Success Story: Kale United
Right before Christmas we had the opportunity to talk with Måns Ullerstam the CEO and founder behind the plant-based business oriented eco-system Kale United. We wanted to hear his opinions and experience about what it takes to run a crowdfunding campaign and closing it successfully. Read below to hear more about some of the challenges and successes he had with his campaign, and the hard work he had to put in throughout the last hours of his campaign.
Why did you choose FundedByMe and crowdfunding to procure capital?
Kale United’s whole business idea is based on making it possible for anyone to invest ethically and sustainable in plant-based companies. The goal is for Kale United to get listed within the near future, to make it possible for larger companies and funds globally to move their holdings to opportunities with a sustainable focus. Kale United had, before the launch of the campaign, around 1000 individuals from all around the world that had shown an interest in investing in this idea. To meet these people’s needs crowdfunding was, therefore, the only sensible option.
What was the hardest/easiest when managing your crowdfunding campaign?
The easiest was the process with FundedByMe. It worked very well and their directions and templates was very easy to follow to make sure the campaign closed successfully. The hardest, unfortunately, was to convince the more traditional bigger investors to invest, as there still is several tabus regarding crowdfunding that needs to overcome. Many seem to believe that crowdfunding follows some other rulebook, while in reality it works like any other new issue — and follows the same guidelines, structure, rules and laws. Another challenge was that the campaign only reached its goal 4 hours before its deadline, so it was 45 days of hard work knowing that it might not succeed.
How has the response been, from both the public and your own network?
The response regarding our business idea has been fantastic. As the idea to invest and earn money on something while making the world into a better place is something a lot of people can get behind. So even if not every single person we talked to made an investment, they were happy to share the message on social media and with their network.
How did you allocate the work throughout the course of the campaign to be able to reach out to all of the investors?
It’s a bit of everything as you can imagine. Constantly posting on all social media networks, press releases with both Swedish and international press, targeted e-mail send outs to interested people, reaching out to personal contacts and participating in events and exhibitions in Sweden, Finlands, England and Germany. As well as marketing and partnering with larger interest groups and forums regarding the same area. You can’t underestimate how important it is to be visible in several different channels. People need to be brought to attention several different times before they chose to act.
Our single biggest investor actually showed up the last day of the campaign, only because they liked one of our tweets, where I immediately followed up with a private pm to them through Twitter. You can do a lot on your own, but I would say that the help from a good PR-agency with press releases and interviews with journalists is very valuable to have.
What will you bring with you for future funding possibilities? What was the most important lesson during the course of your campaign?
The the most important lesson was that it wasn’t enough to have several insterested stakeholders to start the financing round. Despite the fact that we had a number of larger investors interested we had a very slow start. You should have some larger investments confirmed before launching to get a jump start on the campaign. The second lesson was that humans by nature aren’t in a hurry until the deadline actually is approaching. We raised almost 50 % of the campaign during the end of the last week. That creates unnecessary stress for whoever is running the campaign. So it is important to create clear deadlines prior to that, to ensure that people find reason to why they should invest sooner. Anything from giving them a bonus/discount to giving them some sort of gift if they invest early could be helpful.
What is the next step for Kale United now that you’ve closed your campaign??
Besides enjoying the Christmas break while we sort out the administration of the new issues we hope to start planning for the next financing round as soon as possible. We also intend to grow the Kale United Team, and build a Board of Directors and Advisory Board. We are looking for anyone with a financial background who lives and breathes a plant based lifestyle!
To learn more about Kale United, visit their website at www.kaleunited.com and if you are interested in launching your own crowdfunding campaign visit www.fundedbyme.com to get in touch with our sales team!