We spoke to Anshulika Dubey, Co-Founder | Strategy at Wishberry.in about crowd funding.
Srinivas Sunderrajan, a bassist in a metal band and an innovative filmmaker, wanted to make a movie called the Greater Elephant. Based on a mahout who has lost his elephant, a faithless constable, a fangless Dracula (and many others), Greater Elephant delves into the hunt for something significant and meaningful. Vasuda Sharma, an artist who rose to fame in her earlier days at Aasma, the famous Channel V band, went on to study at the Berklee College of Music. Her dream was to get artists from across the globe together and produce an album that brought to life a fusion of western and classical music—Stay Attuned.
What was obstructing both these artists from realising their dreams? Money. Srinivas lacked funds to market his movie or sell it to theatres and the distribution of Greater Elephant largely restricted to friends and family. Vasuda needed the money to hire the right music technology and bring together all the people she wanted in the album. Similarly, many other creative and innovative people in this country face the problem of limited funding and most ideas die without having a chance to be implemented.
The first online crowdfunding website in India, Wishberry hopes to solve this issue by democratising funding and spurring inventive projects all over the country. In the past 2 years, 600 projects have come to life by using Wishberry; they have been able to raise a total of Rs. 3 Crores from 8,000 funders.
So what is crowdfunding? It is simply raising funds from the crowd for the project you want to create. The crowd can fund almost anything, as small as Rs. 50 to as large as Rs. 2 lakhs! And all this is done using the website Wishberry. The funds can be contributed by using debit/credit cards or by simply placing a cash/cheque home pick up order on the website. Now what does the crowd get in return? Crowdfunding is not simple charity; the crowd gets back exclusive rewards such as VIP entry to gigs, invites to the launch, even acknowledgement as a producer in the rolling credits of the film. Rewards are exclusive, limited edition and simply things money can’t buy. And the best part is that funders can choose the rewards too.
Crowdfunding on Wishberry isn’t simple though. Every project has to fit into one of creative and innovative fields the company has chosen to work in. The project then has to be submitted using an online form and is evaluated on Wishberry guidelines. These artists and innovators are chosen after careful consideration and only then are allowed to create a crowdfunding campaign on Wishberry. The three most important elements that Wishberry looks for in a project are the novelty of an idea and its execution plan, an engaging pitch video and great rewards. The pitch video must engage and interest the funders, gripping them with the details of the project, the rewards being provided and all the reasons they should want to fund it. The rewards must be intriguing and desirable, seducing people into funding the campaign there and then. But most of all, the idea of project cannot be run of the mill and has to be different, and must have a USP. That’s exactly what Srinivas and Vasuda had. A great idea for their films and music album respectively, a kickass pitch video and extremely interesting rewards—from a cameo in the film to a date with the artists.
Once you have all the right elements for the campaign, the last thing you need is a shameless attitude to market it among everyone you know; your colleagues, friends, fans, followers, family, and if needed even the enemies. Vasuda and Srinivas did just that. The two went all out on social media to make their campaign viral. They made sure that friends, family and everyone they met along the way shared, tweeted and funded the project. Srinivas visited a film festival in Denmark during the campaign and didn’t forget to spread the campaign at the event. Vasuda even tapped the music fraternity from getting Shankar Mahadevan to spread the campaign on Facebook to getting Vishal Dadlani to even fund the highest amount. They were not only aggressive on Facebook and Twitter but also made sure music and film bloggers wrote about the campaign as well, that helped garner more attention to their campaigns. Moreover, they made sure their NRI friends also funded the campaign with their dollars; a fan from London funded Rs. 2.5 lacs for Srinivas’s film. Vasuda also engaged in offline collections by organizing an unplugged night for her family where she sang for everyone and collected money right then and there!
Wishberry strongly believes that a creative and innovative idea should be able to see the light of day. But with a lot of traditional investors being interested in only profit margins or setting a load of restrictions on your idea and its implementation, a better alternative needed to exist. Wishberry provides that alternative route; it provides the solution, making sure creative ideas are constantly born and executed. So do you have what it takes to go fund yourself?