My cooking box – an Italian start up specialized in delivering cooking boxes

My Cooking Box is an Italian start – up specialized in delivering cooking boxes containing high quality ingredients already measured up to prepare home (or basically everywhere) Italian Gourmet recipes.

The idea is simple: the new- co selects and measure up top ingredients to prepare special recipes and deliver it to food lovers willing to cook the best Italian specialties for their guests.

The first crowd funding campaign was launched by the company founder (a 30- years old lady) 2 years ago with the aim of collecting 50.000 euro. At the end of the campaign the project collected 4 times more than expected with a total amount of 200.000 euro thus allowing its founder to create an ad- hoc e- commerce platform, to widen the offer with new cooking boxes and to enter both national, and international market.

The second crowd funding campaign was launched last summer on Mamacrowd, one of the main Italian equity crowd funding platforms. In one month 500.000 euro were collected. After only few hours from the campaign’s launch more than 100% of the goal was reached and it went over funded by around 253% 2 weeks before the end of the campaign. The investors decided to trust a project promoting the export of the best made in Italy cooking and food tradition and the opening of a store in Milan is foreseen in the months to come.

Cooking box represents one of the example of a growing industry based on equity crowd funding which has grown by 150% over the Italian territory in 2017., according to the latest report by Starteed, a crowd company developing solutions for crowd funders.


National Round Table Croatia

The national round table “Crowdfunding in Croatia and in the EU” took place on June 27th in Zagreb. Project partner Brodoto hosted key stakeholders in crowdfunding, such as representatives of national government (Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds), business support institutions (Croatian Agency for SMEs, Innovations and Investments (HAMAG-BICRO) and Development Agency Zagreb (RAZA)), crowdfunding platforms (Funderbeam SEE), financial institutions – banks and stock exchange market representatives (ERSTE bank and Zagreb Stock Exchange), and SMEs with experience in crowdfunding (STEMI).

Such a wide array of sectors and stakeholders made it possible to open a wider discussion on the following questions relevant to the EU policy on crowdfunding:

  1. Drivers and fears of society related to crowdfunding;
  2. Investors’ rights and obligations related to different types of crowdfunding;
  3. Presentation of different platforms;
  4. Topics related to Report of EC, Crowdfunding Regulation in Europe* additional (March 2018).

In addition, it tackled a 5th issue, which is very relevant for the national context, as it was pointed out during the key stakeholders meeting that took place earlier on the same day:

  1. introduction of equity-based crowdfunding to the Croatian market.

90-minute discussion yielded many arguments related to these topics, and the main conclusions of the round table are as follows:

  • The main fear is related to underdeveloped “culture of investing” and much needed development of investment community. Crowdfunding must become a priority in the realm of national policies and laws, if we want to develop a sound transnational crowdfunding ecosystem, especially related to equity-based crowdfunding. We need a “top-down” approach, and the British example is set as an example of good practice.
  • When it comes to investors’ rights and obligations, the discussion yielded a conclusion that transparency of platforms is of key importance, as well as their quality control procedures. On the other hand, the investors must not manipulate on secondary markets, all of them want to be a part of a good story, apart from the fact that the money is at stake.
  • Indiegogo, Kickstarter, Funderbeam SEE platforms were presented and discussed, having in mind specificities of each of them. Attendees agreed that the biggest potential for SMEs lays in Funderbeam SEE, a newly established equity-based platform.
  • The last topic in the frame of EU has tackled the recent legal ramifications for crowdfunding platforms operating transnationally. This question did not result in any clear conclusions since the present stakeholders did not feel they have sufficient knowledge on the topic.
  • Last topic has concluded with a notion that equity-based crowdfunding made a huge progress in only one year of existence of Funderbeam SEE, making half of all the funds gathered in 2017 in Croatia. This marks a new and exciting trend in the national context, with the biggest risk of success stemming from absence of venture capital.

We would like to thank all the attendees for this fruitful discussion, which opens a public discussion and offers a clearer picture of crowdfunding in Croatia and its relation to the issues relevant for the EU.

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!

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.

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!