Where Quality is Valued – Falkensteiner Crowdinvesting Campaign

As the time of summer vacationing is fast approaching, our new theme for the month of June is travel. Consequently, on behalf of Slovakia, we would like to introduce a crowdinvesting campaign recently completed by the hotel chain Falkensteiner.

What is Crowdinvesting
Crowdinvesting can essentially be considered to be a category of crowdfunding which includes the two main return-on-investment motivated types of crowdfunding – equity based crowdfunding and lending based crowdfunding.

Falkensteiner and crowdinvesting

Falkensteiner Hotels and Residences is brand that needs no long introductions. It’s an award-winning chain of hotels in the category of 4- and 5- star hotels, with strong presence on Slovak, Czech, Austrian, Italian, Croatian, and Serbian market, as well as a managed annual turnover of 160 mil. EUR.

The Falkensteiner group has already completed one crowdinvesting campaign in the past. The first campaign ended up being immensely successful, which motivated the decision to enter a second investment round, as the management sees crowdinvesting as the ideal means necessary to stimulate the growth of the hotel chain.

Schlosshotel Velden

 

The recently completed Falkensteiner campaign ran at Finnest , a crowdinvesting platform that concentrates on lending based crowdfunding in Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

The campaign was open to investors from Slovakia, Austria, and Switzerland. Investors from these countries had an opportunity to offer Falkensteiner a subordinated loan with fixed interest rate of 4% p.a. with maturity of 5 years. The minimal investment was set at 1000 EUR, but Falkensteiner has prepared special VIP bonuses for those who decided to invest more. For example, in case the investment amounted to 5000 EUR or more, the investors could look forward to an automatic upgrade to Gold Spirit Club for a period of 5 years. In the event that the investors loaned 10 000 EUR or more, they were rewarded by an automatic upgrade to a new VIP class ‘Diamond Spirit Club’, also for a period of 5 years.

When it comes to payment of interest, the investors had an interesting alternative, that is to receive the interest payments in form of vouchers for accommodation with a 50% bonus on top. This option was selected by an overwhelming 65% of investors during the second transaction. According to Otmar Michaeler, one of the owners, this points to the marketing potential of the opportunity.

Based on the press release issued by Finnest, it is possible to conclude that the second investment round was equally, if not more, successful as the previous round completed in the autumn 2017, which reached its financial goal of 2.5 mil EUR. The second crowdinvesting campaign running from November 2017 had the same financial goal as the previous one, however, this time the goal was reached within amazing 5.5 weeks, in other words, in roughly half of the campaign time.

Finnest further informs that the average investment amounted to 8000 EUR, exceeding any previous records set by crowdinvesting campaigns completed up to this point.

Cubetto – A hands on programming language for girls and boys aged 3 and up

Can crowd funding be applied to schools and other public utilities? The answer is yes and we found a great example in the campaign launched by the primary school Secondo Istituto Comprensivo Francavilla Fontana in Brindisi that collected via the platform Eppela the funds necessary to create “L’Officina dei Giocattoli” (i.e. Toys’ Factory). The aim of the campaign is to literally make one of the pupils dream come true and to create a common space where they can transform old, and obsolete toys in smart ones. The project has been developed in four main phases: to recover old toys; to bring them into the Montessori Creativity Space; to re design their hard and soft ware; and to complete them with digital features in order to give them a total new look made up of sensors, small video cameras, led lights and so on. In the kids mind this represents the concrete realization of creativity process that allows them to even develop tools to control their old tractors and cars with smartphones and tablets. The campaign was launched in 2006 and collected around 150% of the original quotation. The funds have been spent for 3d printers, sensors, laser cut working table, 3d scanners, all instruments the kids need to improve the space they share as common thinking lab, team work space and for stem didactic activities. Also the project is recognized as green as it involve recovering and re use of old toys; economic as it is aimed at avoiding waste; fun as it stimulates the kids’ creativity, and digital.

 

Renewable energy and crowdfunding

When it comes to renewable energy, the projects are not only focusing on technology development, but also on promotion of renewable resources as a future energy source.

One of such projects is also an idea 80days around the world in electromobile. The general idea of the race was started by Rafael de Mestre, who managed to travel around the world in Tesla Roadster. The journey however took him much longer time. Based on his experience he decided to organize a race around the world by electromobile in just 80 days (www.80edays.com). A team of young Czech entrepreneurs decided to join the race and promote the electromobility also in Czech Republic.

Source: www.80edays.com

Participating on the race is expensive, the team of Rafael de Mestre is responsible for all the promotion, conferences during the race, ocean overflights, charging in areas where now charging stations are available, but there are still other costs that needs to be covered by the participants.

You can find more information about the race at its website:

https://80edays.com/

or at the facebook page of the Czech team participating at the race:

https://www.facebook.com/80edays-Czech-Team-kolem-sv%C4%9Bta-za-80-dn%C3%AD-elektromobilem-435842646605598/?fref=ts

The Czech team therefore decided to use Czech crowdfunding portal www.hithit.com to get the financing for their participation. The campaign was available at the following website.

https://www.hithit.com/en/project/2349/cesta-kolem-sveta-za-80-dni-zavod-elektromobilu

During the crowdfunding campaign the authors reached the following goals:

Original goal was: 8,810 €
Final amount: 10,893 € from 34 contributors (123 %)

 

There is also a third race being prepared for the year 2020. The management team is already gathering financing and this time they plan to use the crowdfunding financing for the whole race.

Energy Crowdfunding made in Germany – Interview with Torsten Schreiber

Torsten Schreiber is one of the co-founders of German equity-based Crowdfunding-platform bettervest and project-partner of Africa Greentec. He calls himself a “Serial Social Heropreneur” and his vision is to change society from within by means of social entrepreneurship and to push the energy revolution forwards, not only in Germany, but also in lower developed areas. In an interview with Crowd-Fund-Port he talks about energy Crowdfunding and explains his plan to #unfucktheworld.

Crowd-Fund-Port: Torsten, you are strongly developing the idea of financing (green-) energy-projects through Crowdfunding. Please tell us a little bit about you and your projects.

Torsten Schreiber: I see Crowdfunding as an enormous chance to significantly engage young entrepreneurs to work closely on emotionally impactful projects and by doing so, further help to increase the prominence of a visionary project such as ours.

Our vision is to become the largest eco-driven, renewable de-centralized energy water and communications provider in the global south, by empowering men and women to self-determination and prosperity.

My personal motivation and drive comes from the deeply rooted conviction and desire to be able to change society from within by means of social entrepreneurship and the believe that we can live with our planet in peaceful harmony. My primary goal for which I try to recruit companions, is active climate protection.

Crowd-Fund-Port: It all started with bettervest, a German Crowdfunding-platform, which you co-founded. Which projects can be found there?

Torsten: bettervest started with the idea of strengthening the global energy revolution by introducing energy efficient concepts and projects. In order to make a significant and visible difference, as much effort is needed in actually saving energy by means of efficient technologies, as is by introducing and implementing new technologies such as Photovoltaics, water and wind power.  My main project, Africa GreenTec develops specific, fitting and holistic solutions to address this very need.

Crowd-Fund-Port: So Africa Greentec evolved from one of your bettervest projects, right?

Torsten: The Solartainer® project marked the first funding record for bettervest in 2015. Ever since, the platform and various new project related partners, successfully focus on less developed areas. The platform showcases interesting projects in the areas of renewable energy, efficient heating, efficient power and new business models.

I realized, the best way to put my talents to work, would be by fighting climate change in Africa and by enabling locals to take charge of their own lives by providing them with new and exciting technologies.

Crowd-Fund-Port:  Obviously cross-border Crowdfunding is important here. How do you think it will develop in the next years?

Torsten: Following the political agenda of, for instance our German government, clearly illuminates that the classical foreign aid model neither represent a working future model to solve the problems of The Global South, nor does it successfully address the problems of mass migration. What is needed, are investments, particularly into infrastructure, energy, agriculture and education, but the systems are not designed for that. Large lenders like “Die Weltbank” or the “African Development Bank” really only finance projects starting at 100 million €, which represents a huge gap in particular for projects of up to 500.000 €. These gaps can successfully be closed by investment platforms like bettervest, which then can provide the opportunity to investors of The Global North to directly engage in impact investment. Until now, this privilege was only provided to large institutional investors and hedge funds. I firmly believe we shall experience tremendous market growth in this segment, if qualified partners, particularly on the African side are chosen. Years of erroneous foreign aid has clearly left its mark.

Crowd-Fund-Port: You are combining your knowledge about energy-Crowdfunding, entrepreneurship and development aid. What is your big plan?

Torsten: As founders, both my wife and I, share a lifetime vision to provide 3 million people in Africa with clean energy, water and access to the internet. Many of our friends and supporters envision us to become the largest de-centralized energy and water supplier on the African continent. Let’s see who ends up being correct.

Crowd-Fund-Port: What are your biggest learnings when it comes to Crowdfunding? As a project-owner, but also as a platform-owner? Any recommendations?

Torsten: In order to have a successful Crowdfunding campaign the initiator needs authentic partners, co-workers and a transparent project, as the Crowd wants to partake, wants to participate as close as possible. This is not always easy, especially with projects in Africa, as circumstances can change rapidly and unpredictably. As a platform, one should know the investors as much as possible and especially the project owner should be able to provide a detailed assessment of the funding potential. Both sides need to communicate honestly and clearly in order to properly manage mutual expectations from the beginning.

Crowd-Fund-Port: Thank you for the interview!

Best practice for sustainability: Smooth toilet paper

Smooth Panda
The company Smooth Panda produces and distributes 100% bamboo toilet paper and handkerchiefs. Thus, the company is positioning itself as a sustainable alternative to common virgin fiber papers, for which huge quantities of trees are felled every year. With a marketing effort of less than 3,500 euros, the startup already sold more than 60,000 packages since its market entry in March 2016. Recently the team collected over 275.000 EUR through Greenrocket. An Austrian crowdinvesting platform for sustainable companies.
Best practice on sustainable campaign
Within just two weeks, more than 200 investors have invested in Smooth Panda with a total of € 275,000. It was scheduled for a period of two months, but after the funding threshold of € 75,000 was exceeded after just eight hours, there was a hope to reach the funding goal within a shorter time. 14 days after their campaign launch that was no longer a hope.
Next steps

With this growth capital, it will now be possible to meet the increasing demand for our bamboo toilet paper. We triple our warehouse capacity and inventory.  In addition, the development of the long-awaited Smooth Panda bamboo kitchen roll will now make great progress and we have created the framework conditions for a successful start of our cooperation with the German “dm”  chemist’s shop chain.

Free Water Project (free drinking water for everyone) – can we put an end to medically unsafe water?

According to the UN’s research, more than one billion people on Earth don’t have access to medically safe drinking water, that accounts for only 2,5% of world water supplies. Almost 10% of all the world’s diseases would not even exist if water supply, sanitary conditions, and hygiene were improved, and if water resource management was at a higher level. Plastic is a material that the Earth cannot degrade and therefore huge plastic islands are formed in the oceans that systematically destroy wildlife, which undoubtedly affects human health, too. On the other hand, glass is the most natural material for water preservation that is also 100% recyclable. So, how to tackle all of these issues with only one project? Freewa – Free Water Project is dedicated to assuring that free, clean drinking water can be traced worldwide by anyone. Freewa is a web platform, a mobile app for mapping free drinking water locations worldwide and a glass water bottle with a bag made out of recycled plastic. So, by buying Freewa eco bottle you not only receive a beautifully designed and functional glass bottle that helps reduce plastic pollution but also support the free Freewa web platform and mobile app that make it possible for everyone to map and find free drinking water locations worldwide. Sounds quite amazing, right? So did 259 supporters of Freewa’s Indiegogo campaign think and thanks to them over $30.000 was collected to initiate the Free Water Project. Freewa has also recently joined efforts with Croatian Public Health Institute, Ericsson Nikola Tesla and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb on a WaterQ project that aims to develop more advanced technologies and tools for water security assessment and integrate them into existing public health and environment protection processes. As a part of this, it is expected that a new Freewa bottle will come with an integrated sensor that will provide information on water safety. Hopefully, all of this will bring us one step closer to Freewa’s final goal – to make clean drinking water free and accessible to anyone, anywhere.

The first ecological lodge in Nepal

It all started in 2012 when one of the initiators hiked up Langtang Valley with his son. After four days of walking, they reached Langtang village, where they met Dindu Lama, who ran a trekking lodge with his family and nephew Pasang. Lodges are a major form of livelihood for the Sherpa people in this part of Nepal: wooden buildings with a few extra rooms fitted with rough beds for the hikers to sleep and a kitchen for cooking rice, lentils and vegetables. They loved the stay with the family and formed a peculiar bond with them.

On a late April morning in 2015, Didnu‘s village was swept off the face of the Earth by a stone avalanche triggered by the most horrific earthquake in Nepali history. Within a few minutes, life was turned upside down for the region. Most of Langtang village disappeared and Dindu perished with most of his family. Only his son was saved along with three of his cousins; their parents and grandparents all died in the disaster.

Source: https://ecolodgenepal.wixsite.com/

Pasang was 24 at the time of the tragedy, the oldest surviving member of the family. He was a student at University in Kathmandu, the capital, when the earthquake hit the country. Even he lost most of his family in the valley, he dreamed about the possibility to rebuild previous livelihood and the village that used to be the heart of a magnificent valley. And that was the first idea that lead to a project which objective is to build a new ecological touristic lodge in Nepal that would use modern technologies for energy production, water management and heating.

The authors want to set up Pasang‘s lodge as a guiding light for the whole region: with sustainable water management, on-site production of energy and a zero-plastic policy. And they want to employ some exciting new technologies to achieve it.

The trick is to build a modern lodge using traditional Nepalese techniques. The materials will be local: mostly wood and stone. For the building innovative yet simple ways would be used to build a structure that can withstand another earthquake, something that has recently been pioneered in Nepal by a large charity outfit.

The heart of the matter is in the technology, however: the lodge should be self-sufficient and with a minimum waste footprint. The innovations revolve around three ideas: off grid energy, waste management and water sustainability. There will be a water ozonisation system for purifying water so Pasang will be able to avoid selling bottled water, one of the worst sources of plastic pollution. There will be a biogas tank collecting organic and toilet waste and continuously breaking it down with bacteria to produce gas for cooking and heating. Finally, the lodge will be fitted with solar collectors and a newly developed ultra-compact hydropower turbine for the stream that runs by. Extra energy will be channeled into a small greenhouse for growing vegetables.

Source: https://ecolodgenepal.wixsite.com/

To start the project the authors used Czech crowdfunding portal https://www.hithit.com/en/project/4226/prvni-ekologicka-turisticka-chata-v-nepalu

The first step has been already finished, the campaign helped to collect money for the new building itself. Next steps that should help to get funding for the technologies are being prepared.

You can find more information about the project at its website https://ecolodgenepal.wixsite.com/ecolodge

 

During the crowdfunding campaign they reached the following goals:

Original goal was: 11,444 €
Final amount: 13,826 € from 196 contributors (120 %)

Interview with Lukas Angst, inventor of KEEGO, a squeezable metal bottle

KEEGO is a true innovation in sports gadgets. It is the first ever bottle made with elastic titanium. Born in Switzerland, designed and developed in Austria, produced in Denmark it is also a true European product that has fans around the globe. Founder Lukas Angst is a sportsman himself and was looking for a way to combine the all the benefits of a light and squeezable plastic bottle with the clean taste and endurance of a metal one. At the moment Lukas and his team are running a very successful Kickstarter-campaign and still there are more than three weeks left for funding. In an interview with Crowd-Fund-Port, Lukas explains the idea behind his innovative product and how he prepared for the Crowdfunding-campaign.

Crowd-Fund-Port: Lukas, you are the founder of KEEGO, an innovative drinking bottle for athletes. What’s so special about it?

Lukas: KEEGO is a sports bottle made of an entirely new material. We combine Titanium with an elastic core to create a bottle that is light, squeezable and cleaner than the usual plastic bottles.

Crowd-Fund-Port: What is the idea behind KEEGO?

Lukas: Nowadays in sports all of the gear is high-tech. Athletes often don‘t compromise when it comes to their equipment. At the same time the sports bottles have stayed the same for the last 30 years and are quite low-tech. The idea was and is to change that.

Crowd-Fund-Port: A few weeks ago you started a Crowdfunding-campaign on Kickstarter? Why?

Lukas: We were eager to get a market feedback after all this time of development. Since KEEGO has USPs that could work for many different types of athletes this is also a great chance to learn more about them and where we should plan our market entry. On the financial side the Crowdfunding campaign allows us to validate our business plan and pay some of the tools and materials needed for the first production run.

Crowd-Fund-Port: How did you prepare for the Kickstarter-campaign?

Lukas: We tried to talk to as many experienced Crowdfunders as possible and to get input wherever we could. Four months before the launch, we set up a landing page to collect leads (e-mail adresses) of potential backers. We tried out different facebook ads and targeting to drive traffic to the landing page and constantly optimized the campaign. Three months before we launched on Kickstarter, we produced the video and additional content needed for the page. About the same time we opened a Facebook group for friends and interested people, to get as much feedback as possible on various aspects of the product, the content and the campaign.

Crowd-Fund-Port: What’s the goal of the campaign?

Lukas: Our goal was 25.000 Euros and we reached this initial goal quite quickly. Soon we had set a stretch goal (60.000 Euros) and are now about to reach the second one (120.000 Euros). The goal is to just keep going and take it day by day.

Crowd-Fund-Port: After the campaign ended successfully, what are the next steps?

Lukas: We work hard to finalize the product and make sure that KEEGO out of the production meets the high requirements we have set. Once we pleased all the early backers from Kickstarter, we have to establish a stable supply chain. Additional topics are financing, team building and the go to market strategy.

Crowd-Fund-Port: Thank you for the interview and good luck with your campaign!

ASPIDA – A success story in technology and equity crowdfunding in Croatia

In 2017 Croatia witnessed a boom in equity crowdfunding with first equity crowdfunding platform, Funderbeam SEE, introduced to the market in cooperation with Zagreb Stock Exchange. Four equity crowdfunding campaigns in 2017 managed to raise a total of 15 million kuna (more than 2 million euros) for their projects on Funderbeam SEE platform. One of them was Aspida, a digital media start-up from Croatia that started its operations 1,5 years ago with around 15 employees and has in the meantime opened branches in Macedonia and United Kingdom.

Aspida developed Izzy, a uniquely designed keyboard application for faster, easier and fun way to write symbols and emoticons with one swipe. Izzy keyboard is enhanced with many features, including gesture recognition, animations, jukebox audio clips, audio stickers and video push notifications. More than mere functionality, the keyboard offers various branded design solutions – from football clubs to popular musicians and has been downloaded more than 200.000 times in a 12 months span in the limited region of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Another app developed by Aspida and Croatian Telekom is TVizzy, a video push-notification application which offers users real time videos with content preselected by end-user. TVizzy was launched end of May 2017 as beta version to cover the last round of Croatian football championship, enabling football fans not to miss a single goal thanks to its immediate video recording notifications.

After successfully passing the test in the Croatian and regional market, Aspida was in need of additional funding in order to spread to the bigger international markets and decided to turn to equity crowdfunding. The campaign was a great success – collecting 89% of their initial 100 000 euros goal in the first day of the campaign and stretching beyond to raise a total of 146 000 euros from 99 investors. With extra funds to reach their marketing and sales targets, Aspida is now on a mission to conquer the global market with their apps!

 

Florek’s world – a book about emotions for children and parents

Florek’s world is a book that will allow the child to understand emotions better, find a part of himself by identifying with a hero and experience many adventures with him. Each chapter is a different adventure and emotion that has to be overcome. The book is addressed to children and parents. They will find there a set of practical tips on how to help their child to cope with the problem.
Florek’s world is not only a book for children, it is a book for the whole family. Interesting adventures, valuable hints and illustrations that can be colored, all this makes it a good reason to have. This book is intended for all those whowant to develop emotional intelligence in children.
Natalia and Kasia, author of the blog Above Everything.
They are friends and they have known each other for a long time. Every day they work with small children, and their work is a passion. What else should you know about them?
Apart from motherhood and work, they realize their dreams by running a blog where they share their knowledge and experience. They both have a similar view of the world, they can talk to each other for hours, and so they never end up with topics. That’s why writing a book together does not cause them any trouble and even adds wings;)
About Campaign
The project involved raising funds for the first 500 paper copies of the book:
Cost:
-printing, including breaking
-correction and drafting
-rewards to you
-charges for a platform PolakPotrafi
The whole book submission project was organized by the author himself, without the agency of an external publishing house. They took care of the graphic design of the book, illustrations, line-up. This allowed them to significantly reduce costs, but above all to be 100% satisfied that the project is only their own.
The campaign was successful. They managed to raise 6266 from 6000 PLN thanks to 101 supporters.
https://polakpotrafi.pl/projekt/swiat-florka-ksiazka
 
CFP Project
As part of the Crowd-Fund-Port project, we will support two crowdfunding campaigns on the topic of books. One of them is Monika’s Dabkiewicz and her book: Super Queensize http://superqueensize.com/ and Dorota Sumiła’s book in which parents and teachers will find ideas for working with children (She will have a title soon): https://www.facebook.com/Kreatywnie-815005328564137/