6 Fundraising Tips for Your New Business


Every emergent business needs a source of capital. Regardless of the nature of your business idea, this capital has to come from somewhere. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to find funding for an early-stage company.

For guidance specific to your company’s needs and growth trajectory, you’ll of course want to speak with a seasoned business coach, accountant or financial advisor before proceeding. However, these six tips to generate or secure funding for your nascent company are broadly applicable and can definitely give you a leg up regardless of your near-term objectives and overarching vision.

1. Tap Liquid Savings

Although roughly half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, the other half have at least some financial breathing room.

If you’re part of the second camp, look to your personal savings as a source of startup financing. This is a great way to show future investors that you believe in your business idea. The fact that you’ve personally invested in your company before seeking external funding sources is a vote of confidence for many angel investors and venture capitalists.

2. Stay Lean for Longer

As an entrepreneur, it’s always in your best interest to carefully watch the bottom line. Successful business owners use every available tactic to control costs and remain lean, stretching their startup resources farther.

“As a young entrepreneur, staying lean was very important to me,” says entrepreneur George Otte. “My approach to business allowed me to grow on my own terms and strengthened my enterprise during its critical early years.”

By following in Otte’s footsteps, you can wait longer to seek external funding. When the time finally does come to pitch investors on your idea, you’ll be in a stronger financial position.

3. Borrow Against Home or Retirement Equity

If you have substantial equity in your home or a sizable balance in a tax-advantaged retirement account, you can borrow startup capital at lower rates than those afforded by unsecured loans, credit cards, and traditional lenders such as banks.

Contrary to popular belief, borrowing from a retirement account is possible while preserving your scheme’s tax advantages.

“There are provisions in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and IRS tax codes that enable people to invest retirement savings in a business if they are active employees in the company,” says business expert Erik Sherman.

In other words, as long as you play a day to day role in your startup’s operations, you can borrow from your retirement savings without incurring a tax penalty.

4. Seek Support from Your Friends and Family

Friends and family members are great sources of “patient capital.” In other words, they may be willing to wait years or even decades to realize returns on their investments. “Patient capital” is the first source of external funding sought by many entrepreneurs.

5. Run a Crowdfunding Campaign

If you have a novel idea that you think consumers will really love, build a crowdfunding campaign around it. Crowdfunding allows you to raise money at relatively low cost without giving away equity in your company or paying interest over time.

6. Apply for Grants and Prizes

No matter what your company does, it’s likely eligible for grants from industry associations, local government agencies, or entrepreneur-oriented nonprofits. It might also be a worthy contestant in startup competitions that promise cash prizes to winners and runners-up. Even if you don’t win, you’ll learn a lot from mentors and fellow contestants.

EP19: Shane Liddel From SmartCrowdfunding On How To Have A Great Campaign

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First off CEO of Smart Crowdfunding Shane Liddel explains important factors in having a successful campaign. Then we here a live pitch for the X-Stand, and Monica Selby talks about Nashville Faith and Work Summit.

Crowdfunding Pitch Show EP8: David Wilson Pitches Jamblaster

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In this pitch episode David Wilson pitches their amazing new product the Jamblaster, that allows play music with others live in sync remotely, record pro quality audio, broadcast video performances, teach/take online lessons & more! You can even do live Youtube broadcasts with multiple camera angles, all through Jamblaster.

Check out their campaign here after listening to the pitch!

Special Episode: Smart Crowdfunding & Clickable Prototypes

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In this special Thanksgiving episode Shane Liddell CEO of Smart Crowdfunding tell his story helping 100’s of startups have successful campaigns, and Kenn Palm, CEO of Pilgrim Consulting talks about entrepreneurship, investing, and how clickable prototypes are essential for tech startups.

EP16: John Lee Dumas Pitches The Freedom Journal, Then Pitch Of The Dokiwatch For Kids

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Entrepreneur on Fire Host John Lee Dumas pitches his new journal for startups, and we hear a great pitch of the Dokiwatch for kids!

Crowdentials Makes It Easier to Crowdfund Investors

There’s been a lot of chatter about the April 5 signing of the JOBS Act. Most people in the startup community are especially excited about the possibility of offering equity via crowdfunding platforms.

What many have missed in all the exultation is that, while it’s easier to offer equity, the standards for investors have risen. It’s now more difficult and invasive to prove you’re an accredited investor, but companies have to take “reasonable steps” to ensure their investors are accredited. This means more intrusive questions that few investors are willing to answer.

As Richard Rodman, CEO of Crowdentials, puts it: “There are two sides to this ruling. On one side, the bar for advertising has been lowered. On the flip side, the bar for verifying accredited investors has been raised dramatically.

Crowdentials is on top of the new problem. This week they launched the Certified Accredited Investors (CAI) program. The program will use a simple form and third parties to verify that an investor is accredited. After that, they will certify that the investor is accredited. No need for every crowdfunding platform to have access to your bank statements or tax records. The program is secured by multiple passwords, randomly generated IDs, and pages that expire within a certain amount of time.

“Transparency with privacy” is the goal of the new program.

Crowdfunding platforms that expect a big need can license the technology based on monthly requests. Individual companies can use the service just once or twice for a smaller fee.

Crowdentials is accelerating at the new FlashStarts accelerator in Cleveland. Investors, crowdfunding platforms, and statups can check out the new program on their website. Below is an infographic explaining how it all works.




A Green Record Label and A Pedal Powered Recording Studio [interview][onespark]

Florida Green Records, Bicycle Powered recording studio,startup,onespark
Florida Green Records is an incredible green record label. The record label operates two brick and mortar recording studios, one in Jacksonville and one in Key Largo.

At both recording studios, they try and be as green as possible through efforts like using digital recording versus pressing CDs, they use environmentally friendly paper and try and conserve energy. Now they’ve taken their green efforts a step further by creating a mobile recording studio that is powered by a bicycle.  The mechanism for converting the bicycle energy into usable energy for the studio is able to attach to anyone’s bicycle.

Florida Green Records’ mobile recording studio is complete with computers running pro-tools, an isolation booth that can accommodate vocalists, guitar players and even a drum kit, and a working air conditioner that operates off of ice water. To power the studio someone rides a bike, and their power system, designed by the team at Florida Green Records, stores the energy in old UPS batteries. The batteries can run the studio for up to 3 hours, with the AC going.

floridagreenrecords-bikeWhile we stayed away from saying what our favorite creation at OneSpark, the World’s Crowdfunding Festival, was, the pedal powered recording studio is definitely in our top 3.

floridagreenrecords3Throughout the five day festival Florida Green Records recorded some of the musical creators for free, and of course it was all powered by the bike.  They also encouraged folks to bring their bikes out and help power the recording sessions.

Check out our video interview and a quick walk through of the studio in the video below.

Check out Florida Green Records here

Keep up with all our OneSpark coverage here!


In The Wake Of The Boston Marathon Bombings Paul Graham Turned To Watsi, And Then Took His First Board Seat On Their Board

Watsi,YCombinator,Paul Graham,Startup

Chase Adam founder of Watsi (photo: Jim Wilson/New York Times)

Y Combinator founder Paul Graham is a busy man. Based on the West Coast, when America’s hearts turned to the Boston Marathon bombings, his did as well. Being so far away there wasn’t much he could do to help the situation in Boston so he turned to Watsi.

Graham tweeted on Monday “When terrible things happen to people I can’t help, I go to watsi.org and help people I can”.

grahamtweetWatsi is a crowdfunding platform that allows users to connect with patients with real serious needs for low cost medical care and enables users to fund high impact treatments.

For example the Watsi home page shows Eliazar a young Guatemalan man who had to have his right arm amputated after gang members threw a grenade into his home. For just $650 he can get a prosthetic device that will help him perform simple daily tasks that are impossible at the moment. He is just $205 away from that goal.

Currently Eliazar is the only fundraising patient on the site, to date they’ve funded over 300 patients and helped them get their much needed medical attention.  Now you can see why Graham would choose such a service to actually help people.

It was this revolutionary new concept in crowdfunding for social good that motivated Graham to invite the founders out to Silicon Valley for a meeting and then invite them into Y-Combinator as the accelerator’s first ever non-profit startup.

Like many Silicon Valley power players, Graham is a very busy man. He enjoys helping and nurturing the startups that are in the YC program and serves as a “father figure” to many of them, well beyond their YC days. He’s known for going to bat for his startups with other power players in the investment community, like the ever so famous Paul Graham, Fred Wilson debate over Airbnb.

grahamtweet2While many power player’s resumes include laundry lists of board seats that they serve on, until now Graham has never taken a board seat.   Just like Watsi was the first ever non-profit in the Y-Combinator program, it was also the first startup that Graham has ever decided to take a board seat on.

Graham will now provide guidance to the young company that money can’t even buy.  With that in mind you also have to consider the fact that this is a non-profit so Graham can’t expect a large return, if any at all.

For decades, heart wrenching commercials have shown up on the TV urging people to sponsor kids in foreign countries for education, clothing and food. For just $.25 a day you can make a difference. While those programs are great, most people receive a photo in the mail of one kid and aren’t clear on where their money actually went. With Watsi it’s very clear. Of course they are also vetting the patients’ stories as well to make sure the money goes in the right place.

With all that’s going on in the world today, this is just a great story to share on a Sunday. Share it below!


Meet OneSpark Creator: BoneShaker, Really I Just Thought He Was Cool

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There is no way that I can spin this into a startup story,except for the fact that Ron “BoneShaker” Schroer, is participating in OneSpark, the World’s Crowdfunding Festival.
Schroer spent many years working in animatronics, designing and creating Disney like animatronics for theme parks, and interactive exhibits for kids. The lifelong Jacksonville resident heard about the OneSpark festival and had to be part of it.

“There has been nothing like OneSpark before in Jacksonville and I wanted to create something for it”, Schroer harnessed his creative brain and his experience in animatronics and started to think about what to create. He had a ton of old fencing on his property so he proceeded to create “Ol Fence”.

“So I looked into my cupboard to see what I might bring. Thinking about how to incorporate my many Florida experiences, I realized how integral to the southern image is fencing- weathered wood, rolling and undulating, almost alive with personality- and thus was born Ol’ Fence- folk art meets process control. Ol’ Fence has 40 individual motions that can be combined for a wide range of actions. His ‘speech’ is created live with a talking drum, bowed and struck.” Schroer said in his OneSpark creator bio.

Combine all that with the fact that Florida probably has the most animatronics per capita of any state in the US, and you’ve got a match that is very creative, eye catching and perfect for OneSpark.

Kids passing through the Jacksonville Public Library where Ol’ Fence is on exhibit, are taking pictures with him in droves. Schroer has even opened up the back side of Ol’ Fence to show passerbys how the animatronics works.

He also has a work in progress on display, a time machine of sorts.

Schroer’s enthusiasm for the OneSpark event is infectious and it echoes what many Jacksonville residents have expressed about the inaugural festival since we’ve been on the ground here on Wednesday. Schroer has been reminding people to sign up and vote. He doesn’t care if he wins or not but he wants to see as many people as possible vote for something, to show how much of the community supports the event.

See more awesome Creators and OneSpark stories here at nibletz.com

After 24 Hours Local Music Discovery Statup Aurora Is The Biggest Mover At OneSpark

Aurora,OneSpark,OneSpark standings,crowdfunding,vote

Angel Ayala Torres pitches Aurora At OneSpark (photo NMI 2013)

At 5:30pm the OneSpark staff took to the stage at Hemming Plaza and announced the biggest movers in the voting for OneSpark creators. Creators come in four categories; Art, Science, Music and Technology, with a fifth category for “other”.

Besides the biggest movers OneSpark had another huge announcement and that was that 20,000 people came out on Wednesday night for the opening ceremonies and entertainment district as part of “The World’s Crowdfunding Festival”.

464 creators are registered to receive the crowds votes and here’s the biggest movers after the first 24 hours.


3. 20 Murals
2. One Wall
1. Rethreaded



3. Girls Rock Jacksonville
2. Elestial Sound
1. Fathomsphere



3. Kona School
2. One Food Park Project
1. Tiger Trail


3. Nerdular
2. The Forge
1. Aurora


3. Live for today foundation
2. Five and Dime
1. 123 Fresh

We’ve got more incredible OneSpark coverage here at nibletz.com

Interview With OneSpark Creator Burro Bags [video][onespark]

Burro Bags,Jacksonville startup,creator,OneSparkWe ran into Amanda from Burro Bags, who’s OneSpark project was set up at the Jacksonville Landing plaza. Burro Bags has been in business manufacturing bicycle accessories and messenger bags for the past five years.

Now though, they’ve introduced a new line called Impakt. With this line they are taking used promotional items and upcycling them into a variety of products. You’ll find handbags, messenger bags, and other accessories in their new line.

They showed off the creations they made using the flag pole signs for the recent Jacksonvilel Jazz festival. The banners are made of high quality, durable, vinyl and PVC. Typically after an event these things get tossed aside, or if they’re lucky, upcycled into things like drop cloths for painting.

Burro Bags found the value in the materials and the artwork itself and made an entire line out of it.

With all the signage in the downtown area for OneSpark, there is sure to be a nice OneSpark line for Impakt next year.

Although this falls outside the realm of startups, Burro Bags is crowdfunding here at OneSpark the inperson crowdfunding festival and it’s a great example of the variety you’ll find amongst the 464 official creators.

Check out Burro Bags here

We’ve got more OneSpark coverage here at nibletz.com The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else.

Jacksonville Jaguars Are “All In” OneSpark The Crowdfunding Festival

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Jacksonville Jaguars voice, Brian Sexton, MC’s OneSpark’s opening ceremonies (photo: NMI 2013)

We’ve been to a lot of startup conferences, festivals and events, and aside from the world famous SXSW, I’ve never seen a city so supportive of an event like this, especially a first time event. The entire city from the municipal government to the chamber of commerce and all of the agencies in between are truly engaged with OneSpark.

Police officers and Sheriff’s officers on loan to the downtown area, know where everything is, ask about creators, and projects and heck we’ve seen a few cops taking iPhone pictures for passerbys. In talking with some of the officers, they are all excited about OneSpark and what it means to downtown. “Big festivals and events like this usually happen across the bridge, OneSpark is great for downtown”, a Sheriff’s deputy who asked to remain nameless because he was on duty told us while we were walking toward Hemming Plaza.

One organization that you wouldn’t think would necessarily be involved in an event like OneSpark is “all in”, and that’s the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.

The voice of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brian Sexton, was the MC for the OneSpark opening ceremonies. While he talks for a living, on the stage at OneSpark he worked from a set of notes but you could easily tell that he knew all about OneSpark, adlibbing about the founders, the event and the creators. Sexton’s familiar voice to the resident’s of Jacksonville serves as another reminder that the whole community is all in.

Jaguars cheerleaders were also mingling throughout Hemming Plaza all afternoon long, even lending a boost to one of the presenters during the afternoon pitch sessions.

jagscheerleadersAs part of the opening ceremonies the cheerleaders returned to the stage to accompany the Jaguars drum line who played a nice ten minute set to warm up the crowd, pep rally style.

Of course that’s just the beginning. Jaguars owner, Shahid “Shad” Khan, a local businessman and entrepreneur is notorious for supporting downtown causes. For OneSpark though his Stache Fund (a play on his signature moustache) has committed $1 million dollars to the event and the crowdfunding prize given out at the end of the festival based on voting.

Luckily for Jaguars fans we’re in the thick of the offseason, but nonetheless this isn’t just an “appearance” for anyone associated with the team, like the police officers, city councilmen and women and others, the Jaguars are all in for OneSpark.

We’ve got more OneSpark coverage here at nibletz.com The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else.

OneSpark Founders Answer Our Favorite Question: Why Now (startup community) [onespark][video]

OneSpark,Jacksonville startups,startup event

OneSpark Founders (L-R) Varick Rosete, Elton Rivas and Dennis Eusebio (photo: NMI 2013)

Two years ago three friends, businessmen, entrepreneurs and community minded guys sat around a Panera Bread talking about what they could do to help spark the startup community, and the creativity that comes with it, in Jacksonville Florida. Those three friends, Elton Rivas, Dennis Eusebio and Varick Rosete, set out to create an event that could serve as an ongoing catalyst for creativity and startups.

All three founders were paying attention to the growing trends across the country. Startup communities were popping up in cities all over the United States, many of them the same size as Jacksonville with similar resources but no real focal point. They all wanted to do something and create something, and they didn’t want to move to do it.

In this quick impromptu panel discussion, led by Jacksonville Jaguars voice, Brian Sexton, all three founders touch on “Why Now, Why OneSpark”.

Rivas talks about the timing saying “the time has never been better for this”. Rivas talked about how technology, smartphones in particular, people have the ability to connect from anywhere. To that end, while we talk about Chattanooga and Kansas City often when referring to high speed internet, Jacksonville Florida was the second market in the United States to get ClearWire’s WiMax service back in 2003.

Now with the connectivity, the people and the resources, with a catalyst like OneSpark residents of Jacksonville are starting to see they can do it right in their own city. Rivas has already gotten a taste of this by being a cofounder of CoWork Jax, a coworking space with an emphasis on collaboration and creativity.

Eusebio opened up his answer with the fact that he didn’t want to move. As a tech guy Eusebio was starting to feel the pinch, do I stay home, a place I love or do I brave the waters in another more tech savvy city like San Francisco. He set himself a 2 year deadline to come to that decision and during that two years the trio started creating OneSpark.

Rosete says he did this for the creators, he wants the creators to know that they have the resources to help get ideas, companies and creations off the ground without having to go take day jobs that creators don’t really want.

With a list of sponsors that reads like a telephone book, the city of Jacksonville is ripe and mobilized now to embrace startups, creators and entrepreneurs.

But OneSpark isn’t just about the local creators. They’ve attracted 464 projects from across the street, across the river, across the country and around the world. The 464 projects are spread out across 65 different venues in downtown Jacksonville.

Early estimates suggest that there will be between 15,000 to 20,000 people in Jacksonville over the next five days specifically for OneSpark, participating in voting, the speaker series and just walking around and checking out the 464 projects. Several local media outlets predict the swell of people downtown could reach 100,000 when you mix in the variety of great live entertainment that the OneSpark team has helped cook up.

While the focus of OneSpark and the creators is Music, Art, Science and Technology, when dusk hits the focus turns to the “entertainment district” where clubs, bars,restaurants and pop up venues are hosting hundreds of bands and performers in a festival atmosphere that can only rival something like SXSW. If anyone is keeping score there were around 800 attendees at the first SXSW festival and 29,000 official registered attendees for SXSWi 2013. The groundswell in Austin is also believed to be 100,000 when factoring in all three different festivals that make up sxsw.

On the subject of SXSW, Rivas hopes that in 10 years the OneSpark festival will still be going on, and people will say “Oh Jacksonville, that’s where they hold OneSpark”.

Well yes as a matter a fact we’ve got a ton more OneSpark coverage here at nibletz.com The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else.