As an aspiring tech entrepreneur, app designer, musician, artist, fashion designer or scientist you may well have thought about crowdfunding as a way to bring your idea to life. Financing new ventures through crowdfunding usually involves collecting small amounts of money from a group of people you will never meet or even talk to. While it may be a good mechanism to raise some capital to get started without having to take a loan, crowdfunding mostly happens online. It doesn’t let you truly interact with your future user base.
But that is about to change. One Spark Berlin is the first crowdfunding festival in Europe, combining the benefits of micro-donations with the valuable experience of meeting supporters face to face.
By bringing the traditional concept of crowdfunding offline, One Spark – which has had two successful events in Jacksonville, Florida – connects startups and creators directly to the people most likely to support them – their community. In return, the public can learn how crowdfunding works in a live format.
Taking place from September 12-14, One Spark will give creators a platform to present projects in five categories – art, innovation, music, science and technology – to visitors and investors at the Alte Münze. They can raise funds in different ways:
- Collect votes which translate into a percentage of a crowdfund worth more than €40,000 by scoring the most votes in your category.
- Impress the jury, with one each project selected from each category to receive an additional prize worth €1,500.
- Receive donations from attendees and backers around the world who believe in your project. The public can donate directly to a project through the app or website.
- Get investment. There will be angel investors looking for the next big thing.
And now there is also big news for local projects – the city authority’s Projekt Zukunft initiative has announced an award called the Berlin Prize, which will see €10,000 given to the best Berlin-based project. The prize is being sponsored by the Berlin Senate’s department for business, technology and research, and includes resources from the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRD).
Interacting directly with visitors allows creators to test the popularity of their products, get direct feedback and win new supporters.
Angel Torres attended last year’s One Spark event in Jacksonville with a project called Aurora. It is a location-based app that enables you to listen to local artists’ music while walking around town. Torres and his team went to One Spark to validate their product and learn what people thought about it, and they didn’t regret their decision.
He said: “The public response we got was just surreal. We gave out over 1,000 headphones to people at the event who wanted to test Aurora. This resulted in over 5,000 downloads and great personal feedback. Getting people excited about our product was our biggest win.”
Entrance to One Spark for the public is free, and if you don’t know how crowdfunding works then it’s a great way to find out by enjoying the live pitches, music, food and parties.
The event’s co-founder Elton Rivas believes that Berlin and One Spark are a perfect match: “Berlin is the European home for makers, startups, innovators and visionaries. It is an interesting place for investors. One Spark connects great ideas with the resources they need to launch. This makes Berlin the perfect place for our first European event.”
With the announcement of the Berlin Prize, the deadline for registering participating projects has been extended to August 1; you can register here. The event will also feature a festival program including panel discussions.