Pavegen, a smart flooring startup whose tiles generate energy when people walk over them, recently closed a £2 million ($US3.1 million) crowdfunding round — 275% more than the £750,000 ($US1.1 million) the company originally hoped to raise.
Over 1,500 investors gave money to the 6-year-old company during its campaign on Crowdcube, including the CEO of global property giant Jones Lang LaSalle and Lord Howard Leigh, the co-founder of Cavendish Corporate Finance.
Pavegen has already installed its energy-generating flooring in London Mayor Boris Johnson’s office in City Hall; the favelas of Brazil; the Champs Elysees; and Federation Square in Melbourne. It will soon install its tiles outside the White House.
29-year-old founder Laurence Kemball-Cook told Business Insider: “Each tile generate up to 7 watts of power. If you have 20 tiles around a street light, that light will be powered all night long. It needs to be in a high footfall area, it has to have a footstep on average every 10 seconds.”
Given that Pavegen smashed its funding target, we asked Kemball-Cook what his top tips are for crowdfunding. Here’s what he said:
Set up a ‘mission control’
“We went into it with a really professional attitude, and a huge amount of energy has gone into the campaign. We created a mission control in our office of just a team on Crowdcube all the time. You have to respond within minutes to every question.
“You’ve got to have a really professional view on it. People are really judging you, it’s a beauty parade. We had to create a really high-quality business plan and video.”
Keep up your profile
“We also had to launch a lot of PR initiatives. It started with installation in Canary Wharf and it ended with us appointing Steve Jobs’ number 2 as one of our board advisers.”
Former Apple executive Jeff Martin joined Pavegen’s board of advisers earlier this month.
“We’ve made sure we drip fed the right news at the right time and had a whole comms plan around it. I did an event every single night for a month — I was completely broken at the end of it. I was a shadow of a man. We even did a TED talk on the final day.”
‘Seed’ the round
“You need to seed the round,” says Kemball-Cook. This means getting people to commit to invest before the crowdfund starts and to get them to put their money on the platform straight away.
Most people don’t want to be alone in backing a risky idea and getting above £100,000 can be key to reaching critical mass.
Kemball-Cook says: “We seeded the round with £350,000 from our investors already. That allowed us to hit momentum straight away. That’s really important for people to actually pre-seed the round, it’s not just about putting it on there and the cash coming in. You’ve actually got to work hard with a group of investors.”
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