Thursday, 29 November 2012

Help Write the Next Crowdfunding Book

Crowdfunding is taking hold in the UK rapidly with more organisations using it for commercial and charitable purposes, finding a lifeline where traditional forms of funding and investment are not available. Plans for a new book about crowdfunding have been announced by Modwenna Rees-Mogg, founder and CEO of Angel News, one of Europe's leading news service for the investment market. Research is currently underway and Modwenna is calling on anyone involved in crowdfunding to take part in a survey that will help shape the book.

Angel News was founded by Modwenna in 2003 initially as a hobby project. The idea came about after having identified a gap in the provision of investment news, specifically information about companies involved in funding rounds which left investors with little knowledge on the progress of their investments. Since then it has grown into a leading provider of information on over 1,800 rapidly growing businesses, as well as promoting investment opportunities to its network of angel investors and venture capitalists. Angel News also holds events every two months on hot topics surrounding the investment culture including exit strategies, as well as preparing the perfect pitch. 

The survey is aimed at those who are or have been involved in crowdfunding, specifically project owners, crowdfunding service providers or platforms, and investors who have donated to projects. To take part and help shape a potentially insightful and informative UK publication on crowdfunding, click on the following links;
Early participants could be in with a chance of winning a free copy of the book with around 150 to be awarded, that is fifty copies to the first fifty people who take part in the surveys. The book is as yet untitled and currently undergoing research. It is however billed as being a book written by the crowd for the crowd.

Image Credit; Alex E Proimos

Monday, 26 November 2012

Marketing Tips For Your Crowdfunding Project

So you have an idea for a project whether it be a business idea, an invention or a great way to help a charitable cause. What is lacking is the necessary funds to make the dream a reality. The banks are reluctant to loan the money and enticing investors is harder due to the current financial climes so crowdfunding becomes the potential financial lifeline for the project.

Crowdfunding in principle sounds straight forward; post a project online and invite the crowd to make a donation that will help fund the project, with a promise of some exciting rewards to follow. However, as previously reported on the Gazette there is much for a project owner to consider before embarking on the crowdfunding venture that could make or break their campaign. These include laying the groundwork, building up interest through regular & social media, as well as regular updates and promotion before the deadline for reaching the target has expired. Ben Hamilton of Pleasefundus presents some watertight marketing tips for your crowdfunding project.

Image Credit; Howard Lake

Saturday, 17 November 2012

UK Artist Aims for Third Crowdfunded Album Success

Acclaimed British musician and artist Tallulah Rendall is once again looking to crowdfunding to help produce her latest album. Having enjoyed crowdfunding success with her first two albums, the latest entitled "The Banshee and The Moon" looks set to follow in their success. Unlike other artists, who use crowdfunding platforms,Tallulah is raising the funds needed directly through her website, offering supporters a plethora of rewards including an invitation to a one off studio recording session in which the crowd can not only watch but also participate in the recording process.

London born Tallulah is the daughter of John Rendall, famous for buying a lion cub from Harrods in 1969 then releasing it into the wild, and high profile Marketing & PR consultant and author Liz Brewer. Tallulah is a graduate of Manchester University with an honours degree in Latin American Combined Studies, American Liturature and Film. In 2006 she used crowdfuding to finance her first EP "Without Time", which was released to critical acclaim. Following on from that success, Tallulah once again took to crowdfunding this time her first album "Libellus in 2009". Unlike digital downloads and standard CD compilations, "Libellus" was released with a seven inch hardback book featuring an assortment of photographs and artwork by various artists. This set the format for her subsequent crowdfunded 2010 album "Alive". Tallulah's work has earned praise from the likes of musician Jools Holland and prominent newspapers such as the Evening Standard and Daily Mail. 

"The Banshee and the Moon", Tallulah's third album will be produced by Danton Supple who has worked with Coldplay, Kylie Minogue and Amy MaDonald. Crowdfunding once again will play a big role in financing Tallulah's latest album, however unlike other artists, she will be using her own website through which supporters can pledge their donations. The use of her own website means that no extra funds are needed to cover percentage costs levied by crowdfunding platforms. This leaves all the money raised to be spent on producing the album, which will not only be presented in hardback but feature Tallulah's own artwork and short stories. She is looking to raise £18,000 by the end of the month and to date has already reached 50% of her funding target. 
A third album is more expensive as new levels are reached and aspired to. To keep the costs realistic we decided, having firmly established the trust and the relationships, and proved herself as an artist, with stamina and commitment, we would keep the amount needed relatively the same by not raising a percentage in commission required by a site. - Melanie Gow, Manager and Mobile Photographer
In return for their donations, starting from as little as £10, supporters will receive a variety of rewards including various limited edition merchandise as well as digital copies and even signed limited editions of the album itself. For those who are able to donate significant sums supporters will be rewarded with an acoustic performance by Tallulah for £750 either at their home or venue of choosing, a concert at any chosen venue (£1,500), or even a song written for those who pledge £2,000. As well as funding, Tallulah is inviting supporters to pledge £100 for which they will be rewarded with a ticket only invitation. The studio event will offer ticket holders an opportunity to see how music is recorded in all it's maddening wonder. Supporters can simply observe and learn or participate in a recording. The event will be held on 17th December 2012 by which time Tallulah and her crew should be midway through recording and will be happy to provide an update on the project.

Since her debut EP Tallulah has been hailed as a performer who breaks boundaries which is evident in both her artwork and music. Through crowdfunding, she has not only succeeded in getting her work out to audiences without going through the conventional recording and studio companies, but has engaged her audience through the collaborative power of crowdfunding allowing them to be more than just listeners. For more information on the project and how to make a donation click here to visit the site. 

Image Credit; Melanie Gow  

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

[Gallery Post] Use it or Lose It; Get Out and Vote

With less than 24 hours to go till Bristol (and others in the UK) will be voting for this city's first ever Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner I feel the need to get this out in open. I might incite some anger from those I know and there may be some falling out but I feel it needs to be said. If you don't care about these elections (or any further upcoming ones for that matter) and are choosing not to vote at all then shame on you.

I cannot stress this enough; voting is a fundamental right and tremendous privilege that we enjoy in this country. It enables us to empower those parties or individuals we feel will best serve our needs and that of the country (which I like to think are one and the same). There are people out in the world who would and do in fact die for this right to put a mark on a piece of paper that gives power and takes it away so easily. Frankly allowing apathy to throw away this right when others are desperately in need of it is akin to wasting food when there are people starving in the world. Yet each year more people spoil their ballot papers or stay away from the polls either because they don't care or feel it changes nothing. To be fair though I can understand why the sentence "I don't give a shit" is frequently uttered whenever it's election time. 

Time after time some seriously droll individuals mostly with privilege backgrounds hog the news or have leaflets with their bile inducing smiles plastered over them grace our doorsteps asking us to put society's well being in their hands. They want us to know they are qualified and trustworthy, that they understand our despondency and offer themselves as the ultimate cure to our life's woes. They all just seem largely the same to the point where political party branding becomes a rainbow of colours that look different but essentially represent the same idea of grabbing keys to the seat of power for one's own ends. After all why should we trust people who seek out such responsibility with the  gusto of a lion stalking a zebra? One just has to look at the poverty levels, crime rates, not to mention the current financial crisis to be distrustful of politicians and world leaders. It does make you ask "why bother?"

During his "Audience with.....", Billy Connolly urged us not to vote for politicians because it only encourages them. He might have been right but surely the alternative, i.e not  to vote is far worse. Political apathy is running rife in the UK because we feel that change is not possible that at the end of the day all politicians at their core are as bad as each other. Perhaps, but thinking that change isn't possible is a poor excuse not to go to the polls, because voting can get you the elected officials into office who will represent your interests. If you don't believe me ask any devout Tory voter, Obama supporter or those Arab Spring nations who recently entered into the democracy game. All it takes is a trip to your nearest polling station, stand in a rickety booth and put an X to the arse licking *ahem* I mean candidate you feel is the best one for the job at hand. 

Again rushing to your defence the politics game has changed over the years especially with the advent of the Internet. Gone are the days when vote grabbers knock at your door, smile and ask if they can count on your vote. Today websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts etc are awash with cyber door to door campaigners laying out their agenda, making promises, calling voters to action. Yet not everybody is Internet savvy enough to find these people, learn what they're all about and make an informed decision. That needs to change. Yes mayoral and PCC candidates should do more to entice our interest, something which is sorely lacking in politics but also shouldn't we take more responsibility to learn all we can about these historic and potentially life changing elections and get our voices heard? Politicians are not perfect and the game requires us more to settle rather than support someone  truly inspirational and makes us believe in real change. This is better than doing nothing.

In May we were asked to vote on whether or not Bristol should have a mayor. It incensed me that only 25% of the voting public actually bothered to vote. The Yes campaign won with barely 50% of the vote which means around a measly 13% of registered voters changed the political face of our city. I find that galling and it's about time we stopped making the same tired excuses and accept that elections affect our lives at every level. At least by voting you have the say and if your chosen candidate isn't elected you can sleep soundly in the knowledge that you tried, and the next day moan to your heart's content. If you don't participate you lose the right to complain. I must confess I am sorely disappointed with many aspects of the candidates up for Mayor, and know little about the PCC. Yet I will be voting because I have that right unlike others in the world, it's one I don't intend to lose and who knows I might be pleasantly surprised. I just hope the future of this city will not be determined by a small percentage of its voting population. If so then how can we decry dictatorships and call ourselves a democracy when we don't even value the very fundamental right that people around the world fight and die for, a right that our leaders will take away from us if they see it isn't being used. So get out and vote; use it or lose it.

To learn more about the tomorrow's elections visit the Bristol 24/7 website by clicking here.

Image Credit; FutUndBiedl, Daz Smith

Thursday, 8 November 2012

[Gazette Profile] AdultXFund; Crowdfunding for The Adult Industry

The latest industry hoping to reap the potential rewards crowdfunding has to offer is the world of adult news and entertainment. AdultXFund was announced at xBiz EU, the adult industry's leading international digital media conference held in London September this year. The fledgling platform offers owners of adult themed projects resources from which to crowdfund their venture and revolutionise the adult industry for the digital world.

AdultXFund was set up by JCaz Limited, a UK based company owned and operated by Jason Maskell with over 14 experience specialising in adult content for digital media. Working within the global adult industry, JCaz has overseen the development of a range of products and services including Mobile Apps, DVD production & distribution, as well as the use of social media. The idea for AdultXFund was devised when JCaz was approached by various interested parties looking for alternative funding for a variety of adult projects. After Jason undertook extensive research of an assortment of relevant forums and platforms, it seemed that there was little interest within the crowdfunding community for this type of project.

The platform is open to any adult orientated projects including publications, websites, mobile apps, as well as film projects, and uses the all or nothing crowdfunding model. In return for 6.5% of the total funds raised, AdultXFund provides project owners ,through their extensive contacts within the industry, with advice and support for those looking to develop projects for the adult market, as well as a strong, secure and professional platform through partnership with Grow VC. There are also plans to offer additional marketing services for an additional charge. Projects featured on AdultXFund to date include a digital adult magazine and a production company looking to combine adult content with MTV style videos. Interested users can sign up and follow the progress of these projects as they move closer to launch.
We really want the public to be able to invest and take equity in adult projects that excite and interest them. - Jason Maskell, Founder AdultXFund
Controversy has often engulfed the adult industry with regards to its effects on human behaviour and society, as well as the concern over the distribution of illegal content. AdultXFind is open to any form of adult content whether it be news outlets, soft core or even hardcore content. It stresses however, the need for project owners to ensure that their venture is legal within their country of business, and offer support and advice to clear up any confusion as to legality.

The adult industry is not to everyone's liking yet it is still one that is very much in demand. Like any other industry it  has endured difficulties in this increasing turbulent financial climate.   AdultXFund looks set to open up the market to purveyors of adult content allowing opportunities for potentially exciting and innovative projects that could change the way the industry operates.

Image Credit; Copyright AdultXFund All Rights Reserved. Enquirers to .