Raising funds via video

In a new business, there are lots of little things to prepare for big milestones. Fundraising is usually one of the more dreaded tasks for a start-up. However, it can also be one of the most creative if you’re raising funds via video.

I have two funding opportunities due in the next month. One is a grant that requires a 60 second video pitch to get past the first round. The other one is for a crowdfunding opportunity.

For the 60 second video, I’ve really struggled to write a script that covers the most important points in that short time period. That’s basically about 175 words with my speaking pace – hardly 2-3 short paragraphs.

However, when I started to storyboard the scenes, I realised that I could actually reduce my script by adding subtitles to the video with that info. What can I say in pictures so that words are unnecessary? By writing it this way, I managed to get the spoken narrative down to just 120 words which allows more time for cut-away scenes.

I just have to make sure I capture compelling video. This is not an easy task unless you know what you’re doing. And I don’t – at least not from a technical point of view. I reckon that I could easily spend 2 days or more on capturing the video and editing alone for the 60 seconds of content.

This is going to be even more critical to do well with the crowdfunding campaign. There, I have to make an entertaining movie to capture my audience’s attention and dollars. To do the video professionally might require it’s own fundraising effort! Luckily, I think I’ll have some sponsors to help with that one.

It’s the 60 second video that will have to be done completely on my own due to budget. I’ve never made a real movie before, but I have written short scripts for a cartoon series. The cinematography is going to have to be amazing to tell the story well which makes this a bigger challenge for me since I have very little experience here.

Still, it actually sounds like fun. I’ve been playing with the two storyboards in my head. I don’t have a lot of time left to get this sorted, but if I have to do fundraising, I might as well make it as fun and creative as possible.

After all, I can’t control whether or not the funding is successful. However, I can give the audience the best show possible within my abilities and budget.

Funding via notes

This afternoon I met with an organisation that’s overseeing a grant opportunity. The challenge is that the funding round doesn’t close until the end of the September, and I obviously can’t depend on it either. The potential max grant is also nowhere near my financial needs even for the first product. So, I really need to become more serious about how I’m going to fund this business should everything work out okay from a product cost perspective.

My contact today mentioned notes as a funding option. I’m familiar with convertible notes which are essentially loans that turn into equity later if I bring on large investors. I’m also familiar with notes that can act as short-term loans, typically with a high interest rate. Both are certainly options that result in debt rather than giving up equity early.

Still, I was really interested in learning more about the SAFE note that he mentioned. After further research, it seems to be a newer way of obtaining financing without giving up equity or issuing debt early. Instead, it appears to offer share options at a heavily discounted rate should an equity funding round ever occur in the future.

I’ll have to ask my private equity friend about this further as this can definitely be an option, but I need to understand it much better before I can make that kind of decision. It’s really good to know that there are other ways of funding this business though.