Before Boston-based Perfect Fuel Chocolate arrived on Indiegogo, they had already met growing success with their first product — Endurance Chocolate with Ginseng. Their founding mission: To introduce chocolate as a healthy snack and viable fuel for active minds and bodies. With this concept catching on and their product rolling out in Whole Foods across Massachusetts, the Perfect Fuel team turned to crowdfunding to grow their nascent business:
They hoped to raise $15,000 to cover the ingredients and manufacturing of three new flavors — Organic Coffee, Organic Chia, and Sea Salt. The results of their campaign were impressive — 434 contributors helped them raise nearly $17,000, and their high gogofactor landed them on the Indiegogo homepage, in our newsletter, and on our social media channels as a Campaign of the Day.
Though entrepreneurs often use Indiegogo to raise seed money for a business idea, Perfect Fuel is a great example of how a pre-existing business can use crowdfunding to scale up their operations. It’s not unlike receiving an investment from venture capital or elsewhere — and in place of equity, existing customers and brand fans get a greater supply and/or diversity of the products they love.
Not only is Perfect Fuel an example of this concept, but they are also a great example of campaign execution. Wanting to know more about how this well organized campaign hit its goal, I spoke with Perfect Fuel founder and CEO, Nicolas Warren, about his business, his crowdfunding strategies, and his Indiegogo experience:
What was the state of your business before your crowdfunding campaign?
We were operating with just 2 people and only in 50 stores, including all of the Whole Foods Markets in the North Atlantic. We had only our own money in the company and tons of requests from our customers for new products.
What went into your decision to use crowdfunding? Why Indiegogo?
We knew that we have a network of our own to support us and who believed in us and we were confident that our healthy and sustainable fuel was a product that the public could really get behind. We approached Indiegogo because of it’s popularity among mission-driven and progressive causes and felt that the fit was right. We’d heard of Indiegogo from our friends’ campaigns that we’d supported in the past.
Can you take me through some of your marketing planning and execution for your campaign?
Here are the bullets:
BEFORE THE CAMPAIGN:
We planned a party to launch the campaign, set it up with computers for people to use to support and provided free food and cash bar.
We notified people ahead of time that one was coming and to please plan to support us.
We designed and printed handouts to put around the city, in local hot spots, and hand to people at all of our athletic events.
We prepared a list of bloggers we could approach and request their coverage of the campaign in their blog.
We set goals of 50-100 people to ask INDIVIDUALLY AND PERSONALLY for their contribution and to share the cause with another 2 friends.
DURING THE CAMPAIGN:
We updated the campaign every few days.
We made announcements and direct requests through social media daily
We contacted friends and family directly by phone and email. INDIVIDUALLY AND PERSONALLY.
We adjusted our Perks due to requests and lack of interest in some.
We produced a couple additional funny videos and syndicated them through social media.
And at the end we threw another closing party to make sure nobody missed out of the fun.
What were some non-monetary benefits of crowdfunding for your business?
We structured the perks in such a way that we were able to let the perks act as a very powerful survey and see which Fuels (Flavors) our customers would actually put money behind [i.e. market research]. The campaign forced us to be more disciplined about our social media and our PR and develop a ton of new relationships with a very supportive community. The awareness around Boston as “the guys on Indiegogo with that healthy chocolate” was nice to hear passed around.
How have you implemented the funds you raised?
We have used the funds to support the production process and are still working to produce the new Fuels in the next couple months. We can’t wait to show our gratitude for the support!
What’s your best piece of advice for future crowdfunding entrepreneurs?
Take High Quality Video, High Quality Photos, and use BRUTE FORCE through efficient forms of communication.
What’s next for Perfect Fuel?
We’ve had some setbacks in production but we’re not far away from producing the next products that we’ll need to make the company profitable. Thanks for all your help!
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