Traditionally if you wanted to start a business, you saved, begged, borrowed or stole money to fund your enterprise. If you have collateral you go to a bank or Small Business Bureau. If you have friends or family they might invest in your business and help it grow. Today aside from Shark Tank and Dragons Den, West Texas Investment Club, Cleveland Hustles, Restaurant Startup or any other reality shows you have more options today to make it work and find money.
2017 was a good year for the optical entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. While Crowd-Sourcing in general went down other forms of funding went up.
Crowd-sourcing: Crowd-sourcing is a medium for the public to give input or funds to launch a new brand, a product or even an idea. Some companies ‘crowd-source’ an idea by reaching out to their employees or the public. Budding entrepeneurs can also crowd-source and reach out to the public for funds to support them in launching or growing a business. Donations can be from $1.00. and up. The public decides whether or not they want to support them. Usually there is some type of reward for investment, but NO investment in the company.
Mar 7, 2017 – … of daily disposable contact lenses, Hubble, has raised $16.5 million in … Hubble, has raised $16.5 million in a new round of venture funding
Angel Investors (AKA-business angel, informal investor, angelfunder, private investor, or seed investor) are usually a person or company who provides money for a start up or growth. Normally they do this in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt.
Venture Capital (VC) is financing usually in millions that provided by companies to small or emerging firms, that they deem have big growth potential.
We put together a list of Top Crowd-Sourcing Platforms to consider for the type of product you have to offer.
General Crowd-Sourcing The following sites are popular with all type of products or ideas. They cater to the general public. They also have the most ‘optical’ related products on their sites
1.) Kickstarter is one of the best known crowd-sourcing platform for multitudes of projects. Research to wearable tech. B- Corporate certified. Most of the eyewear and sunglasses we have seen have been through either Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The site is international and just launched in Japan.
2.) Indiegogo: The other best known site and one that we see most of the eyewear and sunglasses on. They have a distinct advantage is because they offer Flexible Funding, which means you get to keep the funds you raised — even if you didn’t reach your goal.
3.) Patreon– A different type of platform that is subscription based. This is great for those who do not have a lot of money upfront or would rather support an entrepreneur on a monthly basis. Seems to be more Creative based. For instance a comedy routine under sunglasses or the Sunglasses at Pixel Studios.
4.) Ulule was launched in 2010 and based in Paris, Montréal, Barcelona, Rome and Antwerp. Very international platform for all type of projects. They are B-Corp certified. In the search for optical products we found several old Sunglass Campaigns.
Creative Arts Crowdsourcing: Want to write a book, do a comedy act, make an album, fund a film one of these sites is for you.
5.) PledgeMusic: We have seen music and movies on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo and most of Patreon is creative. This site is for music only.
6.) Seed&Spark: A site for raising funds for movies only.
Charity Sites: You can run funding on almost any site, but these sites are focussed on Charities or Giving Back.
7.) Razoo is a cause related site. Launched in 2006, You will see mission trips and eyecare on this site.
8.) Crowdrise- Another site for charity fundraising
9.) Give – This is a different type of Crowd-sourcing site. This is a plug-in on WordPress that allows you to give back or make a donation. There are no fees for this. If you have a WordPress website or blog and have a cause such as Optometry Giving Site or any cause.
10.) Charitable is another WordPress plug-in that allows you to donate.
11.) Kiva: This is site is one that believes in the teach them how to fish concept. You loan money to various micro business around the world. Loans start at $25.00. Kiva is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, California.
12.) GoFundMe: you have probably had friends use this platform for weddings or medical expenses or even a new pair of glasses. My nephew used it to adopt a child.
13.) GoGetFunding will let you raise funds for any cause, personal or not. The site is arranged by category and country which makes it an interesting browse.
14.) Appbackr -Want to launch and app? This is the site to check out.
15.) Crowd Supply: Another Tech crowd Sourcing Site of which I do not have a clue what half the products are, just I know we probably all need them
Research: Many research projects are also funded via the other sites, but if you have the burning curiosity to do your own research, you can check out:
16.) Experiment– ‘Funds the wave of next scientific research.’
Venture Capital and Angel Investor Sites: If you need big bucks, like launching a subscription service, medical device, augmented reality device, wearable technology, software and a few others and need hundreds or millions of $$$, you might be better off going the Angel Investor route.
Simple Contacts launched later that year, and quickly raised $2 million. Today, the company announced it has added another $8 million in Series A funding. Goodwater Capital led the round, and was joined by Justin Kan, Notation Capital, Autonomous Ventures, and Steven Cohen
17.) Crowdfunder: This site you can sell equity and debt to raise money. Appeals to Angel Investors and VC to your company.
18.) Crowdcube: European based crowdfunding platform
19.) RocketHub– This an interesting site as it helps the entrepreneur find venture capitalist through seekers their ELEQUITY Funding Room. There is also resources on their site for running and promoting a business. Good site to find out more about crowdsourcing and running a business in general.
20.) Lending Club is just what it says, it lends money and investors get a return on their investment.
21,) Funding Circle is another lending sites. will give up to $50,000 in personal and business loans (interest rates start at 5.49 percent)
A startup out of Spain called Saldum Ventures has raised $56 million (€50 million) to build out Hawkers, a new, digital-first, vertically integrated sunglasses business that wants to take on the big brands of the industry like Ray-Ban, Oakley and more.
As you can see there are many options available. Be warned it is NOT easy and you have to have your ducks in a row and know your numbers no matter what platform you choose to use.