come up with to help us identify the right one.

The second part of the design process was creating the graphic profile and web design. This work is all about transforming the idea and feeling of the brand into a tangible design – crossing the chasm between abstract and concrete. The process is fully electrochemical and takes place in the brain of our ultra skilled designer Felix.

 

What does the new FundedByMe brand embody? What does it communicate?

FundedByMe as an organisation – and thus brand – is very much vibrant and alive. At the same time it must convey trust and growth because as a crowdfunding platform the brand is responsible for thoughts and emotions around money, ideas and dreams. So one of the goals of the design solution was to communicate these, almost opposite, values.

In the project presentation details we wanted to create a feeling of value and credibility so we used patterns to deliver a subtle feeling of old bonds and cheques.

FundedByMe Logo

How do you feel about the final result?

The process in itself was a trip. In the beginning it’s pure joy and dedication to understanding everything. After that there’s a phase where after deep diving into the challenges you tear your hair out and everything appears disturbingly chaotic…and that’s when it all starts taking shape and you come out on the other side with an idea of a possible solution. Great fun!

So now we are really excited to see the KPIs and how much impact the new platform and design solution have on conversions like projects and investments relative to the number of visitors.