Maxeme Tuchman shared the lessons they learned when raising over $1M in VC-funding for her startup.
Recently, Kristen Sonday shared the lessons she learned when raising over $1M in VC-funding for her startup. To show just how diverse funding options can be, Max Tuchman shares how she navigated raising $1.7M by going the equity crowdfunding route.
Tuchman is the co-founder of Caribu, which offers an interactive video-call experience for parents and grandparents who want to read and draw with the children in their lives.
“Children can now do an activity or read a book together with a loved one no matter how far apart they are,” shares Tuchman. “We have hundreds of books on the platform, in eight languages, and families reading and drawing together through a Caribu Call in 160+ countries.”
Deciding to go the equity crowdfunding route came down to factors Tuchman expands on below, but at the heart of the business, the decision was the desire to live up to the company’s mission.
“Video-call technology wasn’t built for children, and it doesn’t lend itself to reading a book together,” explains Tuchman. “And because our company was [originally] inspired by the US military, we’ve partnered with the non-profit, Blue Star Families, to donate free subscriptions of Caribu to all currently serving US military.”
As the donations trickled in, Tuchman adds that one of the strategies that helped keep the momentum going was using social media effectively.
“We found that sharing our wins on social and through updates on our Wefunder page, videos that told our story and shared our drive and vision, and FB ads were the most effective tools,” notes Tuchman.
Timing is everything
Being honest about when and why you want to raise funds can help guide the route you chose to pursue. For Tuchman, the decision became easier when she realized what season they were in when they were going to start to raise.
“It was originally out of necessity [that we chose this route] since we knew we’d have to raise funds over the summer,” explains Tuchman. “Investors are usually on vacation over the summer, so they meet with their partners less, and it’s really difficult to get their attention. We also knew it would be a good option for us since we’re a consumer product that’s easy to understand. We solve a very common pain point that many families struggle with, which is having boring and unengaging video-calls with the toddlers in their life.”
Your company is unique so how you fund it can be too
Don’t get distracted by others who may be self-funding or raising rounds, holding yourself to others’ standards or expectations doesn’t always resonate for where you actually are. Your company is unique, and this is a good thing.
“My advice is to be creative in finding ways to fund your company,” encourages Tuchman. “There are many investors out there that will try to offer you a bad deal because they think that they are your only option, that’s not true nowadays. We’ve raised $3M+ in funding through grants, pitch competition winnings, VCs, and equity crowdfunding.”
Word of mouth is still the best publicity
“I was motivated each day by how many of our investors were our core customers, who struggled to have great video-calls with their kids and grandkids and were hungry for something better,” shares Tuchman. “I was so amazed at how many people became investors and customers and told their friends about us. We ended up with about 30% of our investors being women and people of color, and have an investor in each state in the US, including DC and PR, and from 27 countries.”
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