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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Agronomics: Crowdfunding

Agronomics: Crowdfunding. Thinking of starting an agribusiness? think outside the bank, crowdfunding is the new seed capital,consider the resources on your computer before running to a local lender or cutting into your savings or resorting to bank loans. Crowdfunding sites grant access to a world of potential investors willing to fork over capital in hopes of future rewards, such as bottles of honey, discounted CSA shares, or behind-the-scenes farm tours. While launching a campaign is free, most sites take 4 to 9 percent of the total amount raised and charge credit card processing fees. Find the right platform. Kickstarter.com provides the most reach with 900,000 daily unique visitors —and the highest likelihood that your page will get lost in the crowd. The ag-specific barnraiser.us has a relatively meager 900 daily visitors, but all are interested in supporting growers, artisan food producers, and the like. In fact, campaigns on the site reach their goals at twice the rate of those on other platforms. Nurture your network. No matter which site you choose, it’s unwise to assume that strangers will stumble across your page. The vast majority of online backers know the person they’re supporting. In 2015, Colin McCrate, founder of the Seattle Urban Farm Company, secured $30,000 on Barnraiser to construct four new greenhouses. “Most of the people who donated were already in our community,” he says, “so I wish I’d spent more time on the front end, building that up. We might have been able to raise even more.” Focus on your customer base, growing e-mail lists and your social media presence. continue