A few months back over coffee, Ollen Douglass, CFO of investment site The Motley Fool, indicated he was interested in investing in SwitchPitch. Why? Because as an executive at one of the most respected investment sites, he loved SwitchPitch’s business model, often talked about SwitchPitch, made introductions to other executives. But had no formal relationship with us – he didn’t know what to refer to us as? Friends? Interesting startup?
When referring to us, he wanted to say SwitchPitch is one of his investments, as that would’ve made a more compelling reason to refer us. And if he were able to invest, his introductions would create value for both of us.
After our coffee, I thought – what if other people share the same interest? Many people tell me they like SwitchPitch’s model, love that it exists, and appreciate how it helps startups grow. Crowdfunding is the new kid on the block, so I started exploring options and running the idea of a crowdfunding campaign by others I knew were interested in our success. Now they could capitalize on our growth.
Our motives were clear from the very beginning:
- Engage advocates to promote SwitchPitch to their colleagues
- Raise capital to scale the business
- Create a community of investors / advocates to provide feedback and support
When I started exploring the crowdfunding landscape, Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) rules had just been published by the SEC, making it possible any investor (rather than just high net worth angels) to invest in startups. After exploring the existing platforms, SeedInvest emerged as the clear leader. They are conservative in their offerings (only a few at a time); They have a large investor base (100k+); They work hard to support the companies on their platform (running ads, monitoring email campaigns, hosting events and more). Although they only accept 1-2% of startups that apply, I knew we were a good fit.
After going through rigorous financial and legal reviews, we were finally able to launch our campaign. Throughout the entire process, it’s been critical that we understand the SEC rules that regulate the space: no pre-selling the deal prior to launch; investor information must be uniformly shared on our crowdfunding campaign page; restrictive language when promoting the deal. These rules are all intended to protect individual investors, which makes sense.
SwitchPitch’s crowdfunding campaign launched in mid-August and runs through Nov. 7. Ollen Douglass invested, as did innovation executives at Fortune 500 companies – the people who understand our business model the best!
According to SeedInvest, most activity is in the first and last 2 weeks. We’re entering the last two weeks soon with significant investor commitments, but we need more investors to close our round.
Over the course of the campaign, SwitchPitch has received significant traction, providing momentum to potential investors:
- 18 Fortune 500 companies signed up as beta users
- 1,000+ startups created profiles
- 10 new projects published on our marketplace
- Dozens of calls and meetings with big companies like BAE, Elbit, Harris, Syngenta and innovative startups
- Significant industry press in Aerospace & Defense (Inside Defense, Aviation Week, GovMatters TV) –
We’re entering the final stretch of our campaign with significant investor commitments, but we need more investors to close our round. Join our list of investors – Dreamit Ventures, Allen Morgan, David Steinberg and more – by investing directly in SwitchPitch! To invest in our crowdfunding campaign, check out details on SeedInvest here.