The StreetPin team has spent years understanding what ‘local’ means. We’ve literally got the t-shirt, and worn it to all kinds of community events, fairs, pubs, parks, retailers, churches, you name it…
We have brought out various iterations of our beta (test) product, ridden the ‘must have an app!’ wave and compiled plans and applications in every conceivable format. We recently ummm’d and arrr’d long and hard about asking ‘the community’ we are aiming to serve, to help us fund the progress of a product that is currently in a beta (test) state. Yes!, we thought, let’s test the water. We’d put ourselves on a reward-based crowdfunding site, www.zequs.com Twitter was the first port of call. We went with a few initial product/service tweets such as:
- Happy Friday! Do you want your own community web site, with instant offers & a tailored forum? From just £45? zequs.com/campaign/stree… pls RT
- Interested in a new #SEO magnet with #social & deals tools for you or your clients? Get ’em while they’re HALF PRICE zequs.com/campaign/stree…
- Great opportunity to get your brand/message to 10k #Croydon residents with 1 of 4 slots on our leaflet! All on zequs.com/campaign/stree… pls RT
- @VisitCroydon we’re crowd funding our campaign ‘Croydon, the most connected town in the UK’ zequs.com/campaign/stree… could we get a RT please?
- Targeted ads! Want your offer/message to appear by default on every non-competing pin board in #Croydon? zequs.com/campaign/stree… PLS RT
These were obviously also echoed on Facebook and LinkedIn in the appropriate language and style. We even had some big Twitter users post or Retweet us.
<caveat>My personal feeling is that those with hundreds of thousands of followers, or post hundreds of tweets a day are pretty ‘excitingly diluted’ and are actually the equivalent of a scatter gun approach. My ethos (and the direction of StreetPin) is that 10 local, relevant contacts are worth 1,000 random views from the likes of ‘Mike123′ in Kansas seeing a tweet whilst playing a shoot ’em up on his X-box. Tweets from them always brings a smile though</caveat>
We wrote/contributed to a number of blogs, sent mails to subscribers, buttered up friends and family, went networking but the cold harsh truth is that StreetPin in beta, is still a little too vague and less tangible than is needed for people to part with cash. The crowd funding approach was partly about the money, partly the desire to have several advocates with a small vested interest in our success. We did of course look at equity rewards to provide a larger incentive, but we actually need a comparatively small amount of money to prove something that could be great. As the equity crowd funders make a percentage of funds raised, they just aren’t interested in these smaller raises. We will be considering this option to grow exponentially once we have ticked off a few boxes including revenue stream and rising membership, so potential shareholders, watch this space!
Badger verb, gerund or present participle: badgering:repeatedly and annoyingly ask (someone) to do something.
We thought that the crowd fund option was worth a try, gave it a good shot over the course of a week, but essentially we are not going badgering or alienating those that we want nurture and be our trailblazers in the new digital community world. Having run 3 marathons, climbed the 3 peaks, trekked to Everest base camp etc – I recognise ‘giving fatigue’ where the same people are asked for money time and time again. I don’t want this to be the case for StreetPin. I’m looking for familiarity, followed by real examples of how our concept could really work for customers. We of course hope this will lead to sales due to StreetPin being the best solution at the best price
The Edison effect
We’ve been on another little journey, no doubt about that, and someday I’ll write a book – just need to succeed big time first 😉 Attempting a small, reward-based fund raise was another in a long line of learning experiences. We haven’t failed, we’ve found another way not to move StreetPin forward. As a super-driven guy, struggling to contain the ‘big picture’, as long as we are learning and improving the end product, I will continue to push with all my might.
Build it and they will come
In the perhaps deranged mind of founder, Tim Buick, StreetPin will enjoy enviable global usage numbers, perhaps rivalling LinkedIn. The StreetPin concept and tool itself is rapidly scalable and we will aim to prove its virality and reseller value in a host of different community, managed service and commercial areas. South East London first, then the world! We are aiming to provide an inclusive and supportive network like no other – I guess it takes a bit more evidence and tangible examples to move forwards – so that’s just what we’ll do!
We are about to go dark for a couple of months whilst we work with some new developers to give YOU the community product you deserve, if for nothing else other than making it to the bottom of my blog
StreetPin is going to come back early in the New Year with a viable alternative to online shopping for the High Street.
- We are also progressing discussions with sales and community partners large and small, so if this is of interest, drop us a note.
- Please do sign up to our newsletter for details of our launch
- Our door is always open – firstname.lastname@example.org
We ran our trial on Zequs.com, who are currently doing their great work for free. Tarkan and team are super helpful and I would heartily recommend them if you are considering a raise yourself – just make sure it’s a bit more tangible 😉