Start Your Campaign
Login to Start Your Campaign
Don’t Have an Account?
Click here to register for an account.
UFunded University: A Guide for Entrepreneurs
The status quo for entrepreneurship is broken. Entrepreneurs carry a heavy burden and substantial risk when they pursue their dreams. Entrepreneurs need a mix of funding, market validation, early customers and luck to be successful. Finding the right mix of these factors is extremely hard and inefficient. Entrepreneurs need the help of a community to make it but are often restricted to their personal networks for support.
UFunded offers a solution to this problem. Every entrepreneur faces challenges and will need help along the way. UFunded is the only platform that connects entrepreneurs with the alumni from their university community who understand the emotional bond that is shared across generations, geography and cultures. UFunded allows an entrepreneur to reach an untapped network of university-affiliated Funders who share the same traditions, values, pride and passion that you have. Your university community can accelerate your entrepreneurial vision.
Entrepreneurs can be off and running with built-in community support. Entrepreneurs can now get funding, validate their concept, acquire customers and rely on a supportive network of Funders through an easy and efficient process. Setting up a campaign allows entrepreneurs to dive into the market without relying on blind faith. Innovative concepts are championed by Funders who desire your rewards and want access to your products, services or creative vision. Funders also want to help in other ways by introducing entrepreneurs to relevant contacts and potential customers.
UFunded is about more than simply raising money for entrepreneurs and their supporters. We connect entrepreneurs with people who have a pre-existing passion to advise, mentor and otherwise help entrepreneurs from their schools. Mentors and advisors can search for the people and companies they want to help. Entrepreneurs can post company “needs” for any part of their business that needs expert help-such as legal guidance, public relations, sales, marketing, etc.
What does UFunded provide Entrepreneurs?
UFunded provides a customizable template that allows entrepreneurs to promote their product, service or creative vision. Campaigners create videos, post photos and give detailed information to explain their product or service. Entrepreneurs share their ideas with family and friends using built-in social media tools that link to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube. Funders and supporters evaluate entrepreneurs and support the people they care about.
UFunded provides marketing services, such as newsletters and other promotions that assist in generating buzz. UFunded also crafts custom marketing messages and email templates to help individual entrepreneurs share their story with family, friends and associates. All the support you need is provided, including tips, to set up and deliver the best possible campaign.
What types of Content will UFunded host?
Entrepreneurs can create a Company Profile, a Crowdfunding Campaign, or both on UFunded. In the section below is a description of the important distinctions between these services to help you, the entrepreneur, select the model that best fits your needs. In the meantime, a couple of general ground rules:
UFunded only hosts content that has commercial appeal. This includes content for startups, social entrepreneurship, existing companies and artistic causes (music, movies, books, art, etc). Campaigns need to show a tangible product, service or creative vision that will result from reaching a fundraising goal. Funders will see a transparent vision of what is being created. The best entrepreneurs do an effective job of showcasing their vision and explaining it to the world.
UFunded will not host personal cause or illicit content. UFunded loves charity and people but will not host content that aims to fund a vacation, wedding or non-commercial cause. Content focused on drug use, violence or illicit causes will not be accepted. UFunded is dedicated to maintaining supportive university communities that focus on connecting entrepreneurs with funders and supporters for content with commercial appeal.
Should I post a Company Profile or a Rewards-Based Crowdfunding Campaign?
Whether you decide to craft a Company Profile or a Crowdfunding Campaign, showcasing your idea on UFunded will help you connect with students, alumni and faculty supporters from your university community. Entrepreneurs who elect to raise money through rewards-based crowdfunding typically can produce a tangible good or service with the potential to resonate with a broad consumer segment of the population. Rewards-based crowdfunding allows the entrepreneur to test consumer demand, prove the value of a good or service and solicit feedback from a broad audience on their initial ideas. In addition, rewards-based crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to raise capital without giving up any ownership interest in their company.
Rewards-based crowdfunding does have limitations. Not every company or business idea is well-suited to raise money by offering rewards for donations. For example, businesses that sell products or services to other businesses are limited in their ability to mobilize rewards-based donations. The products they offer simply are not branded to resonate with a broad consumer audience. This makes it inherently difficult for those companies to build support from a very broad consumer product oriented audience (i.e., “the crowd).
Business-to-business companies need capital to grow just as much as consumer facing companies. Unfortunately, all entrepreneurs seeking equity capital are often limited to venture capital funds, angel investors or friends and family. In addition, entrepreneurs in the United States have to traverse many legal roadblocks in order to raise equity capital through crowdfunding sites. However in April of 2012, the JOBS Act was signed into law and when the SEC finalizes the regulations in 2013, entrepreneurs will have a much easier time raising equity capital via SEC registered crowdfunding portals.
The JOBS Act is very exciting for entrepreneurs and for the funders who wish to buy equity in companies. The law will not be implemented until 2013 after the SEC refines the legislation. At UFunded, we believe that the existing laws, in place before the JOBS Act was passed, should be used to benefit entrepreneurs and the university communities that support them. In the meantime, UFunded is offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their idea using a Company Profile page.
Things to Know about creating a Company Profile
When creating a Company Profile entrepreneurs can describe its equity or convertible debt issuance to accredited investors. The terms of these investment opportunities are only available to accredited investors. SEC regulations limit access to convertible debt and equity financing terms to sophisticated investors who understand the inherent risks of investment in companies.
Until the SEC finalizes the rules around crowdfunding and crowdfunding portals, the entrepreneur cannot currently raise any equity capital through the UFunded site. All equity transactions must take place directly between the entrepreneur (issuer) and the accredited investor. No transactions are available using the UFunded site.
Things to Know about creating a Rewards-based Crowdfunding Campaign
Every crowdfunding campaign on UFunded must reach its fundraising goal to receive money. UFunded uses an all-or-nothing format. Any Funder that contributes to a campaign that does not reach its goal will have their money refunded. Entrepreneurs must explain what the funds will be used for and need to reach that goal to execute their plan. Of course, every campaign is allowed to exceed their fundraising goal!
We turn crowdfunding into a fun, engaging and competitive event. Something magical happens when passionate university communities are in a competitive environment. Regardless of who you root for, there are multiple intense natural rivalries that exist. We leverage the intensity of these rivalries by tracking engagement and funding results between colleges with real-time leader boards, head-to-head matchups and fun creative promotions.
How do I create a Company Profile or Crowdfunding Campaign
- “Sign up” for a new account or Login at the “Start Your Campaign” page
- Fill out the simple required categories
- Create a video
- Give a detailed explanation of your campaign
- Spread the word and get yourself funded!
- There is no fee to join and setting up a company profile or crowdfunding campaign is free!
- UFunded collects 5% of all funds raised through a crowdfunding campaign reach the stated target. There is no fee for creating or maintaining a Company Profile.
- Each transaction is handled by a payment processor who charges a fee based on the dollar amount of the funding received. Typically this ranges from 3% to 5% of your funding. Current rates are $0.30 per transaction plus 2.9% per transaction.