Acorn are on a mission to create a crowdfunding platform that works for everyone, regardless of financial position or geographical location.
Despite the size and scale of crowdfunding worldwide, it still doesn’t even scrape the surface of the number of startups and entrepreneurs that need funding.
If there’s one thing that anyone who has ever crowdfunded will tell you, much like building a business, it requires TIME and MONEY.
Both of these things are luxuries that aren’t always available to many aspiring entrepreneurs, no matter how good their idea.
An expensive business
It is estimated that the average crowdfunding campaign costs between $3,000 — $10,000 and takes up to 8 months to prepare. So unless you are both time and money rich, it’s unlikely you will have the capacity to run a successful campaign.
The likelihood of success in your first round of crowdfunding aren’t stacked in your favour either, especially if it’s your first time.
Almost 40% of campaigns fail before they hit 1% funding.New Routes to Funding, Barry James.
In short, crowdfunding is a huge risk. Potentially a very worthwhile risk, but a risk nonetheless.
Creating equal opportunity
We don’t think it’s fair that only companies or individuals with significant existing capital should have the chance to make their ideas a reality. So we set about thinking about ways that we could create a more even playing field, and the Acorn platform was born…
Below are four of the features which will be integral to helping support success on the platform:
Automated marketing services
Our integrated and automated marketing services will allow founders to grow their audience from scratch without needing to have a wealth of experience or background in marketing. Having the most appropriate tools in marketing and social (many free to access), allows us to give founders a head-start that other platforms don’t offer. This could shave off months of preparation and potentially thousands of dollars.
Underpinning our whole platform with targeted data from a huge bank of past campaigns, allows us to support founders in an unprecedented way. It means that when making decisions on what tools and services to use, how to lay out their profile page, or what content to create, they can make an informed and empirical decision based on what has been effective for similar campaigns.
As part of the data package, our “targeted audiences” feature will match the right backers to the right projects, based on their interests and on-platform browsing behaviour in the past. This is just like what Google or Facebook does when it matches users with other products and pages, and can benefit hugely from using artificial intelligence to learn which types of users like which types of projects.
Early funds withdrawal and microlending
One of the biggest barriers to crowdfunding for startups and entrepreneurs is not having the seed capital to begin a campaign in the first place. If the requirement is to spend thousands before you begin, then it’s not surprising that many entrepreneurs are put off by this, especially early in their careers.
We want to offer microlending to initial founders to give them the funds to spend on the Acorn platform on tools and services before they begin their crowdfunding campaign. These microloans will be contingent on funds only being spent on the Acorn platform giving microlenders additional confidence of funds being used legitimately. Whilst Acorn will never be the guarantor of these loans, having Acorn’s provenance attached may lower the risk of these loans and therefore allow lower interest rates, saving founders money.
Once founders have begun their campaign, the Acorn ecosystem allows founders to withdraw their funds at set milestones. This means that founders can use OAK earned from early pledges to increase their campaign reach through marketing and social tools. Once again, this provides opportunity to those founders without any early capital.
Expert onboarding and support
One of the all too common complaints of crowdfunding is that founders feel like they need more support when moving through the process, especially when they don’t have an experienced team behind them. In crowdfunding campaigns, it has been shown that teams of four or more raise three times the amount than those run by individuals.
By providing founders with onboarding training, and access to expert knowledge in advance of running a campaign, we can ensure that founders are as prepared as possible for the reality of crowdfunding.
Overall the aim of the Acorn platform is to create opportunity for the kind of projects that wouldn’t necessarily get the chance to raise the capital they need through traditional means.
What Project Founders Are Saying…
We already have hundreds of projects waiting to list on our platform, many of whom have found it challenging to achieve funding through other channels.
Here are just a few of the innovative projects waiting to list on our platform;
Charles Rollo, from the U.S is creating a community film project for amateur filmmakers with limited resources. He believes the Acorn will give him the opportunity that other funding avenues haven’t;
“Conventional funding avenues such as banks, credit unions etc. don’t understand what I am doing or unwilling to invest in progressive ideas. This project is the tip of the iceberg. Success will impact hundreds of people giving them opportunities they would never get in the mainstream media.”
For Peter Ajala , being able to host his project — a free school for underprivileged children in Nigeria — on the Acorn platform gives him the opportunity to share his project with a global audience, which would not otherwise be available in his country.
“For more than three years of trying to crowdfund my project on different platforms; rejection based on my geographical location and high rate of interest have been major barriers to success on those platforms. With easy accessibility and high level of transparency, Acorn Collective is a platform to make the world a better place.”
Other projects waiting to list on our platform range from a Human Codex — aiming to create the largest digital record of human history, an augmented garden design app, and an Aquaponics Training Institute to foster community-owned food security through decentralised indoor organic farming.
Acornis currently in the process of building a crowdfunding platform which will provide opportunities to a huge range of founders from all over the world. Since our inception we have held this as priority number one. We understand that what we want to achieve isn’t easy, and won’t happen overnight, but as a team we are driven by the goal to enable innovation worldwide.
Have you got an idea you’ve always wanted to crowdfund? Let us know! We are still accepting project submissions to be hosted on the Acorn platform.
This post was originally published on our Acorn Collective Medium channel.