Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Crowdfunding: Marketing Brand, Validating Ideas, and Raising Capital

During the month of April, Dawn Daria and her partner Paul Miller are embarking on a new endeavor - launching a crowdfunding campaign. Although raising capital serves as one of the motivations, they are also looking to use the platform to market a new product and to validate an idea.

Dawn and Paul created Flow Circus over a decade ago as a business that utilizes performances and workshops to promote active learning and play through the juggling arts. Paul has performed his comedy juggling and magic show nationally, including Disney Cruise Lines and Off-Broadway. A former WCPSS teacher, Dawn joined Flow Circus in 2007 to enhance program development, create curriculum, and conduct market research. Flow Circus has impacted thousands of tweens, teens, and families leading to growing sales each year. In 2011, they won Small Business of the Year from the Wake Forest Chamber and in 2012 Dawn won a Moonbeam Children's Book Award for her debut book Grounded for Good.

In 2012, they had the idea for Skoyz, a web-app to make skills development more accessible, provide an on-line journal of personal growth, and build a community of engaged, individuals seeking new challenges. Last year, they began developing the app with the first iteration out this month. Skoyz (named for the skill toys that have inspired Paul and Dawn’s own skills journey) will allow teen and adult users to learn through curated instructional videos, log and notate practice sessions, and share out accomplishments through social media channels. The initial set of videos will include juggling and other skill toys, but other skills will be added in the future. Users will be able to customize their own content and set their own personal growth goals. Learn more at Skoyz.com.

This month’s campaign on Indiegogo has motivated them to develop a media blitz in an attempt to introduce Skoyz and Skoyz Wellness ­­to the world. Dawn and Paul have redesigned their skills acquisition programs for the corporate market to address the growing concerns regarding employee engagement and whole person wellness (visit SkoyzWellness.com to learn more). Already featured in a Bloomsberg Business Week column and collaborating with Fox 50 for an April promotion, Dawn and Paul also plan to get their Indiegogo campaign covered in a number of other media sources, blogs, and social media channels so that Skoyz becomes a national brand.

Most importantly, the campaign provides the opportunity to test a concept and start building a community of users now. Through the rewards chosen, supporters can provide feedback and indicate that it is a project that should move forward in development. What do you think? Visit Indiegogo.com/projects/skoyz after April 1st and show your support. Feel free to contact Dawn if you have questions or creative suggestions to help spread the word.