Ninety-three startups from 45 cities across the country have been challenged to raise $50,000 each over five weeks. To help teams achieve that goal, they are run through a series of webinars, focused on topics ranging from how to obtain early-stage contributions from family and friends to delivering the proper pitch.
Even better, at the end of the four weeks, teams are able to keep whatever money they raised, as opposed to the Kickstarter model, where individuals can only cash out if they reached their entire goal. As supporters make contributions, startups are able to receive the funding that same day, helping them accelerate at a faster pace.
Over 200 startups applied to VoltCrowd, yet the 93 finalists were chosen based on how concisely they pitched their idea, as well as how ready they were to start hiring. “The obvious reason we started this was to help startups get funding,” says Babson MBA Johan de Borst, founder of Find Boomer. “But we also wanted to create jobs.” Other factors taken into consideration were market size, social media reach and the quality of the team.
VoltCrowd’s finalists feature a wide range of professionals, including a Paramount Studios executive, a Britney Spears’ opening act and a Today Show guest speaker, according to de Borst, whose goal has continued to be “to reduce the startup failure rate.”
Although the Challenge will come to a close December 20th, de Borst claims this will be the first round of many more VoltCrowd initiatives. He admits he would like to put on three or four challenges a year. Launcht co-founder Spencer Taylor says they see the format “being totally replicable” and that there is “a lot of opportunity,” especially to work more closely with universities.