Follow up on High Heaven; premier on their successful campaign

Follow up on High Heaven; premier on their successful campaign

“It is something exceptionally with entrepreneurs, we are very driven, ambitious and we do what we love!” says Nina Nordling, the person behind High Heaven. A platform for women with focus on adrenaline and to push the female role models forward.

Can you tell about the background story around High Heaven?
Without telling about the background first, what we want to do and are aiming for is to bring more adrenalin to women in the world.

The market in this area today is under-exploited, where women today has a huge interest and high engagement but nowhere to go. I have felt a frustration over this over a very long time now and every different platform that I have joined or had such huge focus on men.

Thats when I decided to do something about it so I did my own research on the market, saw a huge potential. High Heaven is a platform for women with an active lifestyle with focus on adrenaline. The platform is reaching all over the world, you can search on events and on places what and where you want to do.

Katja and Nina

 

When was the burning point when you felt like “This is really something we should do something about”?
When I realized things in the action sports market were evolving too slow. I arranged free motocross track days for girls and women who wanted to try dirt bike riding. No one believed there would be any interest, so I had a hard time getting sponsors. I’ve heard everything from “the pedals will be too far down”, “can they switch gears?”, to “shouldn’t you use small PW 50 bikes instead of big bikes?

Over the years, more than 400 girls joined us, and they all learned how to ride in one day. The idea of creating a digital meetup for women in action sports started forming.

Another time I went to a girls only skate night, when a mother and her daughter came in. They were there for the first time, so the mother asked her daughter what she wanted to try, and her daughter said: “Hmm… Skateboard!” I was so happy to see her stoke, but it quickly turned in to disappointment when the guy behind the counter replied: “I think you should do inlines instead, it’s much easier.”

This really is symptomatic of the issues of the industry: You can’t be what you can’t see! – So when people ask me why High Heaven is needed, I try to help them see the bigger perspective of womens health, of the development of upcoming generations .

Girl skiing

Cool! Is it angled towards girls or only girls that can do these activities?
It is aimed towards girls that are already in to, or just curious about, the active lifestyle of action and adrenaline sports. Anyone can browse all content on the website, regardless of gender, but if you want to join the forum and the conversations, you have to create a profile- and we only allow females in the community. There are plenty of other sites dedicated to men, so no one is left out. The site is completely free to use, and always will be.

 

Have you got more insights during your journey? Did you change something in your plan or communication?When I pitched to investors from Silicon Valley, they completely got the business idea. They saw a very clear niche – and when I explained that over 30 million women aged 15-40, like “action sports” on Facebook, they understood the need for female led and focused businesses in this field.

We thought about bringing hard money on board- But we want to solve social problems with traditional business strategies, and the revenue that we earn must never be gained at the expense of our values, so crowdfunding really made sense to us.

 

Who are you behind High Heaven? You are the one who started it, right?
Yes, I also have a co-founder, Katja Möller who is also CMO with a background in marketing and PR. We have grate help from some of our investors too: We have an awesome Interaction Designer Advisor; Joel Månsson, Economical Advisor; Virve Skullman and Business Advisor Niklas Hall.

We also have ambassadors for each sport, spreading the word and the stoke of cool events and content within their field.

High Heaven team

 

Can you tell us about your journey when you started the company?
When I first got the idea, I took my sketches to my local nyföretagarcentrum, who pushed me to proceed in building a business. Almi helped me out with a innovation grant, so I thought; “Wow, maybe I should really do this?”

I quit my job, started the company and figured the financial part would have to be solved somehow. I was really naive when looking for investments at first. I did not asked for nearly enough money, and the company really wasn’t ready for an investment.

Anyway, the company actually got an investment offer, so we did a due diligence process for many months, but in the end I decided to back out. It just wasn’t a good match, it wasn’t smart money. That might have been the hardest and best decision I’ve made for the company so far.

During that time I had met Catherine from FundedByMe to talk about crowdfunding a couple of times, and about a year later, we launched our crowdfunding equity campaign. When you decide to go in and do a crowdfunding campaign, you have to not only plan and execute the whole thing well, but also take on responsibility towards the investors for the rest of the company’s development . But I have not regretted it once!

crowdfunding pals

It’s really nice of you to share some of your obstacles that you have had, can you also share a tip or two to other entrepreneurs?
I have so many tips! Many people think that a startup is just a few (usually male) friends starting something great from a closet or a garage or whatever, without any funding whatsoever, launch it, make it and then just sell it and become millionaires after the first round. That is far from the truth! In most cases, everything takes twice the time, even tripled the time you had in mind: and most startups fail. But the crowdfunded startups might be better equipped, since the power of the crowd is a mighty thing!

If I had the chance to do everything again, I would not spend so much time chasing money. Easy to say, hard to do when you have bills to pay. Low cost is key. And even if your beta product is not as perfect as you’ve imagine it, get to market anyway! If you aim for your goal and work at it, you will achieve it sooner or later.

 

How do find your energy again?
There is a magic pattern! Every time my energy is low, and I feel like it’s impossible to continue, I get an email, call or comment from someone who says; “High Heaven is such good initiative, I want to help, what can I do?” or “I have been longing for a platform like High Heaven for ages- Where can I sign up?”

If I didn’t have the power of the crowd, girls that are giving me so much support, I would have probably given up a long time ago. But this platform is too important not to launch; for women’s health, girls self-confidence and body image, women’s empowerment, democracy in sports, and so much more. So we will make it happen.

 

How is this a bigger issue than that the platform does not exist?
When one of the world’s most famous skaters Nyjah Huston can get away with stating that: “Some girls can skate, but I personally believe that skateboarding is not for girls at all. Not one bit” – There are some real attitude issues that needs to be addressed.

When a female board sports brand like Roxy, can replace their female founder with a man and launch a campaign video only showing images of a half-naked womans body- We nned to start asking ourselves what message we are sending to the next generation of girls.

At High Heaven we state the the world needs more female role models. Not more bikini models.

 

What do you want to achieve with your platform?
That the community grows so strong that we can’t even keep up!

 

Virtuous Vodka: Swedish organic liquor, ready for a second round!

Virtuous Vodka: Swedish organic liquor, ready for a second round!

We met up with Claes Stenmark to  interview him about Virtuous Vodka. The organic liquor brand had a campaign, 1 year ago, at FundedByMe and got a good head start with developing and taking the product to production. Now it is on the market, ready for a second round campaign and we want to know more about the brand and the values behind it.

Virtuous Vodka
At Kaffeverket

What is Virtuous Vodka and why have you started it?
I do it because the already existing market is basically crap and that there is a business potential to do a better vodka.

What is crap?
A vodka that is flavored with aromas, that is fooling people.

Tell us abut your background, have you worked with liquor before?
The last 10 years I have been working with film, mostly commercials. While I was studying, I worked as a chef, I grew up with food as a big culture in my life. On my mother’s side we have one of the biggest wholesaler in Sweden, so the interest around from food came from birth. It has always been a big part of my life.
I am going to tell a story, when I 5 years old, both my parents were working very hard and they had somewhat bad conscious. They were the first to leave me first at daycare and the last once to pick me up. Since they knew how much I liked food they usually asked; “How was the food today?” a typical answer could be “It was okay but they had forgot the wine in the sauce”

You set the bar by early age I hear! When did you come together with the conclusion of the crappy market and that you had the change it with Virtuous?
I have a Jesus complex, I want to make things better. During these 10 years of working with the restaurant area, the improvement has been really good there. Higher standards, demands of better ingredients of food, so why should I concur with that? I want to concur with people that makes products bad and I have seasoned my own liquor in 15 years and one day I asked myself: “Wait a minute, isn’t this something people might be ready for?”

Virtuous Vodka Liquor
6 different tastes

How is it to work with liquor here in Sweden?
Its a disaster and very bad conditions. Its mostly the big companies that has the benefits and one of the big issue is to get it out on the market here in Sweden. Its much more easier to get it out in Czech Republic, for example. It is a bit difficult but we have succeed!

In how many Systembolag (the swedish alcohol monopoly) do you exists in today?
Last time I checked I think it was in 36 stores. What I really wish for is a Systembolag that want to invest in quality products. Since Systembolaget doesnt really sell, they only store it on their shelves, until someone wants to buy it, it is not really an evolving enviroment for products like liquor.

I can imagine that must be frustrating, how is the distribution abroad?
We do exist abroad, in germany, italy and holland for example, and we are currently talking to different importers the get the product out there. The goal is nothing else but world domination.

Who are you behind the brand? Who are working with it?
It is me and my brother in law that started it. There are also 5-7 more people that puts in their hours to it when they can. We have our own production in Nynäshamn so any extra hands there or serve Virtuous during an event.

How have you come up with all the flavours to the vodka?
Most of them I have done for a while, on my own. New flavours is just ideas and testing a lot.

When did you decide to choose crowdfunding, can you tell about that journey?
Basically, we chose it because it’s very difficult to get out on the Swedish market with an alcohol product, there are so many obstacles, 1: Systembolaget 2: You are not allowed to do marketing for liquor.
We saw crowdfunding as a good way of reaching out to people and the initial idea was to have a party  as the final. We met up with Daniel, Arno and Cathrine. They told us then; “Wait, we are launching equity crowdfunding very soon, and we want your campaign on board” Which sounded really cool, because then we would reach both finance and ambassadeurs for the product. Hopefully, that will also make the partners very rich. We have to wait and see. its a part of the world domination.

What more has it given you to do crowdfunding?
I believe in the distribution of ownership. It also provides a larger network of contacts and access to many areas of expertise.

The history of entrepreneurship, what is your background in that?
I dont know what a employed is. I have never had that in my life and I will probably never be that either. As I mentioned earlier, I have done movies and projects and have a desire to do things to improve the world. For me, that doesn’t or can’t include employment.
I have the energy and the wanting to spread a better taste experience. If I also think in the business perspective, it is much more scaleable with a consumer product than a service business. I think it’s more fun to work towards a consumer market than the business market. Be able to load your business with other core values ​​are also more inspiring.

Can you tell us about organic liquor? What defines your vodka as organic?
This means that we use certified organic crops, no use of pesticides that the nature can not handle. Playing with biodiversity is something that is very dangerous. If you use pesticides to remove small insects that destroys it for the birds that are higher up the food chain. I want to contribute and prove that for a few bucks extra, you get a much better product that also tastes better.

Virtuous Vodka Liquor

Is it hard to produce organic liquor?
It is easier to get conventional food, but I dont see it as a big problem.

What is the biggest challenge now to get people to try your product?
People must know about us if they dont then you wont try our products. We have to tell people also why you want to purchase those extra money for a good product.
We are working with marketing such as facebook, advertising, events and get restaurants to use our product.

Unfortunately, we can not advertise. Beer and wine can it is easier. We want to sell first and foremost on our taste, it’s fake-free and genuine. So far we have produced about 23,000 bottles.

How many bottles do you need to drink to become an expert of liquor?
Not that many, since the market is so bad right now, I would say that you have went through most of them if you have tried a few.

 

Indie Bars got new energy through crowdfunding

Indie Bars got new energy through crowdfunding

We met up with the founders of Indie Bars for a talk about energy, cranberries and the importance of hanging out at the right pool. 

We are curious about how the idea of Indie Bars was born. What’s the history behind?

Olle: I have a background in triathlon and have tested a lot of energy bars through the years. There are many alternatives out there but I experienced problems with the ones I used. I didn’t get enough energy from it, even though I tried them all – from gels to bars. In the spring of 2013 I got the idea to produce something on my own, since I like to baking and being around the kitchen. I started using it on my own and found it worked really well for me, so I started giving it to my friends at the pool after training to see their response. That’s how I met Mikaela.

Mika: I found out about Olles idea and thought “My god, is he gonna run this by himself?” Got really interested in the concept since I’m a nutritionist. I asked straight out if he wanted a co-founder. And he did!

Olle: Absolutely! We started developing the bars together. It was important that they were going to be organic and totally free from gluten and lactose, as well as vegan. They were supposed to taste good and be made for people that workout. Those were the main principles that we based our product development on.

 

What’s the biggest problem with the products out there today? Why are they not good enough?

Olle: Many of these energy bars contain synthetic products. They are not built on organic ingredients like dried fruit or nuts and contain many additives. I am careful of what I eat normally, but when you work out you are expected to consume all these synthetic products, and it feels strange.

Mika: When you do conditioned sports it is important that you get a lot of energy, it’s not like running 30 minutes and you can eat like you normally would. You have to eat energy in some way. One of our main goals was to make a really tasty product, which we think most of the bars today are not.

Indie bars_FundedByMe try_indie bars

Often it can be hard to know what’s in the energy products you’re eating. How transparent are you with the ingredients?

Mika: We are very transparent and write all the ingredients. We only use natural ingredients, so there’s nothing we can write with other names. All natural products, such as fruit sugar, together with the packaging, will make them durable for a whole year.

Olle: Many other brands want to highlight something special, that you get extra energy because it contains a special ingredient, like caffeine or amino acids. We see it as when you do training you need energy, not a magical ingredient that make you super strong. If you eat good raw materials you get good energy to be able to perform good effective training. That’s why we call our products Wipeout and Breakaway to connect to sports. We dont want to call it “Blueberry Bliss”, something that focuses only in the ingredient. We want to focus on the activity and the practise.

 

I like the name, Indie Bars, how did you come up with that?

Mika: In the beginning, when Olle started, he called it Aloha Bars. An inspiration from triathlon, Hawaii and Ironman. We got problem with the trademark rights so in the end we chose Indie Bars, to communicate the feeling of independent, small scale and locally produced.

10620968_895345320493632_1051558619_n

How do you work together? Good sides and bad sides?

Mika: We are both very energetic and develop a lot of ideas so we have to stop ourselves sometimes.

Olle: We have made most of the work together, from baking and experimenting with new tastes, to labeling hundred of bars, being at exhibitions and competitions, you name it. We complete each other very well.

 

How has your experience been with entrepreneurship?

Mika: When I asked Olle if he needed a co-founder I already had my mind set to work hard, and I have done it since. I had no previous experience with entrepreneurship but I’m very targeted, so when we decided to go it was all in.

Olle: The journey to develop a product and started to sell it is very long, and showed to be longer and more complicated than I had imagined when starting out. It’s one thing to bake 20 bars at the time in your moms kitchen, but to do it in bigger scale as a whole another, regarding keeping the taste, consistency and deliveries. You learn a lot.

 

What milestones have you had?

Mika: I’d say when we met our supplier in England, that made me feel this is for real.

Olle: We can’t say too much about that though, it’s a bit like the batman cave, we can’t reveal everything. I have to say the campaign with you, FundedByMe, was a lot of fun. We got a receipt that people believe in the product and actually do contribute. It’s one thing when people say it’s a fun product but now people actually funded the idea. That’s a lot of fun!

 

How did you come up with ingredients for a product like this?

Olle: You hang out a lot in Coop, Östgötagatan and Skanstulls Hälsokost. We have experimented with ingredients to find our own unique taste with the ingredients we like the most. It was a whole lot of experimenting and counting back and forth, you know “add some more cranberries there”. Some got really good, some didn’t work at all.

Mika: Product development takes time. Our goal is to have the best bars on the market so we spent a lot of time to get the right taste with all the components we wanted. Further tastes are planned.

IMG_0514

What’s the next step?

Mika: Product development is there all the time, which is crucial in a market like this. Our main goal now is sales. It’s a challenge to get enough money on sales that you can actually invest more in the company. First thing we are looking into is the packaging of the product, to get a real package instead of a sticker.

Olle: It’s like Mika says, now we got capital from FundedByMe and athletes are getting in touch with us spontaneously to corporate. The same with sports clubs and stores. A lot of people want to corporate which is super exciting. In the meantime we have to get the product out to the market.

 

How did you find FundedByMe?

Mika: Both me and Olle are very social and hang out with the target group. That helps to market and spread the word.

Olle: I had read about projects that were made possible through crowdfunding. I heard about Flippin’ Burgers and how it was a part of their story that they were funded by friends, family and early supporters. I started looking and found FundedByMe and realised it works with our product, to have the reward based option. It’s not only for funding but also good for marketing and to tell the story about the bars and ourselves. Mika hasn’t revealed it yet but she is a really successful triathlete. She won the swedish championship this summer and is joining the national team now. Thats a huge part of the story.

 

Do you have any tips to other people that want to crowdfund?

Olle: Have a clear product that people can grasp and fits the type of campaign. Work with several types of communication channels, hang out with the people you are reaching out to and always bring your product with you.

 

Have you had any rough periods and how do you find the energy to come back?

Mika: There’s always new problems occurring. For every problem we solve there’s new coming up. I think thats what it’s like for every startup in all industries. You have to build all relations from scratch, you have to work with everything. We dont have any consultants. We do everything on our own. It’s a challenge but very satisfactory when you manage to solve the problems.

Olle: You learn that you cant be clear enough when you communicate with different operators. In the beginning of the summer we had a situation where we had prepared everything, from stickers to ingredients and is ready to push the button, when a supplier made a last minute call and said their product is not organic. It’s a test of your patience but with creativity you find your way around it. You have to like challenges. Finally, thank you FundedByMe for helping us make this happen.

indie bars_logo

Stor-Jobal från Krokjala: A Comic book waiting to be released through crowdfunding.

Stor-Jobal från Krokjala: A Comic book waiting to be released through crowdfunding.

Meet Emil Maxén, a freelance illustrator, who previously worked with the music artist Avicii, the swedish Julkalendern (Christmas calendar) “Barnen Hedenhös”, and now he is launching a campaign to crowdfund his upcoming comic book.

Tell us a bit about yourself, for start, where did you grow up and what was your dream back then?
I grew up outside of Sundsvall in Timrå.And my dream was pretty much what I am doing today. But I thought  it was a bigger thing to be an illustrator, being a like a rockstar, but you would draw stuff. Everyone would recognize me as a genius.

When did you start to draw then?
I remember trying to get better in college, really trying to make an effort to improve. I also remember when we were kids, we tried to draw the coolest monster or pretended to draw a portrait of each other and the drawing never turned out as we thought. I was never the best guy at drawing, but I think I had the most fun. That has been what has kept me going.

Why did you want to improve your drawing skills?
I imagined that I was the prodigy of everything, just as when I was little, I had so much fun with it so I thought everyone else would think the same. I could imagine a lot of sketches in my mind, and then I had to make them come alive into real sketches. I could had a picture of the guy with the perfect sword, then I practiced on drawing different kind of swords and armor, so I had all the details. I knew exactly which one I had imagined.

What tools do you use?
I use a lot of sketch books. I keep them everywhere, in the car, by the bed, incase you get flash of genius and then you start drawing in the middle of the night. Then you usually wake up and realize it wasn’t the best idea. But I had to make it anyway. So I sketch a lot. I shared a room when i was l younger, my table was a pillow in my lap and I only drew with graphite then, I rarely used colors, I have learned that afterwards. Today I use Photoshop and  water colors now and then.

Emil Maxen Stor-Jobal Campaign

Do you do this for living?
Yes, I sketch storyboards, posters and I make concept art.

When did you have your breakthrough?
I decided to freelance when I was working for a company in Stockholm. I did not find  the working conditions good enough for me. So I moved back to Sundsvall, because I really like it here. And I decided to go back to Stockholm when I heard that the company I was working for made a deal to make special effects for julkalendern (Christmas calendar), 2013. I was not supposed to know that but I was tight we the director and he wanted me to make storyboards for special effect scenes. I got to work with SFI (Svensk Filmindustri) and got big responsibility for crucial design parts and I got great feedback. Then I thought, maybe I know what I am doing? I felt really confident and decided to move back and started to do this, freelancing.

What would you say is the biggest impact, the drawing has made in your life?
It helped me in my imagination of how it would be, the life of illustrator. I blow up a perfect picture in my mind and its not like that. And its good, because its easy to create something in your head of how things are suppose to be, like moving to Stockholm also. The same is with this campaign at FundedByMe that I am running now. You open and close doors, and now, this has opened a door to my world.

This is a perfect transition, tell us more about Stor-Jobal? Who is he?
He a is half-troll, unaware of it, an outcast, and lives on plundering abandoned houses. Stor-Jobal tries to find his place in society, but its hard for him. The environment is based on Norrland, where I come from. There is a lot of empty houses on the countryside, people have moved into the city. Its the same scenario in this comic book, but it takes place in the 1800’s. One day when plundering, he comes across a special bag, that can fit anything you put in it. Thats when the story really begins.

Do you see yourself in him?
Yes! Not the stealing but I love to make practical jokes, just like Stor-Jobal does. He is like an overgrown child.

How would you describe your style?
Its a mix between legendary Swedish illustrators like Per Åhlin, who has made Dunderklumpen. And I wanted to make a more realistic and dark version of it and have influences from Sven Nordqvist. With a gritty but very fresh color scheme, he puts so much detail – it’s fantastic. Then I blended that with franco belgian comics. I love that culture.

How do you handle a tough period? When you have no inspiration?
This project has taken quite some time, and when it comes to writing, I have had periods when I feel blocked. To constantly come up with new ideas to the plot. And I think its because of the pressure also, that I have to deliver. A good inspiring video from the illustrator, Stephen Silver, about “how to become more creative” gave me a lot more energy again.

How come you chose crowdfunding, did you know about it before?
I knew about crowdfunding, mostly Kickstarter, but it was for the american audience. Then I found FundedByMe and saw my opportunity to create a campaign. Now I realize how much work it is to put in a campaign and a comic. Because I have the idea, I am the director, and the designer. So I have to draw and write everything. You have three jobs at the same time. It s super exciting and I got a lot of more support, a lot more likes on the Facebook page. People has really responded and its a great learning experience. Now I have to attract bigger audience, I have been active and posted in forums but its hard.

Do you have any other goals, except for a successful campaign?
Its around 32 days left now on my 45 days campaign and if everyone who supports me, if they donate the smallest amount it would be cool to get 1000 euros. I just reached 300 fans on facebook, its big for me since i never released anything.

What is next project?
I would really would like to go to book conventions when the book is released, try to get a translation, reach Europe, have it in german, spanish and english.

 

Nerdy by Nerds – Entrepreneur Q&A with Peter Arneryd

Nerdy by Nerds – Entrepreneur Q&A with Peter Arneryd

Peter Arneryd from Nerdy by Nerds Jeans on FundedByMe

Introduce yourself – what is your background, what are you passionate about and what are your hopes and dreams? 

My name is Peter and I am from Malmö Limhamn in Sweden and I am part of the founding team of the Swedish jeans brand, Nerdy by Nerds Jeans. I have always been interested in quality clothes so when I was younger I used to study the history of every garment I was buying. My dream has always been to create something that other people would want to use or be a part of. I simply want to be a inspirational person and a role model and with NBN we are able to bring back solid craftsmanship to the world of fashion – in Sweden and beyond.

 

How did the idea for your project come about? Describe what your project does.

We loved clothes and we wanted to work in the fashion industry in some way. The easiest way was – and is – to open up a webshop, but we didn’t want it to be easy. We wanted to create something that we could call ours so we could be hundred percent proud of those product we would be selling. We loved the history of clothes and jeans, of course. There was this moment where my business partners and I realised that we wanted to create our own jeans produced in the old-fashioned way. When we started to produce our jeans we came up with the idea that all our customers should be a part of the production. So this lead us to the idea of how our store would look like – in our stores we want our customers to be able to see, hear, smell, and participate in the production process. Each pair of Nerdy by Nerds jeans is unique and traceable, so that you will always be able to tell when and where they were made.

Nerdy by Nerds factory shop

Why did you decide on crowdfunding? What about FundedByMe appealed to you?

Before we have heard about FundedByMe had we discussed the idea of doing a crowdfunding round on Kickstarter, the largest reward-based platform in the US. But we met the team from FundedByMe at a regional event here in Sweden and, with our goal of attracting the Swedish market, the fastest-growing crowdfunding site in Europe seemed perfect. On top of everything, the passion and energy of the FundedByMe team was great, which made ​​the decision a lot easier.

 

What was the best part about running a campaign on FundedByMe? And what was a challenge?

Doing a crowdfunding round is very special. it’s like starting a new company where everything you do has to be focused on the crowdfunding campaign. Before we went live, we thought that crowdfunding would fix itself. That was not the case, every hour of the day one of us spent on our crowdfunding campaign on FundedByMe. It took a lot of time – even more than you could ever imagine!

Even if crowdfunding is an online investment platform you still have to be out there in the real world to meet people. We almost lived in Stockholm for two months to meet potential investors. One of the difficult parts of crowdfunding is getting to the actual money. People find it easy to subscribe that they want to invest, but when it comes to paying and transferring the money, it is harder.

The best thing about crowdfunding is all the partners we got to know along the way. Many of our investors want to help us with PR, photo, film, music and much more, which is incredibly fun. Another great thing is the marketing and brand exposure you get with a really awesome campaign. We have been featured in pretty much every morning paper in all of Sweden. Importantly, you shouldn’t forget that all of our investors are also our biggest ambassadors. They are talking, wearing and spreading the news about Nerdy by Nerds Jeans out there. That is priceless.

Nerdy by Nerds founding team

Would you recommend other entrepreneurs to consider crowdfunding – and FundedByMe – for their financing needs? Why? Any tips or advice to those considering it?

I would absolutely recommend crowdfunding and FundedByMe to other entrepreneurs. The combination of investments and marketing makes for an amazing part of the the next phase in business. The best tip is to spend many hours on planning your marketing strategy before you roll out your campaign. And then, once you are actually on the platform, to take the time to be very active – be in touch with your investors, answer questions, be out there promoting your brand. It takes a lot of time and energy to get the best result, but it is absolutely worth it in the end.

 

Now that your crowdfunding campaign has closed, what’s next?

We recently opened our first shopfactory in Malmö, our hometown. The next step is to take NBN to Stockholm and opening up a shopfactory there as well. Our brand is going places – watch this space!

Nerdy by Nerds on FundedByMeView the Nerdy by Nerds campaign on FundedByMe here.

 

Meet Danish Entrepreneur Karsten Vandrup

Meet Danish Entrepreneur Karsten Vandrup

Danish Entrepreneur Karsten VandrupDanish Entrepreneur Karsten Vandrup is currently working hard to spread the word about the crowdfunding campaign on FundedByMe for his third startup, Water Surveillance. We caught up with him to ask him about his thoughts on crowdfunding as an alternative source of finance for a seasoned entrepreneur as himself.

Introduce yourself – what is your background, what are you passionate about and what are your hopes and dreams?

My name is Karsten Vandrup, CEO of Water Surveillance, and experienced entrepreneur. In fact, Water Surveillance is my 3rd start-up, with two successful companies still in operation.

I hold a degree in engineering EE from the Technical University of Denmark, supplemented by studies at UCLA, Insead and Hanken. My experience is basically from larger corporations in Denmark, Finland and the US, specifically Nokia and Litepoint.

In my spare time, I teach ‘Strategic Innovation Management’ at Riga Business School. Whenever I can, I go sailing, fishing and enjoy outdoor life and nature. When I get old enough, I’ll sail around the world, discovering the rest of the world too.

 

How did the idea for your project come about? Describe what your project does.

Our corporate basement in Denmark was flooded during the great autumn storms of 2011. Our corporate headquarters is located high above sea level and our landlord told us that this was the first flooding of the basements since the house was built over 30 years ago. Since we had already been working on sensor electronics and cloud services for a number of years, we decided to look into this huge market opportunity.

Water Surveillance is a classical mature business case, solving an increasing problem for many people using new state-of-the-art technology, and we have spent a serious amount of time analyzing the market and the opportunities, testing our solution in real cases with real customers. In my opinion, this makes Water Surveillance a very good and safe investment.

As we unveiled the business case to the market, we realized that a product like our WS Pro-One was in huge demand among Damage Control Companies, who need to be more efficient and to comply with new demands from their customers, and so far direct competition does not exist.

 

Why did you decide on crowdfunding? What about FundedByMe appealed to you?FundedByMe brings a unique combination of capital and network across our main markets – Scandinavia and Western Europe. By teaming up with the knowledgeable community of FundedByMe, we expect to “hit the ground running” with lots of ambassadors for our technology spread out over Europe. We like the idea of the ‘Crowd’ too, and how the world starts to take care of essential problems via the Internet, and bypass the traditional sources. Examples are micro-loans, crowd sourcing, crowdfunding, etc. In Water Surveillance, we work with traditional investors and structural funds, however inviting other investors too via FundedByMe.

 

What is the best part about running a campaign on FundedByMe? And what is a challenge?

Its great to already have so many supporters from all over Europe (and even USA and China), even though we haven’t formally started our campaign (we are still in pre-round). The challenge is – as always – to get the word out to all the right people. We believe to have a fantastic business model – but it may not sound as “sexy” as some of the consumer projects that are out there, though we believe it’s a great investment opportunity.

 

Would you recommend other entrepreneurs to consider crowdfunding – and FundedByMe – for their financing needs? Why? Any tips or advice to those considering it?

Yes, absolutely, it’s a great way to kickstart your business. Unlike the traditional beaten path of seeking capital through VCs, the crowdfunding process forces you to connect with a community of real people from day 1. It’s very important that you take an open approach to the community from the start. Make sure you get enough marketing traction and talk-factor and remember that crowdfunding is a lot of work. But it’s so rewarding at the same time!

Classic crowdfunding entrepreneur Q&A – Viktor Hertz

We love Viktor Hertz’ colourful poster designs – and he’s a passionate classic crowdfunder too! After launching two successful classic crowdfunding projects on the FundedByMe platform, Viktor is a bit of a professional when it comes to crowdfunding – particular for creatives and artists. We caught up with Viktor to ask him how classic crowdfunding has impacted his projects.

Pictogram rock posters by Viktor Hertz

Introduce yourself – what is your background, what are you passionate about and what are your hopes and dreams?

My name is Viktor Hertz and I’m 30 years old, just moved to Stockholm from Uppsala where I was born. I started doing graphic design a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to be able to make a living out of it after a while. I’ve been doing freelance work and personal projects since 2011 so it’s a great privilege to be able to do what you love for a living. I’m very passionate about graphic design and art (of course), but also film and music – basically everything that makes life a bit more colourful and fun!

I have lots of ideas and dream about realizing as many of them as possible – not only graphics and art, but also film and music. I hope that I can continue working as a freelancer and tackle more personal projects at the same time. It’s really a great combination, doing both commissioned work with deadlines and specific tasks, and make personal stuff with no restrictions whatsoever.

Viktor Hertz is a classic crowdfunding entrepreneur on FundedByMe

How did the idea for your project come about? Describe what your project does.

My ‘Pictogram Rock Posters Project’ was a personal poster project, which started with me creating the Rolling Stones poster as a request from a friend of mine. Then I made seven more of them, picking eight of the most prominent and well-known rock artists and bands of our time. I made little pictogram symbols for as many songs I could come up with, and there is a total of about 233 different pictograms altogether.

I also created the ‘Personal Artworks Project’, which was immense fun and, again, a personal mission.

 

Viktor Hertz' Rolling Stones Poster for Classic Crowdfunding campaign on FundedByMe

Why did you decide on crowdfunding? What about FundedByMe appealed to you?

I think it’s a perfect way to fund your project (in my case, printing off-set prints of my posters) with no risks involved, not for me nor the backers. It’s a great way to promote your work and get to know how the public receives your idea and if there’s any interest in purchasing it. FundedByMe was a natural choice as the perfect classic crowdfunding platform for me, since it’s Swedish and already has a great platform and crowdfunding – both classic and equity – are starting to be well-known concepts amongst people.

 

What was the best part about running a campaign on FundedByMe? And what was a challenge?

The best part was probably to read all the comments and feedback and getting more backers than I expected, of course! It was truly exciting to follow the project once I published it, and receiving emails every time someone backed my project.

If I had to label anything as a challenge, it would probably be organizing all the backers and their addresses and different pledges in a good way. This was of course a pleasant problem, since it was overwhelming to know that so many people wanted to buy my posters!

Viktor Hertz' Personal Artwork Project on Classic Crowdfunding platform FundedByMe

Would you recommend other entrepreneurs to consider crowdfunding – and FundedByMe – for their financing needs? Why? Any tips or advice to those considering it?

I would totally recommend this way of financing your project, whatever the idea or product might be. Again, it’s a great (and safe) way to test your idea on the public, and avoiding any financial setbacks. Not only do you get financial support, you also get direct feedback, which really helps – both for the current project and future ones.

Keep your idea and presentation as simple as possible…It really should be crystal clear what you are offering from reading one or two sentences in the preview tagline. Try to put the different pledge levels at reasonable rates, and make it worth it for someone to actually open their wallet and support your project. Always think of it from the possible customer’s point of view- “would I buy this, or invest in this project?”

Also, be as responsive as possible – reply to people’s questions and emails, even if it takes time. I think the personal connection between the entrepreneur and the backer / investor is crucial and really takes it to another level – I got emails from my backers, saying this was a great part of backing the project and being part of the process. This is something I’ll really try to emphasize in my next project, letting people go “behind the scenes” and take part of the development in the process.

Viktor Hertz' Bruce Springsteen poster on FundedByMe's Classic Crowdfunding platform

Now that your crowdfunding campaign has closed, what’s next?

Currently, I’m working on a new art project, which I’m actually planning to crowdfund! I’m really excited about this project, and I can’t wait to publish it, I’m really looking forward to see people’s reactions. So, keep an eye on FundedByMe this summer…hope to see you there!

You can view Viktor’s full Pictogram Rock Posters project on FundedByMe here: http://fundedbyme.com/projects/1135/pictogram-rock-posters/