Valentí Acconcia, Crowdfunding Guru
190 campaigns advised, more than 1,275,000 euros raised and author of 'The 20 golden rules of Crowdfunding'. The figures of Valentí Acconcia speak for themselves. He is a Crowdfunding professional in the world of collective project funding since 2011. He is currently developing his career as an independent consultant and expert in the field and works with the world's leading Crowdfunding platforms. Its goal: to help people design good campaigns and realize their ideas.
Are you a Crowdfunding consultant? Tell us about your profession?
Crowdfunding is the collective financing of projects over the Internet. This financing is done on platforms and the searcher must create a campaign and communicate it. That is to say that success or failure depends a lot on the work of the entrepreneur who carries it out.
Well, from 2001 until today my profession as a Crowdfunding consultant has been based on dedicating hours of preparation to the campaigns of entrepreneurs. It is a profession that we have practically invented those that, throughout the world, we have seen the phenomenon of Crowdfunding born. When I started, I did it with my own platform (Projeggt, the fourth platform to be born in Spain), and from 2014 as an independent consultant. That means I work with existing platforms. I have worked with Verkami, Ulule, Lánzanos, Goteo, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Crowdcude, or La Bolsa Social, among others. And already there are more than 190 campaigns advised and more then 1,275,000 euros raised with my clients.
More specifically, my job is to accompany the creator of the campaign in the design of the campaign, to advise him for his strategic approach, to follow up on it and finally, to resolve any incidents during the post campaign. The latter is important because reward-based Crowdfunding (one of the 5 types of Crowdfunding) is based on pre-sales of a product, service, or experience. If you can prevent certain units, the project is produced. And, at the same time, if you succeed you must produce and deliver those products. As you can see, reward-based Crowdfunding has much more to do with marketing than with finances.
More than 60% of the campaigns fail, what do they have that do not fail?
And on some platforms we were short on that 60%! In Kickstarter, it is already 65% and analysts indicate that in Indiegogo, it surpasses the 75% rate failure (although they do not publish their data in real time, this is not an official figure). In any case, the failure rate is enormous. In Europe, we have platforms with a very high success rate such as Verkami, which exceeds 70%, but is not the usual. Speaking of Verkami, I already have more than 45 campaigns of success in this platform, they are a fantastic team of professionals.
Those who do not fail have hours of preparation. I, on average, take 3 months to launch a campaign with a client that has everything pretty attached. It took me a year to design, plan, and launch a campaign. The key is to prepare for success and not rely on external factors. If an entrepreneur thinks that the platform will already work for your project, it already starts badly. A platform is that, a platform, and it makes a series of tools available to its users. But the success or failure of the campaigns does not depend on the platforms. It takes a lot of online marketing work to bring a campaign to fruition. And it does not depend so much on whether the project is an excellent product or not. It depends much more on the approach and strategy of the campaign.
What are the basic requirements for a campaign to succeed?
I have 20 golden rules of Crowdfunding, so imagine if there are requirements. By the way, you can find them on my website, vanacco. Well, among those 20 rules, I would highlight the following 3.
The first rule is 30-90-100, if you collect 30% of the target in 7 days or less, you achieve a 90% chance of success. That is to say with a 90% profitability, we will reach 100% of the collection. That's why I called this rule the 30-90-100.
The second is the power rule of 100, which indicates that when you reach 100% of the collection goal of a campaign, it collects more proportionally than before it has been achieved. I also call this rule the rule of the full bar. Why? It's simple, because if we have a full bar next to an empty bar, everyone wants to get into the full bar. It is necessary to see, with the cool and calm that would be in the emptiness, right? This is because people do not want to go wrong. It is the same with Crowdfunding. A campaign may be very interesting but there are people who will never contribute until they see that it is successful. And you know that in Crowdfunding, most campaigns must reach 100% to be successful. That is to collect and receive the funds, and therefore be able to deliver the rewards.
And the third rule would be the 4 C's of Crowdfunding. The first C is the community. A project must have a community around it before launching a campaign. Careful, it can be an individual community or a community to which the project can be communicated, but in any case it must exist. The second C is the costs, we must estimate them well, with what we collect we must produce, package, send and pay taxes on the rewards offered. The third C is communication since we must have a good communication plan to be successful, if you do not communicate, you do not collect. And finally, the fourth C is collaboration because the more we open the project to community participation, the better it will work.
What role do the rewards have?
It's a crucial part. The rewards are the return received by a person who contributes to a Crowdfunding campaign (let us call him/her patron, or buyer, as you prefer). Without rewards, there is no Crowdfunding with logic. This is not about receiving donations in most cases, although there are donation Crowdfunding campaigns like those you can see at migranodearena.org or Crowdrise.com, for example.
I have 4 golden rules about rewards. By way of illustration, these must be generous, tangible, abundant, exclusive, limited and valuable. It is not enough to sell, in Crowdfunding we must offer something exclusive to our patrons or buyers. Otherwise, your motivation to participate in the campaign will not be high.
It is necessary to think that Crowdfunding allows us more than to finance a project, it allows us to validate it with a real market. When we launch a reward Crowdfunding campaign, we are doing an online marketing action. So keep in mind that what we offer in exchange for contributions is the key to everything.
Can you tell us an example?
There are plenty of them. Only with my clients have we validated products like bamboo bikes, 3D printers, table games, online platforms, virtual currencies, video games or music discs, to name some examples. And the services? You can also validate, with pilodrea.com we validate monthly subscription system for your e-learning platform. But it is very important that something special is created in a Crowdfunding campaign, that people feel part of creating something new.
What would you say to people who are afraid that a Crowdfunding campaign is false?
Well, do not contribute if you distrust a campaign and do not be afraid, that is usually seen a league. What am I going to say! It is very funny to me when people talk about the fear of fraud in Crowdfunding. Are there no scams in any sector in the economy? Of course there is. To avoid it in the case of Crowdfunding, just take a good look at the campaign. First, it is necessary to see if it has already received sufficient supports, and that they are of people or real users (or apparently real). You can also check the virtual identity of the project, its pages on social networks, its website, the background of its creators, and so on. And of course you have to keep in mind that when a campaign succeeds, quality filters have been passed on the platforms and by the patrons who have supported it. Even so, there are cases that end up a disaster even though they have received tens of thousands of support. In my blog inside vanacco.com, I have an alerts sections where I talk about cases with fraud, intentional or not.
How would you define in a few words what Crowdfunding is?
It is the collective financing of projects through the Internet. Although as we have seen, it has a lot of marketing besides being a financing tool.
Would you say Crowdfunding is a transformation? Of what?
Crowdfunding is part of the collaborative economy, a total transformation of our economy where people play a fundamental role and take advantage of resources in another way. In the specific case of Crowdfunding, we are empowering people to decide which products come to light. Therefore, we are reducing the risk in the economy, it no longer occurs blindly or based on surveys. And on the other hand, there are projects that are competing with big brands having been forged thanks to the advance purchases of hundreds of people. Do you not find it wonderful?
And it is also a transformation that enhances the creative talent of these people. In Crowdfunding we can see cultural, entrepreneurial, and social projects. Projects that receive the support and confidence of the people to go forward.
Tell us some of the projects that have excited you the most.
There are more than 190 projects I've worked with that excite me, because I never work with projects that do not motivate me. With that said, for example, Necksound, a device as a necklace that allows you to listen to music while you play sports, without covering the ears. We validated the project with Álvaro and his team at Kickstarter and after more than 40,000 dollars of collection, it is already underway the production of the first units in history.
I would also highlight the Köllen bookstores created by young design students who launched a campaign with me in Verkami. Their success has led them to cross borders and to sell their shelves around the world. But come on, you could be talking hours of exciting campaigns. From Homelessentrepreneur, also in Verkami, to help the homeless discover their talent, even Slowers, vegan shoes that we validate in Kickstarter.
Do you know more types of Crowdfunding?
To this day, there are 5 types of Crowdfunding defined. Because the type of Crowdfunding is based on the offered return, not on the category of the funded project. These types are reward, investment, loan, donation, and donation through rewards.
Do you know what real estate Crowdfunding is? What do you think about this modality?
In real estate Crowdfunding, it is an investment Crowdfunding specialized in real estate assets. In it, a group of people can invest in real estate and then receive a return on their investment thanks to the exploitation of said property.
Investment Crowdfunding is very interesting for Spanish society if you work with social conscience. I hope it does not repeat the real estate bubble of years ago, this time through online investments. With that being said, I find it an interesting investment Crowdfunding for people. Interesting returns can be obtained, and also encourage the construction or rehabilitation of tourist houses, or for special use.
You have collaborated in the annual report of Crowdfunding in Spain 2016 where they have come out with some magnificent figures. Why do you think Crowdfunding is so well-received in Spain?
Indeed, we have worked hard with Ángel González from Crowdfunding Universe and Javier Ramos from Complutense University. Spain represents a small volume of the Crowdfunding market, compared to other countries in Europe and the world, but it is growing exponentially year after year. I find interesting figures from the study, especially in relation to the growth of investment and loan Crowdfunding.
Also, you are part of the teaching team of the First Official Title in Crowdfunding by the Complutense University of Madrid. How's it going? Are there any people already enrolled? What subjects will you have?
Quite so! The experience of the first promotion has been excellent and I hope that in the second we will continue on this good path. We work comprehensively on everything necessary for students to understand Crowdfunding and the tools necessary to succeed in the campaigns. In my case, I focus on explaining my 20 golden rules and online marketing strategies so that the campaigns can be designed and launched with guarantees.
In addition, you are a member of the Spanish Association of Crowdfunding. What are your goals?
In fact, I am one of the cofounders of this association. The truth is that despite having limited resources, we still have a good job behind our backs. At the moment, Miguel Moya exercises the third presidency of the association and we are working hard to spread the Crowdfunding.