Monday, August 5, 2013

Bill McNeely of StartUpGuru TV: What Crowdfunding Success Looks Like!

When Bill McNeely was looking for support to launch his start-up company, he turned to Repay Vets to raise funding to attend Techstars Patriot Boot Camp, an annual conference to provide business training for entrepreneurial veterans.

But Bill, formerly an Army officer, enlisted Marine, and Iraq veteran, didn’t just post his campaign online and hope for the best – he worked out a detailed project plan, followed up on every potential lead and donation, and conducted his own campaign for support on a personal Twitter account and other social media.

His advice to other veterans looking to use Repay Vets to raise support for their business or other needs boils down to this: be prepared, be specific, and be responsive.

“The key to any start-up funding effort is the plan,” says Bill. “You need to do your research, talk to people, and then take some time to write something which really tells people how their money will be used and why they should contribute.”

His business idea, StartupGuru TV, needed to be further developed and he wanted to acquire additional skills to launch a business. So Bill started a campaign on Repay Vets to raise the money he needed for Techstars Patriot Boot Camp. Once he posted his detailed plan and budget for the trip on the Repay Vets website ( he then tweeted it to his personal twitter followers, several times a week, and asked them to retweet to others.

He was able to raise the money he needed (almost $800) through Repay Vets and attended the conference. As a result, he connected with with a mentor and co-founder, Brian Williams, and is working with Leaderzville to create a high school entrepreneurship program as well.

After speaking to people in the crowd-funding industry Bill had some other tips as well for potential fundraisers. “The first 30 percent of funding is most important to getting more supporters, and that will mostly come from your friends and family. You need to get the ball rolling so people who don’t know you will have the confidence to support you as well,” he says.

Be realistic about what kind of funds you will be able to raise, he adds. Also, advises keeping a campaign short, about 30-45 days, so it doesn’t lose momentum with potential supporters. Make a video, or use one which explains your project, if you possibly can, Bill says.

Most important is communication. Answer peoples’ questions, use Twitter to get the word out, and by all means thank anyone who chooses to support you. “If people choose to support you, you need to show your appreciation for that,” Bill says.


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