Last week myself and nine other people became Founder Institute graduates from the Sydney Spring 2012 accelerator program, which is no small feat considering that we started with 28 people in the program. These past four months have been intense, and you no doubt consider me crazy and hare brained as I’ve seemingly been pitching a different idea every couple of weeks…
Fear not, there is method in the madness! The point of talking to people about an idea is to test it; the ideas we initially think are amazing don’t always survive rigour, research and feedback; the trick is to move on, investigate new ideas, until you find the right one.
And “The One” I finally got to is Village Raised – crowdfunding for schools.
Our graduation evening was interesting as we reconnected with past mentors and participants, updated them on our progress, and reflected on our journey. My idea has changed the most dramatically, as I’ve gone through about six different iterations – from wanting to help filmmakers with marketing to now helping schools with fundraising – and it was interesting to explain to people the steps that got me from one place to the other. While I still have a lot of work to do – this is only the beginning - it is amazing to see how much has been accomplished in such a short period of time.
Progress since I last blogged here:
- Developed a Minimum Viable Product
- Incorporated business, & registered Village Raised as a business name.
- Customer development
- Market research
- Marketing strategy
- Business model & Financial forecasting
- Set up Village Raised blog
- Created emailing list
- Social media accounts: Facebook page, 340 twitter followers, Youtube for when I need it.
- Increased my pitch scores from 2s to 4s
- Gained advice from many of the best start-up industry leaders
- Have first ‘customer’ school confirmed to run crowdfunding campaign beginning of next year
- Web design.
- Development tweaks and additional features.
- First school crowdfunding campaign (Feb/March 2013).
Early next year will run at least three initial crowdfunding campaigns on the platform, across each school sector (public, independent, and catholic), and then use these case studies to:
- Use learning to refine and develop features.
- Present successful case studies to organisations and conferences that influence school fundraising decisions to gain more users.
- Create a best practice how-to-guide for schools to follow when crowdfunding, to improve their chance of success.
- Seek a Tech Co-Founder.
- Seek investment for further development to allow the platform and business to scale for use by more people.
If you know any schools or parents’ associations that would be interested in trying a new way to fundraise online, please let them know about Village Raised.