CrowdReady’s take on some of the best Crowdfunding campaigns (with an unapologetically regional Australasian focus)

Part VI: A land down-under

This is the final episode in our six part (+ 2 foreign specials) installment of crowdfunding delights and we have to admit we’re more than just a bit emotional. It’s been a wild ride – from sticky paws to no-need-to-go-outside-again 3D goggles and a flagon or ten of ale to peeping octocopters. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.

For every campaign profiled there are literally hundreds more out there with serious wow factor and campaigns so slick you’d think a global oil company released them into the wild. All this goes to illustrate, and we hope you agree, that crowdfunding is just in its infancy – the potential is enormous and we hope you’ve lost just a little sleep these past weeks with the sheer excitement of what crowdfunding, and equity crowdfunding in particular, could mean for your vision and dreams.

Crowd sourced equity funding in particular has serious disruptive potential for the small business landscape in Australasia. Could this be the turning point in the local brain drain and offshore contracting of most of our industries? We hope so. A vibrant local crowdfunding scene not only creates business opportunities, but it also builds community, capacity and increases wellbeing, resurrecting the High St and breathing life into urban spaces. Slip down the manhole with us as we profile a fine exemplar of the crowdfunded revolution, revitalising and rewriting the urban script.

Campaign: Zero Carbon Food

Platform: CrowdCube (UK)

Campaign style: Equity, with questionably incentivising rewards

Capital raised: £580k (193% funded)

Equity offered: 29.04%

What is it?

Slightly creepy. If you’re a bit skittish a high wattage torch is definitely in order. Zero Carbon Food (ZCF) is the brainchild of a couple of west country lads bringing the vibe of tractors and the ciders into sou’wes’ Lundun. Somewhere under the daisies in SW4 lie a few thousand square metres of disused WWII air-raid tunnels. What would you do with ‘em? Legal hydro of course.

Pairing with culinary royalty Michel Roux Jnr. the ZCF team set about flooding the tunnels with low-energy LED lighting, hydroponics tables and filled the once terror-ridden catacombs with the groovy vibes of several thousand little botanical babies pushing their tiny heads out of their seed pods. In so doing they’ve created a thriving nursery of microherbs and salad greens just a few furlongs away from local markets, restaurants and nutrient-starved households.

Naturally pest-free that far underground (although mention of rats, martial arts turtles and psychopathic humanoids are notably absent from the video), the stable year-round climes of the caves are reportedly ideal for this sort of thing, using considerably less water than a trans-Saharan camel caravan, making the whole venture super friendly on the planet as well. In the illustrious patter of that notable culinary celebrity lisper…..Pukka!

 What did investors get for their money?

29.04% and rising damp

Why was it successful?

Ticks all the contemporary boxes that the modern inner urban yuppie (read: CrowdReady’s team) likes to talk about. Sustainable. Local. Food-based. Low-carbon. Celebrity chef. Pass that cheeky pinot gris would you daaaahling?

But the success of the campaign is really driven directly from the vision – it’s a very authentic, genuine and honest business that the founders clearly really, really believe in. Red rag to a bull for social critters like humans, you’d have to be a real stick-in-the-mud Thatcherite not to love what the ZCF boys are putting out there and feel compelled to support something that runs deeper than just an enterprise out to spin a quick quid. That honesty runs throughout the campaign through market potential, directors’ backgrounds and the exit strategy and hits the right marks without over-selling itself.

Winner of the CrowdCube Pitch of the Year for 2014 - admittedly a bit like an only child winning the son of the year prize at home – the ZCF team nevertheless made a good account of themselves and deservedly raised 193% of the asking price.

The wrap

Stick a fork in us ‘cos we’re well and truly done!

This subterranean jaunt wraps up our first series of (hopefully) informative and interest-generating articles. If some or all of this grabs you, we’re a little ways off the full equity crowdfunding route in Australia but it will definitely pay to be amongst the first cats out of the bag when the hammer falls and crowd sourced equity funding is given the all clear.

There are myriad things that can be done now to ready yourself for when the time comes. Company structure, business plans and pitch decks – these are all things you will need anyway and you may as well get these polished to a blinding shine now. The process itself will help immeasurably in focusing your energies and defining your goals even if you never end up going down the crowd sourced equity funding route.

We’re constantly scouring the web for information and using our experience and expertise to create guides and informational materials so swing by the CrowdReady website, email us and let’s get the stone rolling before the moss has even thought about a change of address. See you soon!

Please note CrowdReady provides this review simply as a means of discussion regarding the quality of the campaign and does not provide any advice on the merits of the company itself or its prospects. If there is any advice, it’s in the following sentence: we do not give advice.