Career on Wheels – AddSeat

Career on Wheels – AddSeat

“AddMovement has built an innovative and strong business helping people with disabilities to live a more mobile life. Now we are aiming for an international expansion”

– Marit Sundin, CEO AddMovement

The number of people in the EU using wheelchairs on a daily basis sums up to 7.6 million. However, technological improvements within the industry are needed. Marit Sundin, CEO of AddMovement, has created AddSeat – improving the life quality for people sitting in wheelchairs. FundedByMe is honored to participate in Marit’s success story – now being live as a loan campaign on FundedByMe. Check it out here!

Marit, how long have you been working with AddMovement and what have you done earlier? 

I have developed AddMovement since 2011. Before that, I have been working in the industry with a number of innovative projects. Since I have been using a traditional wheelchair since the age of three, I have daily been reinventing current solutions in order for me to become more mobile. Looking for solutions allowing me to be more efficient in all situations, everything from sports to carrying my children, have made me an expert. In other words, I have really explored the market and now I have successfully filled a market gap.

What are your plans for the company after the campaign closing? 

My plan is to take the company to the next level by successfully accomplish our development plans – to continue being a leading product on the market, both in Sweden and on the international arena, and still maintain an efficient balance sheet.

One thing I have learnt from working with AddMovement is that business innovation combined with passion for what you do is the foundation for having a stable development. The funding will help us to reach an executive audience at the events, reaching out to people who would benefit from using the AddSeat.

Recently, we have been overwhelmed with international requests for our product and we are still in the process of identifying new markets. Our international customers have shared valuable thoughts regarding special adjustments that would improve our product. For that reason, we also want to be able to use the funding towards implementing these changes. As a result, we would be able to offer more extensive product flexibility and mobility to our customers.

What are the biggest challenges with AddMovement right now? 

The biggest challenge is to convince people to make the investment of buying the AddSeat. There is no doubt about customers wanting the product, the problem lies within taking the financial step to invest in it.

There is a huge difference between Sweden and other countries. Sweden has a very safe social system where people with disabilities are given equipment for daily usage. Unfortunately, my product still falls under the category for leisure, meaning that it is not yet subsidized.

However, in other countries people are more willing to invest in products like ours, this due to the fact that they are not used to subsidized products within this area. We have taken many steps to convince authorities to change the categorization of our product. We strongly believe that the product has what is required for this change to be made. When reaching that goal, the Swedish market will expand enormously.

Have you received any external funding so far from other sources?

Yes, “Almi”, which is a Swedish Agency helping businesses in their creation process, has provided us with start capital.

Your loan campaign just went live – what is the plan for the next 45 days? 

We have many meetings planned with potential lenders and journalists. We are in contact with Dagens Industri and Dagens Nyheter to proudly tell people what we have accomplished. We want to make sure that people, today using wheelchairs, will be informed about how AddMovement can improve their daily life.

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What are your expectations on this process? 

Primarily, I want to spread the word about AddMovement and the knowledge about AddSeat internationally – both to individual buyers, but also broaden the knowledge to big companies. In addition, I am very excited about receiving loans since it will enable me and AddMovement to do more and reach the goals I am striving for. Crowdfunding is more than funding, it brings you ambassadors and spreads the word about the business. The campaign has been live on FundedByMe for three days now, and many people have already now shown their interest. Crowdfunding can help me reach my goal!

You have won many awards – tell us some more! Did any of them make you especially proud?  

In 2014, I became the Swedish Female Innovator of the year, which was a great milestone for me, since I have put lot of effort into making my ideas into a company. I got a lot of publicity and some commitments followed, which of course has been very fun. Also, now in September ”Tekniska Museet” in Stockholm will have an exhibition for children to be inspired to create and innovate. AddMovement and the AddSeat will be presented at the exhibition which I am both proud and excited about. It shows that any has the possibility to change our society a little bit and it encourages people to take the next step into making it real.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Equity Campaign: Lovetagged – A matchmaking service through Facebook

Equity Campaign: Lovetagged – A matchmaking service through Facebook

We have interviewed Christian Majgaard at the Copenhagen Crowdfunding Meetup and asked him about his crowdfunding campaign Lovetagged on FundedByMe. 

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Tell us a little about Lovetagged, what is it?
I call Lovetagged a killer app, because no one has done this before. We have made a tool for matchmaking your friends’ friends on Facebook.

Why do you see a potential in this field?
The dating market is a 4 billion$ industry and growing, we believe we can disrupt the market by introducing real people in the matching process by targeting Facebook users and their friends friends.

Based on stasticis the average facebook users each have 300 friends in average, and these friends will have another 300 friends – that makes 90000 friends that could be matched. These matches will be sorted by gender, relationship status, age and so on. However statically we will end up with at least 1000 matches, this is a huge potential.
I know there is a lot of matchmakers out there. People do it naturally, because they believe it is rewarding, and we want to give them the tools to do it. This is what Lovetagged aims to do.

How did the idea come to life?
The idea about Lovetagged started about 10 month ago at my brothers wedding in Poland. At the wedding I met my brothers bestman, a nice polish man called Lucasz. The funny story about Luckasz is that he is not in anyway my brother’s best friend; but he is the guy who introduced him to his wife. Luckasz had arranged a blind date for my brother and his wife and was very proud of his achievement in matching a date that ended in a marriage. This inspired me to make a tool that allows users to more formally match their friends for dates.

What is your business model?
The app is live on Facebook and it is free for everyone. We are currently testing different business models. First of all we need to get people into Lovetagged. Some people will do it because they derive satisfaction from matching friends for dates. Others might need another encouragement. Thus we built the app around gamification. By matching your friends you earn points, these points can be translated into deals and offers sponsored by our partners. We believe there is a potential with this way of advertising for partners and we offer a broad range of sponsor options.

Another model would be let users pay for their friend’s matches. A match would come at a small fee e.g. EUR1 to activate the chat function. We are also looking at offering premium models, where paying members can have access to add-on tools like: search, notifications upon status change, messages etc.

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How is Lovetagged different from other dating sites?
Lovetagged is in a blue ocean, meaning we are one of the first to do what we are doing. Traditional dating sites offer tech driven and untrustworthy matches based on algorithms. We only conduct matching made by people and high trust. Meanwhile other platforms have been infamous for being time consuming, expensive and inaccurate.

We can compete with the big platforms instantly as we don’t need the same critical masses. Using Facebook friends for matching, all our users are in theory one critical mass. We have talked to many single people who are tired of traditional platforms and welcome this service.

What will you use the money for?
We have already launched our app on Facebook, and have users. We are at the moment looking at developing an app for mobile, tablets, adding a premium functions and more partnerships.

The most important priority is marketing and that is where we will be spending our money. Marketing is also the reason why we selected crowdfunding and FundedByMe as a way to raise funds. We want to include investors as ambassadors for the brand and welcome their inputs. Ideas from investors and dating experts is gold. Hopefully we close our crowdfunding round soon, and launch with immense strength and reach.

What have you received from the crowd?
We have received a lot of constructive advice from the crowd. People are sending good ideas and feedback. A Swedish psychologist has contacted us, he has been very interested in Lovetagged since he has finished a research about happiness, proving that people derive happiness from matchmaking. Other people have helped us with marketing advice and so on. It means so much to us to have these people in our network. And we are already looking forward working together in the future.