Journey of crowdfunding

We got advice to post updates on the crowdfunding platform from a lot of experts that I’ve seen over the last couple of months, so of course we did. I just want to show you what we have been doing.

Well before you actually start you have to create fill in tons of data for the crowdfunding platform. Who you are, what your pitch text is, the video that needs to get uploaded, the perks, etc. In a couple of talks we went over a couple of these principles as perks, pitches and the crowdfunding movie. But I don’t think I have touched upon the process of the actual campaign when we launched it.

DELITELABS Crowdfunding campaign target acquired

The start

We started out by filling all these tedious forms in that need to get filled out when you start a crowdfunding campaign. Then there is a reviewing period from which it is unknown how long it would take. We wanted to launch around the first of October to have 30 days of campaigning. But what actually happened was that the process took way too long so that we didn’t have 30 days but more like 25 or 26, I’m not sure anymore. In a stressful situation, like you are almost always in at a startup, you don’t want to deal with this kind of situations. But it had to be dealt with and with a couple of phonecalls made by Violeta we could go on and set up our crowdfunding campaign online.

The updates

We had a couple of updates that we send out on our crowdfunding page. To tell something about our project or tell the backers more about our students, because in the end that’s all that is important. And is in line what I’ve heard from most experts on this topic. Maybe we could have done a couple more posts, but overall I think it was already pretty good that we went nuts on finding people who wanted to back us.

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The first 25% in one day!

This was really something we, or at least I, did not expected. We just launched the event and in half a day we managed to back our project with 25% of the money already. I was in the seventh heaven. I just couldn’t believe it myself. Really a energy booster for the rest of the campaign. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning, because most experts I heard talked about what immense workload it is to drive a crowd towards your set goals. The odds were against us, but we managed to prevail. Great, great feeling!

Conclusion

Probably, but this is just something I guess could be true. If we had had a couple of extra updates on our website and began earlier with posting about our teams and their project we could have probably gotten a bit more money. But for the very first crowdfunding campaign it was an amazing success!

Canva: a new design tool

Canva is a tool we came to use when Violeta joined our team. One of the most simplest Design programs I’ve ever seen and free to use. With Canva you can design beautiful digital products like presentations, posters, social media imagery and many other things.

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There is actually not really much to it when you use Canva. This is the starting screen and the two pictures below I have made. You can select one of the designs shown in the top and work from there. You can use the same formatting if you want or play around with it. You just put predesigned text, filters and imagery together into one image, with the click of a button you had a new piece of content you could put out there.

When did we use it

We used this tool many times during our social media outputs. It just made messages more attractive than if you would just used a regular photo. Most of the times we used Canva when there was something special to show, like in the prototyping week of the University of Twente or when we were looking for more participants for our course. Violeta really pushed us to make pictures as beautiful as we could and communicate the messages that we wanted to send out in the best way possible.

Some of the Pictures I had created

dlfirstcanvas1

dlfirstcanvas2

10-productivity-tips

live-on-our-facebook-page

10-productivity-tips-1

Conclusion

What I really like about Canva is is that it’s easy and quick and it produces a lot of content. So if you need content straight away you can just use Canva and 5 minutes or less later you’ll be done and can post a new piece of beautiful content.

Communications Plan DELITELABS

1. GOALS

  •       Showing the positive effects of economic integration
  •       Creating a community
  •       Having a successful crowdfunding campaign
  •       Associate the brand with creativity, entrepreneurship, success values
  •       Disseminate no borders philosophy and equality values
  •       (HOW) Placing Delitelabs in the startup ecosystem 

2. TARGET AUDIENCE

  •       Smart educated refugees between 20 and 30
  •       Unemployed local people between 20 and 30
  •       Companies with a social department to fund initiatives
  •       People that are related with other initiatives involving tech, business and innovation

3. MESSAGE

  •       Is easier to startup a business after the program
  •       Our program helps to develop economic integration
  •       Delitelabs is a professional education
  •       Delitelabs is a big step to develop yourself: professional and personal
  •       We want to empower people who don’t get much chances
  •       We tell personal stories

4. STRATEGY

  •       Geographical Scope: Amsterdam, Nederland, Europe
  •       Tone: Smartass tone.
  •       Super smart responses in a super nice way.
  •       Open mentality to criticism. Questioning
  •       Suspense. People are exciting to know what’s next
  •       Resourceful. We get the things done
  •       Hands on and learning by doing

5. ACTIONS

Offline:

  • An event on the 29th of September where we will have a public lecture given by Founders 
  • The prototyping week at the University of Twente the 10th till the 14th of October
  • The final pitch event which will be on the 19th of October

Online:

  1.  CORPORATE PLATFORMS:
  •       Web
  •       Blog
  •       Facebook
  •       Twitter
  •       Linkedin
  •       Instagram
  •       Youtube / Vimeo
  1. PLATFORM CONTENT

It is important to standardise the visualisation of the different communication means. Although these may differ for each communication tool we use, in our case a set of social media platforms. Which are the following media outputs:

http://delitelabs.com/

Web with basic information about the project. We need to show more the power of the organisation by the faces of the team and the board behind it.

http://delitelabs.com/blog

The strategy of content marketing needs a good content generator. Blog categories:

  1. Successful stories
  2. Events review
  3. Diary
  4. Program (During the program 1 chronic everyday)

https://www.facebook.com/delitelabs

  •       Publish our own blog content
  •       Team strengths
  •       Good indicators
  •       Program explanations
  •       Another news and inspiring stories from other pages and blogs
  •       3 times/week: 1 picture and 2 blog posts (it could be one external content too)
  •       Alumni group. This is our community! We should share valuable content: job offers, events… We should have a extra person taking care of it and posting 3 times per week. (Adel?)

https://twitter.com/delitelabs

  • Gifs that show the problems that we are solving
  • We share the content of blog. Daily interactions with related profiles and persons in the themes innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and social initiatives.
  • 200 tweets explaining the program and the feelings that your have during the program #adayindelitelabs
  • 200 tweets #delitelabsisforyou explaning why you should apply.
  • At least one post a day

 

We fu*%@*ng did it!

Great news! We reached our goal! We started out on the 6th of October with our launch. Especially in the beginning there were still some things we didn’t account for such as the time the CF platform needed to revise and check the campaign we wanted to launch. Check my post on the launch of the crowdfunding campaign.

DELITELABS Crowdfunding campaign target acquired

We set our goal at €3000 and already in the first day of the launch we got our 25% of the target amount. This was a great milestone and we were very happy with that amount. The days after that were pretty hard to watch because the money was coming in at a very slow pace after the first day. Although we already knew that because of the research we had done. The first days and the last days are the days that you get the most amount of money in your account. See the post about Steve Vick about this.

Already in the beginning we made it very clear that we had different sorts of donators that wanted to spend money on DELITELABS students. Small donators who would give not more  than a few euros and not more than 10. The middle class which would give us from 10 euros to 100 euros and then you had the bigger fish that would give anything above hundred euros.

utsign

Luckily we had an arrangement with the UT to collaborate. See here the first meeting we had with a couple of members of the UT. Not so long ago, just before the beginning of the last course we negotiated with them to run a prototyping week for our students in the 4th week of the course at the UT. I had responsibility within this project to arrange the connections between DELITELABS, the UT and some of the Student Unions of the UT. See my preparations for this event in this post.

We could stay there for a week and on the fourth day of our visit, Thursday, we could have our students do a pitch for a large crowd. The crowd didn’t only consist of members of the University of Twente, but all kinds of investors and other entrepreneurs that were linked to Designlab, a faculty of the University of Twente that stimulates entrepreneurship among students.

The big donation at the Pitchnight

So also a big opportunity for our students to actually give a pitch for a great crowd. Great practise for the last pitch event that would be the week after on Wednesday. I was pretty nervous for our students. Especially a couple of students were working hard, but the pitch didn’t quite come out yet. Too much unnecessary details put in, to plain in the way they spoke of their projects, too little showmanship. We helped them all day with the preparations for this and with success. I was so proud of those guys. They pulled it off, they did it. At the end of the pitches people were so enthused that the board of Designlab decided to support our students with €2000! The money we needed because at that point we had already €1200 in our crowdfunding campaign. A couple of days later the money was in our Crowdfunding campaign in One%club and we had made it!!

Conclusion

Sometimes it’s better to have multiple clients and not only focus on the people who you think will do most of the lifting. This time we have shown that one big fish, Designlab, can be just what you need to reach your goal.

Privileged I felt and still feel to be a part of this. Making the lives of our students a bit better!

– Bas

First blogpost for DELITELABS

Today, 20th of September, was all about communication. One of the first days that I could actually be totally into the output that we provide as a organisation. This output should lead to a couple of things for us. We want to build a crowd around our venture so if we launch our crowdfunding campaign it will have a higher chance to succeed. Secondly we want to get more awareness so we will have a better ground in negotiations with other ventures or institutions. And lastly we want to let people know what we do and why we do it.

Our savior from Spain

violeta

A great help with this was Violeta, a woman who has come all the way from Spain to strengthen our team. This woman, 30 years old, has already a lot of experience in the field of communication and especially with organisations as ours. Read here about our first meeting with the new communications team. Here we also discussed many interesting things on communication within an organisation but even more on the output that you provide as a venture.

Blog, Instagram and Twitter

Today I was in charge of three types of output, which was actually a handful at first. I had to write the blog, my first blogpost for Delitelabs. I was in charge of Instagram and Twitter. I was given a few instructions to begin. The photo’s that we put on Instagram should be, if anything, beautiful. So this meant: good lighting, good framing, interesting setting, nice coloring. A few posts a day will do. Short strong sentences that resonate with the viewers. So here are a couple of examples:

Halah Instagram Delitelabs

Post text
delitelabs Mapping out your life, a practice of getting to know yourself.#adayindelitelabs #refugeestakeaction #knowthyself #lifeplanner #lifeplan

Delitelabs Postits

Post text
delitelabs Assessing the situation afterwards reduces the chance of mistakes the next time. #adayindelitelabs #learning #scrummaster #refugeestakeaction

Samer Presenting Delitelabs

Post Text
delitelabs Pitch training. “Short and sexy”#adayindelitelabs #refugeestakeaction #pitch #innovativeideas #learning #business

I especially like the phrasing of the last one. “Short and Sexy“. Violeta tells me this phrase oftentimes when I need advice. Even if it’s the same advice she has given me, it always pushes me a little harder into the right direction. To read a little bit more on Violeta check our blog!

About the blog by the way… This was the first day that I had to do the blogpost for Delitelabs. Although I have made already plenty posts on my own blog, writing for someone else is a whole other story. I was pretty nervous and really was looking for the right angle. The perfect tone. Again Violeta was there to help me out. Not specifically with the blog but with the push that I needed:

“Perfection is the enemy of productivity.” – Violeta Garín and many other before her

I just started writing and after some time the post was done. We looked over it together and polished it here and there where we could improve readability, SEO and attractiveness. After that I got a compliment and that was it. A great day, with a lot of learning moments.

Thank you Violeta!

Conclusion

It was a great experience to be in charge of the communications this day. I learned a lot on how to use Instagram and Twitter and writing a blog in a different form than I’m used to. Twitter is all about short, sexy and with a high value rate. Instagram is all about spreading beautiful pictures. Also writing the blog was a interesting to use, because it had a couple of tools to check your the quality of your SEO and the readability of your post.

The Crowdfunding Video

In one of my previous posts I told you guys about the video which I completely detested at the moment. Well I worked at it and since we haven’t got the budget, time or connections at the moment I had to do the crowdfunding video. I have to say, it is far from perfect, but with the time I had available and the resources that I had it turned out quite nice I think. Let me know what you think!

A link will be provided when our Crowdfunding Campaign on One%club will be launched, which will be the coming week. Stay tuned!!

I’ve learned a lot from the making of this movie. I had to dive in After Effects after some time and I did some cool interviews with a couple of friends.

Conclusion

It’s better to work with what you’ve got and make it the best that you possible can, than think that you won’t succeed and give up, which in this case I luckily did not. Thanks again for the help with feedback and the finetuning Toon and Bob!

– Bas

The crowdfunding video: Chaos!

One of the things that I’ve noticed during my time at DL and working on the crowdfunding campaign. If you think you prepared well enough, think again.

Change of Launch Date

We prepared to launch for our company, Delitelabs, Which was to be launched at October the 19th. This because then we would have time to prepare our networks, create a crowd and create contact lists to call when the time has come. A little over two weeks ago another idea arisen. The idea that we would have two crowdfunding campaigns running at the same time. One starting in the second week of the course, this week. And the other at the set date that we had set previously, the 19th.

This would be no problem for me. In my head this would mean that we could also use the crowdfunding campaign of the participants as a experimental CFC, and we could advise them to best implement it, but that was not what happened. In the first week of the course there has made a decision that we run the crowdfunding campaign with the participants. They would have a large roll in this and could use their networks to spread the message. I think a pretty good move, but this also meant that the video has to be made in one day, because the launch was planned on that day, yesterday.

How not to create a video

The video would have been made without a team, without expertise, without a plan, a budget, a script or even the right equipment to film the video. I’ve said that I would do my best, but that the quality of the movie would be very questionable at best. At the day before I’ve asked some advice from a friend of mine in the movie business, Bob van Schaik, about what to best do. He also advice very much against it, but if we should go through with it we should have a decent camera and audio equipment.

In the morning I stretched the importance of the equipment and the lack of all the things above. But that is off course not in the entrepreneurial spirit. Go, Go, GO! I’ve tried to do it on my own, but I don’t like the outcome of the movie. It is just of too poor quality. I feel like I’ve put people down and that just sucks. This morning we have decided that we are going to do it differently. Waisted a minimum of 9 hours creating something I’m not proud of. One of the first things I’m really frustrated with since I’ve joined DL. The lack of planning and budget when you work in a startup.

We didn’t finish it, because it was just not good enough and lacked audio but here it is…

We saw that it was a mistake to create a movie on such short notice. Especially with the long list of things we needed and didn’t have. So hopefully next time we’ll chose another path to create a movie, with a little of a lot more preparation.

See the followup post on how the creation of the movie went after this.

Hope you did also enjoy my whining once in a while.

– Bas

Video for Jana and her team

The other kind of work I do at DL is to provide for the participants as much as I can. Sometimes it’s help them writing an English mail. Sometimes it is prepare them with their pitch, and sometimes you just listen to their stories, because most of them have been through a lot, and I mean a whole lot. Prosecution, life threatening situations, war you name it.

The video for Jana

Luckily you can help them a lot by doing these things, but every now and then you can also implement some of the skills you acquired from your studies. Most of the time you have to think on your feet, like last week I had to make a movie on a days notice. Without a script, a product or even a camera. Only a story to sell, which in my respect was fortunately a great one.

I immediately contacted everyone I knew that I could borrow a camera from and luckily one of my friends had one I could pick up the next morning. The next morning the participants first had a lecture on theater to improve their pitching skills, which after we could start with the movie. I gave them the assignment to write me a small text explaining their project in as beautiful and specific language that is possible. the other part was that they showed me a couple of short movies that they found very compelling and had to do with their project, called Fashionize. We brainstormed and we got started. I coached and polished the pitch she was going to put on film and we shot the text in one take. I took some fills as well, of the clothing she brought and of herself. After this I went editing and went back twice for some shots I had to do over or to take some new ones. This is the result. Not great, but with the time we had I’m still pretty proud of what we made.

 

Conclusion

It was wonderful to work for one of the teams in this way. In this way I also improved my skills as a movie maker. A skill that we might need in the future, because we don’t know if the movie maker we have chosen is going to go through with helping us out with a movie.
Especially on a moments notice, creating a movie is a hard one. Without a planning, a script or the props we needed it is a hard job to do. I guess this is what it means to be part of a startup. Luckily I pulled it off and Jana was very pleased with what we created.  Thanks for your faith in me Jana!

– Bas

My first video on Delitelabs

I made my first movie on Delitelabs to see if I could make a example video for the people who have to have a overview of what we want with the crowdfunding movie. I asked a couple of people on feedback from the studie Art and Technologie with their main subject movies. The main critical points were that There was no call to action, a few technical problems like lightning, resolution, one shot was not in focus and the audio behind the movie was incompatible with the imagery. I learned a lot from this and thereby can do it better next time.

Conclusion

We are not there yet with the movie, but then again I’m not a movie maker. I have tried my best and hopefully I can make it happen that we arrange for a more professional movie maker to make us a movie. If not, then I have to up my game, which is always a good thing to do I think. Read about my first contact with an SAE student, the talk with our moviemaker, my own preparation of the CFvideo and the making of the crowdfunding video.