Crowdfunding is a hot topic these days. Hundreds of crowdfunding startups have surfaced over the last few months, patiently waiting as the Securities and Exchange Commission takes their sweet time figuring out regulations.
While crowdfunding is nothing new, the JOBSAct passed last year which will allow people to crowdfund startups for an equity stake without the normal regulations around venture capital and angel investing. Startups will be able to use this form of crowdfunding as a vehicle for up to $1 million dollars in funding, just as soon as the SEC defines the regulations.
This waiting period has put some crowdfunding startups on ice, while others have found ways around regulations without allowing startups to actually give up equity. In some cases prize packs, swag, and other gifts are donated by the company in exchange for someone’s backing. Other times it’s just about feel good donations.
CrowdCusp is a Washington DC based crowdfunding startup that has already started crowdfunding, sans the equity stake.
We got a chance to talk to the team behind CrowdCusp. Check out the interview below.
What is CrowdCusp?
Crowdcusp is an online Crowdfunding platform where small businesses, entrepreneurs and non-profits can list their Pitches to raise funding. Our platform is also setup to allow startups and those in the idea stages of their organization to secure funding.
In layman’s terms, how does it work?
For a small business, start-up, non-profit or entrepreneur with an idea, they come to our site and register. For convenience, all who register are initially registered as funders. In turn, those who register can apply to have their pitch listed on our site. They submit a pitch by filling out a simple form after logging in. Once their Pitch is approved, they will have additional options from which to choose to manage their Pitch.
When their pitch is approved and goes live, they should also actively promote it to their network of family and friends in addition to benefiting from the exposure that our site already gets. We make this easy by offering share widgets for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter on the live Pitches. Our platform aggregates and facilitates the entire Crowdfunding process and has different reporting metrics to keep track of it all.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Jason Moore is a co-founder with over 12 years of IT, online marketing and entrepreneurial experience. He has worked in the past for Fortune 500 companies such as Kraft Foods, Inc and also a high-technology e-commerce company Oracle ATG.Dr. Dexter Moore I is an investor/co-founder who brings over 30 years of experience as an innovator of various technologies within the bio-physical chemistry field. His work in the education field makes him a valuable contributor to the team.
Where are you based?
We are based in Northwest Washington, DC
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
Washington, DC is host to a multitude of startups and budding businesses. We are continually amazed at the number of startups that we see sprouting up in the area.
How did you come up with the idea for Crowdcusp?
After searching for an existing Crowdfunding platform that would meet our own personal business needs, we came to the realization that there were not many Crowdfunding opportunities specifically catering to small businesses and start-ups on the Internet. We saw an opportunity to establish a new service that would cater to that business demographic.
How did you come up with the name?
We were looking for something simple, short and easy to remember. We also wanted a name that would be easy to spell. The name Crowdcusp was ultimately chosen because it means to us an area (point) where a crowd of individuals meet to fund something.
What problem does Crowdcusp solve?
Crowdcusp solves the fundraising problem that businesses or other entities might encounter when trying to raise funding from some of the more traditional sources like banks, VCs or other types of loans and sources.
What’s your secret sauce?
Our secret sauce is a dedication to 110% customer service and a strong focus on our members. We value our members and like to stay engaged with them. We also value their input and make every effort to incorporate that into what we have to offer.
What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?
One issue that we consistently encounter is those businesses or entrepreneurs who want to list Pitches on our site offering equity in exchange for funding. Although we would like to offer such Pitches, it currently is not legal within the United States. We therefore have to deny those types of Pitches on our site. Depending on the rules that the SEC writes as early as next year, we might offer those types of Pitches.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Finding the best IT team to create our platform was a huge challenge in the beginning. After one or two false starts with a couple of firms, we finally found a vendor who exceeded our expectations both visually and technologically.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
When business role models come to mind, Steve Jobs is a pioneer who is immediately thought of. What he did for Apple was remarkable. We also look at other large Internet companies and their successes and failures (like Facebook) and try to learn from them. We continually measure ourselves through member feedback and looking at other successful businesses and strive for excellence in all that we do.
What’s next for Crowdcusp?
Crowdcusp aims to become the biggest name in Crowdfunding for businesses, start-ups, non-profits and entrepreneurs. ?Nough said!
Where can people find out more?
People can find out more by logging on to Crowdcusp at www.crowdcusp.com