In December 2016, FrontFundr closed its tenth deal since the launch of its online funding and investment platform over 18 months ago. The company: FrontFundr. We drank our own whiskey. We decided to raise capital for our own company using our own platform.
Offering a minimum of $100, we invited everyone to invest in our company. Seasoned investors familiar with investing in young companies and new investors who, possibly, had never invested before in a startup.
We wanted to deliver on and actually live our mission: Democratizing investment in curated private companies. Enabling all Canadians to invest in FrontFundr as the leading online funding and investment platform.
It was a great success. We raised over $650,000 from 200 investors from all across Canada. We have investors that invested $100 and an investor that invested $120,000. Now that is inclusivity. Those investors is what we created with our FrontFundr platform. An online marketplace accessible to everyone and we call it The New Capital Market.
For the FrontFundr team, this has been an amazing opportunity to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers and experience our own product.
It has been a great learning experience for us.
- Here are some key lessons we learned: Set an ambitious but an achievable target for the capital raise. As a company you are putting yourself in the spotlights by going on an online marketplace, so you want to really get to that target and share the success with all your stakeholders and your team that will work hard to make it happen.
Engaging with the community prior to opening the capital raise is key. Mobilizing a community of potential investors prior to the raise helps to get immediate traction at launch and reach the funding target as soon as possible.
The crux is to turn supporters of your business into actual investors. People may share your excitement about your company and your product, but there is a difference between that and actually investing in your company. Converting supporters into investors is hard work every day of the campaign.
In general, our own campaign reminded us that we are not only building a new company, we are also building a new online marketplace and that takes time.
We now have 200 investors. We’ll be holding our Annual General Meeting (AGM) later on this month. It will be a totally new experience for our young company.
We hope that many of our shareholders will attend the AGM. After all, we see our shareholders not just as the people that put their money in our company. We see our shareholders as supporters and promoters of what we’re doing, and ultimately help get us to where we plan to go next.
We’d like to meet them, share with them how our business is going and hear about their ideas and suggestions. Engaged shareholders means that they are likely to share it in their networks, helping our business, and themselves as a shareholder in our company.
Using our own platform for our own funding has been a great learning experience. Another milestone in our journey building the best online platform in the private markets in North America.