Tag Archives: crowd funding

CSUF Student-Entrepreneur Project – Nissan GT-R

Every semester in the Marketing 450 Visual Marketing course students are tasked with creating a short film about something that they love. One of the students in the class this semester is Evan Ewing and he has decided to do his project and the Nissan GT-R. But he needs some help to pull this off. Here’s the info:

This film is by fans and enthusiasts, for fans and enthusiasts. The goal is to create the most epic film showcasing the Nissan GT-R. Our team is going to capture incredible aerial footage with the use of drones and airplanes. The film will take place throughout Southern California, mainly in the Los Angeles area. We’re hoping to stretch our goal so we can film some shots in San Diego, Anza-Borrego desert, San Gorgonio Mtn, and other beautiful places.

The Story

“Starving students” often have great ideas for projects that are never pursued simply because of budget constraints. For Evan’s visual marketing film project, he wants to create an incredible piece that truly captures the engineering & aesthetic beauty of the GT-R. With the support of Kickstarter and car enthusiasts, we can create a film that celebrates one of the greats.

Nissan GT-R

Where will your money go?

– Drone for aerial footage

– Airplane rental for aerial footage

– Car rental

– Professional equipment

– Travel/Locations

– Sustenance


Risks and challenges

(Learn about accountability on Kickstarter)

Dealing with equipment/location issues that are inherent in the filming process. We have multiple location backup scenarios if unforeseen events transpire. One of the greater challenges is sifting through thousands of video clips and producing a seamless edit. This will be conquered by extreme attention to detail & precision during the editing process.

Backers will be updated with progress during the funding period.
If production setbacks should arise, backers will be notified if it affects rewards delivery times. Everything should be on time as of now.

Thanks for your support!



In case you haven’t heard President Obama signed into law a bill that is aimed at helping out new ventures, something we are keenly interested in. The bipartisan effort aims to help fast growing new ventures by delaying the point at which they will need to register with the SEC and comply with all of their regulations. The law purportedly helps out crowd funding sites as well.

From FoxNews.com:

The main part of the bill would phase in Securities and Exchange Commission regulations over a five-year period to let smaller companies go public sooner. Firms that have annual gross revenues of less than $1 billion would enjoy this “emerging growth company” status.


In addition to the emerging growth company and crowd-funding provisions, the legislation removes SEC regulations preventing small businesses from using advertisements to attract investors and raises from 500 to 2,000 the number of shareholders a company or community bank can have before it must register with the SEC.

And Business Week captures some of the statements from the signing ceremony:

“America has always had the most daring entrepreneurs in the world,” Obama said at a signing ceremony at the White House. “Some of them are standing with me today. When their ideas take root, we get inventions that can change the way we live. And when their businesses take off, more people become employed,” he said.


Helping startup companies “is more concerned with getting Washington out of the way than getting it more involved,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement. “This bill is exactly the kind of thing Americans have been asking for — greater freedom and flexibility.”

Here’s a video of the President saying some words before signing the bill.

What do you think of this law? Will it actually help small businesses who are set on going public? How will it affect a crowd funding site like Kickstarter?

5 Tips for Getting Funded on Kickstarter

Kickstarter is one of those ideas that grabs you by the lapels shoulders and makes you pay attention. That’s especially so now that Kickstarter boasts three projects that have raised over one million dollars (that’s $1,000,000+ for numerophiles). Of those three projects one is a video game, one is a design project and another a comic (seriously). A fourth, which is still in the funding phase, has already raised over $1M; it’s another video game.

Yesterday, we had a post about a CSUF Entrepreneurship alum who is trying to raise some money through Kickstarter. While doing some research for that post I was able to get a pretty good idea about what separates the ideas that get funded from those that do not. Here’s 5 tips on how to raise money off of Kickstarter:

1. Have a large network

According to the Kickstarter blog, the project that has raised the most money to date did so with 71% of the people being “first-time backers” of a project on Kickstarter. That seems to be the biggest hurdle because without a lot of people willing to put in a decent amount of money the project will never get funded. Sure, smaller projects in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 can get away with not having a large network backing it up but if you want more you have to have the manpower to back it up.

2. Give back

In this instance “giving back” doesn’t mean doing charitable work. In this instance giving back means you need to act like PBS and give awards for different levels of backing. And these awards have to be cool, useful and exclusive. For Double Fine Adventures, the game that raised over $3M, a $15 backer would get a computer version of the game while a $10,000 backer would get lunch with some of the creators, a tour of their offices and all of the other awards for different donation levels as well. It’s hard to get more exclusive than that.

3. Do an awesome project

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but awesome isn’t. The Elevation Dock, which is the design project that raised over $1M, is awesome. It’s a dock for your iPhone and all units “…are individually CNC machined from solid billets of aircraft grade aluminum, no expense spared.” Taking the ubiquitous iPhone/iPod dock and making it useful and a piece of art makes this project awesome. While something may be awesome for you please check with others to make sure that your awesome-meter isn’t in need of some adjusting before resting all of your dreams on funding from Kickstarter.

4. Be reasonable

One of the ingenious rules of Kickstarter is that if a project does not reach its funding goal at the end of the funding period then the project gets nothing. Conversely, you don’t want to put the goal really low and promise a lot of great gifts to your backers because then it surely will get funded but you will probably not have enough funding to do what you say you are going to do. Perhaps the best way to go is to plan out your project (including costs) and strip it down to the barest necessities (including costs). That would be a good amount to ask for on Kickstarter. If the community latches onto your idea there’s no rule against ratcheting up your idea later on, which is something the big projects have done.

5. Be compelling

Copy writing is boring but it’s absolutely necessary. Take a look at any of the big projects that I have linked to throughout this post and you will see that they have written some compelling stories. And that is probably the key: make your quest for funding a story. Double Fine Adventures made their pitch into an “us versus them” kind of scenario between independent publishers and the behemoth publishers. Being compelling means writing a great story. It also means making a great video. Tell your story well enough to make others believe in you and fund your project.

Bonus Tip: Get the word out

While I was working on the Kickstarter post from yesterday I ran into a major problem. I wanted to put the video into this WordPress blog but couldn’t (before you go on about how to embed videos into a WP blog let me stop you, it just wasn’t going to happen using my work computer). Here’s the point: put the word out there and make it easily embeddable. Put your video(s) on YouTube (which makes videos really easy to embed), give updates on your blog or company’s website, post these things on Facebook, link to it on Twitter, make a mention of it on LinkedIn. You should also run your idea by bloggers in your niche (or close enough to it) and try to get them to write a post or two about it. Kickstarter, like many other things, is a cold numbers game. Only a certain percentage of people interested in your idea will be willing to fund your project so the more people you can get interested in your project the better are your chances for getting funding.

There are a lot of other tips out there for Kickstarter. In fact, Kickstarter has a long list of posts regarding to tips. So, if you have a great idea that you need to get funded I have already put you on the right track, the left is up to you.

Kickstarter: Project Natalia

Kickstarter is a company that we have written about before. Basically, what it does is connects people who want to do a project with people who are willing to help fund that project. That’s where Project Natalia comes in.

Our film will introduce the world to a young woman [Natalia] who exudes passion, enthusiasm and positivity in everything she pursues. An ultimate survivor, Natalia uses the extreme challenges of her life to fuel her insatiable desire to help others. She may be a victim of CP [Cerebral Palsy], but she is not a victim.

This project will follow Natalia’s journey from travel to treatment, through recovery and its life-changing effect…. The procedures will be performed at a world-renowned hospital in Shanghai, China. Each treatment requires a four-month stay at the hospital’s recovery facility.

We are aware that asking for $500,000 to fund Project Natalia is a hefty sum for a documentary. Please keep in mind there are multiple laws for filmmaking in China that significantly increase production costs. Accompanied with travel expenses that come with spending four months overseas, the total cost of this project will most likely exceed our goal.

Project Natalia

Here is a picture of Natalia from her video on the Kickstarter website

This is an audacious goal but it looks like it is worth doing. She is an immigrant, heading off to China for cutting-edge treatment of a debilitating disease; that’s compelling fodder for a documentary. Wouldn’t you be willing to pay $25 to see how this all ends up?

Actually, you can. That’s basically how Kickstarter works. Somebody or some team, like Natalia and her team, have an idea, post it on Kickstarter and ask for funding. In exchange for certain levels of funding the donor will get something in return somewhere down the line as long as the project gets completed.

In this instance, if you donated $25 to Project Natalia you would receive a DVD of the documentary when (and if) it gets completed. If you really wanted to support this project and donate $5,000 you would get a role in the documentary.

As of the writing of this post Project Natalia has not raised much money. Their goal is to raise $500,000 and they have only raised $1,435 to date and they only have 39 days to go before the funding window closes. Raising the rest of that money is a tall order but with a little help she might just be able to make her documentary.