Q&A with a serial entrepreneur, Anke Kuipers

by | Aug 7, 2017

Anke Kuipers cofounder and head of Commerce for Bend-It successfully crowdfunded seed capital for her business. “As an entrepreneur, artist, game-designer and social collaboration engineer I’m curious to find ways to influence, play and improve”, says Anke. ‘Influence, play and improve’ is exactly what she did with her innovative, comfortable and stylish shoe range that she co-coordinated through two rounds of crowdfunding. The first campaign crowdfunded the first collection of women’s shoes which then went on to sell in over fourteen different shops. The second and most recent campaign successfully crowdfunded the production of men’s shoes.  She shared some key insights with us regarding her experience of crowdfunding.

What is essential when planning a Crowdfunding campaign?
Decide your goal. You then have to decide what platform or platforms best suit your needs to reach that goal.

How did you choose the type of Crowdfunding and the platform for your campaign?
We chose for reward-based Crowdfunding because we needed clients more then [sic] we needed money. Kickstarter provided us with the best opportunity to do this market validation.

Why do you think Crowdfunding has evolved so rapidly?
Due to the rising amount of social tooling on all levels in society like Airbnb for living spaces, Peerby for products, blablacar for cars etc., the sharing economy is gaining more ground. In my opinion, people get more used to the different types of sharing projects out there. Crowdfunding is just one of those. More and more people want to make a direct or indirect impact in this world. This increases the willingness of people to support sympathetic projects. Especially the projects that have a good cause, big impact or simply provide them with something they want or need.

What are some pros and cons of Equity Crowdfunding?
Rent in Holland on a savings account is currently really low. This is causing people to search for other solutions to make more money with their savings so Equity Crowdfunding can be a nice (additional) way to increase your savings. This is a big opportunity in my opinion for Equity Crowdfunding. Although of course, same as on the stock market, never fully without any risks.

What are some key benefits of Equity Crowdfunding?
The benefit for investors is that anyone can easily become an investor in a company, even if you only want to invest let’s say 20 Euro. For investors with bigger money to spend it is easier to spread risks and be involved in multiple initiatives. The benefit for starting companies and scale-ups is the fact that all funding, contracts etc. are structured up front through the platform. Meaning less hassle of getting these things organised yourself.

Is there a ‘right time’ to start an Equity Crowdfunding campaign?
For me the best moment to start an Equity Crowdfunding campaign is when I would look for a way to scale my business and need money to support my (temporarily) overhead or in case I would need money for research and development to come to a final product or concept. Either way I would always start with my goal and then choose strategically what will get me there in the fastest way.

Watch ‘Startup Grind Cape Town Hosts Anke Kuipers (Catching Games & Bend It)’

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