by: Valto Loikkanen

Yesterday I received an email to Grow VC from Laura Williams in Cleveland Ohio. She had started her own crowdfunding project to open up a new cupcake store, without even knowing there is such model called crowdfunding.

Here’s her email:

Dear Grow VC,

My name is Laura Williams and I am the owner of LaBella Cupcakes here in Cleveland, OH. I am also currently following you on Twitter (LaBellaCupcakes).

What led me to your site was an initiative that I rolled out via Twitter where I am asking anyone who would like to donate (sponsor) me in helping me open up my first retail store can do so via my website. In exchange, I am giving them free cupcakes pound for pound so to speak, my cupcakes are $2.50 a piece, so if someone sponsors us with a $20 donation, they would receive 8 cupcakes when we open.

When a company contacted me yesterday because they wanted to use me as a good example of  “Crowd Funding” I had never heard this term before until yesterday. I basically thought that my idea of pooling all of my customers and followers together was a great idea to help me launch my business but never knew there was an actual term for it.

So, as I started researching between yesterday and today, I came across your company. And from what I can gather, this concept of using crowd funding to help launch entrepreneurs is actually a fairly new one, so I guess I am getting on the right track at the right time.

So what my question to your company is, do you only invest in Tech companies or do you invest in companies such as mine? I noticed all of the places you are visiting and wished you were closer to where I live so that I could meet with you.

My goal is to raise $50,000 by April 30th. The retail shop that we found won’t stay available forever, so I have to try to raise the money in 60 days. I launched my initiative a week ago and so far we’ve had 15 sponsors donate $379.00.

I have one customer who believes in our product so much that he is willing to be an investor in my company.

There are only 2 other cupcake only bakeries here in Ohio and the one bakery sells 1,000 cupcakes per day. And sells out per day. Her cupcakes sell between $1.90 – $2.50 a piece.

If you would like to learn more about me, please visit
www.labellacupcakes.com.

Our sponsorship page is:
http://www.labellacupcakes.com/item_46/Would-you-like-to-sponsor-my-mom-and-help-her-open-up-her-very-first-store.htm

I look forward to hearing from you,

Sincerely,

Laura Williams
Owner
LaBella Cupcakes
Website: www.labellacupcakes.com
Phone: (216) 375-5303
Email: laura@labellacupcakes.com

I think this was such a great story and a great entrepreneurial effort, that even if we could not help her directly via Grow VC platform, I wanted to help a fellow entrepreneur and also help spread her story of crowdfunding. So I asked to blog about her story.

I also wanted to “practise what I preach” so I went to her crowdfunding page and bought 50$ worth of cupcakes and asked her to donate those cupcakes to nearby public daycare, if the store would actually be opened.

Just few hours ago, I got this confirmation from her to my email:

Dear Valto,

This email is to confirm your official sponsorship status for LaBella Cupcakes.

Your sponsorship donation amount is: $55.00

As mentioned on our website, our goal is to raise the money needed to open up our new gourmet cupcake bakery shop by April 30, 2010. If the money is not raised by April 30th, your sponsorship donation will be promptly refunded.

Per your request, your donation will be used to give cupcakes to a nearby daycare. The shop that we are looking to open at Kamms Corners has a daycare just a few doors down, they will be so pleased.

Please check back on our sponsorship page as we all watch the sponsorship dollars grow.

Thank you very much for your support!

Sincerely,

Laura

So there you have it (that $5 extra was for shipping). I think it’s great to see entrepreneurs finding new and more independent ways to move their business forward.  Let’s see if Laura will have her cupcake store crowdfunded :)


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About the author

Valto Loikkanen Valto is a co-founder of Grow VC, an entrepreneur who has started several companies across Europe and the US in the web and mobile fields. Forward thinking and always seeking the next big web and mobile success, as an entrepreneur, investor and advisor. Follow Valto on Grow VC, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+

This entry was posted on Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 4:32 pm and is filed under Entrepreneur Inspiration, How to invest in startups, Online Startup Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.