A few months ago, Lucas Williamson and Scott Scherpenberg, two young entrepreneurs and the co-founders of Juiceboxx, didn’t know they would make more than $30,000 to help launch their startup. Despite the fact that some entrepreneurs rely only on investors and college business plan competitions, the Juiceboxx team took another approach: Kickstarter.
While most of us are now familiar with the popular crowdfunding platform, young entrepreneurs are utilizing Kickstarter to fund their projects and to spread the word about what they are doing — and I believe Juiceboxx is a good example of how to launch a successful campaign. Here’s why:
- Juiceboxx found a problem everyone could relate to: Juiceboxx is a case for your Macbook charger, which also protects the cord from fraying. As with many entrepreneurial endeavors, the idea came from one of the co-founder’s own problems; Williamson had broken four Macbook chargers, so he and Scherpenberg decided to come up with a solution.
- Weren’t afraid to go big: Most of the Kickstarter campaigns that I’ve seen by young entrepreneurs are between $5,000 and $8,000, but the Juiceboxx team had a goal of $25,000 … and reached it in 23 days!
- The strategy: Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform, meaning if you don’t reach your goal, you won’t get any of the funding. The Juiceboxx team was strategic about their goal. Williamson said, “We did analytics on this and we were really able to make an analysis … we set a goal, the bare minimum goal we had to have to actually deliver the product, but it was strategically set lower so that we could blow past it and achieve more success.”
- Teamwork: Both Williamson and Scherpenberg also said they’ve seen success because of their team. Scherpenberg said, “That all comes back to meeting people who have the same interest and the same passion.” The other team members include Andrew Lien, who is the team’s manufacturing engineer, and Sam Silverman, who is in charge of branding and identity development.
Additionally, I‘ve seen aspiring film makers, editors-in-chief, students and other young-entrepreneurs set up successful projects on Kickstarter and go beyond their goals, which is why I believe Kickstarter will become the new norm (if you can argue that it hasn’t already). Here are the benefits:
- Branding at the same time: Not only are you raising money for your company, but you are also branding and promoting your product. Can you say free marketing?
- Not restricted by location: The Juiceboxx team is based in Columbus, OH, but their backers were from across both the nation and world.
- People will notice you: While there are thousands of projects on Kickstarter, people do take notice of good ideas. With Kickstarter, backers also feel they’ve had a helping hand in getting your product off the ground.
- Easy and efficient: Most of the young entrepreneurs I have talked to said Kickstarter was easy to use because teams could easily track their progress and see who they are getting funding from.
- Eliminates going to an investor: Sometimes funding a startup can be the toughest part of launching a product. This model essentially eliminates pitching to investors and lets your friends, family and other backers help decide if you should get the funding you are asking for.
More About JuiceBoxx
Now that the Juiceboxx team has reached its Kickstarter goal, they can focus on how to grow their product – and even a company.
“We don’t want to just create one product, we want to take this and build a company around our brand and create more products that have to do with power protection and cord management,” said Scherpenberg, who is majoring in industrial design and entrepreneurship at Ohio State University.
The team plans to deliver their first round of Juiceboxxes to their backers in November.
“We have several months of toying and sampling and production runs with the product to make sure that it is up to quality and is ready to go for large scale production,” said Williamson.
Along with Kickstarter, the team also won Idea Pitch through the Business Builders Club and the Ohio State Business Plan Competition. However, they are always striving to get better.
“It’s about getting feedback all the time — we are out pitching to professionals, taking their feedback, and refining our product and process.”