“If you build it, they will not necessarily come. You need a strategy to get the word out,” observes crowdfunding maven Roy Morejon. A recent speaker in Charles Johnson’s course, New Venture Funding, Morejon is president and co-founder of Enventys Partners, a leader in crowdfunding services, including marketing and product development. Crowdfunding, notes Morejon, comes in two broad varieties. Rewards funding offers a “gift” rather than equity. A developer of earbuds, for example, might “gift” the product to its investors. Equity funding, which often fuels more ambitious investments, typically pays out monetary returns.
Morejon steers his entrepreneur clients either to Kickstarter or Indiegogo. (Crowdfunding is by definition a virtual undertaking.) Kickstarter has excelled in gaming, product design, and technology products. Gaming has led the way with $1.1 billion raised and a 40+ percent success rate. Indiegogo paints with a broader brush, offering 28 product and service subcategories in three domains: Tech & Innovation, Creative Works, and Community Projects. In 2019, 90 percent of the platform’s action involved Tech & Innovation. Since 2016, Indiegogo has offered the option of equity funding through a partnership with MicroVentures, another rainmaker for early-stage ventures.
Startups pursuing crowdfunding must do their homework on the essential ingredients of product development and marketing—all covered by Morejon’s shop. That requires choosing the right crowdfunding platform and attending to product sourcing, testing, and prototyping. Many an entrepreneur, moreover, should consider legal protection to counter copyright infringement and illegal duplication of their innovations. “An unprotected product,” notes Morejon, “is an easy target for illegal duplication and distribution.” Some pirates, he adds, operate like mob families. “You get only one page on Kickstarter, so you have to tell your story convincingly,” Morejon continues. To that end, Enventys Partners offers content development and other marketing services, including ecommerce website development, email advertising, and marketing on Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
Kickstarter debuted in 2009; Indiegogo in 2008. Enventys Partners dates to 2016, the merger of the product development/marketing firm Enventys, with Command Partners, a digital marketing agency founded by Morejon in 2011. To date, Enventys Partners has raised over $350 million through new venture crowdfunding. This year it launched its 2000th product. “Thirty-six of our clients have been on Shark Tank,” adds Morejon. The future for crowdfunding, he emphasizes, shines bright. New venture crowdfunding continues to double each year. And the year of the pandemic hasn’t stopped the music. “I can’t yet speak for reward crowdfunding,” says Morejon, “but equity crowdfunding has quadrupled.”